London's Getting Six New Blue Plaques This Year. Here's Who They'll Commemorate

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 16 months ago

Last Updated 27 January 2023

London's Getting Six New Blue Plaques This Year. Here's Who They'll Commemorate
Princess Sophia Duleep Singh in front of a notice board publicising the Suffragette campaign
Princess Sophia Duleep Singh used her Royal status to draw attention to the Suffragette movement. Image: Public domain

Suffragettes, an anti-racism campaigner and London's first female mayor are among the figures being honoured with new Blue Plaques across London in 2023.

English Heritage has announced six people who will be added to the scheme this year. A Blue Plaque detailing their name, birth and death dates, and accomplishments will be added to the exterior of a London building associated with them.

Those due to receive new Blue Plaques are:

1. Princess Sophia Duleep Singh

Daughter of the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire (who has his own plaque in Holland Park), and goddaughter of Queen Victoria, Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was raised in the UK and used her Royal title to drum up support for the Suffragette movement. She was particularly involved with the Women's Tax Resistance League, which saw women refusing to pay tax in protest against their lack of rights. Her plaque will be at a house in Hampton Court, where Queen Victoria provided her an apartment to live in.

2. Claudia Jones

A Trinidadian and Tobagonian journalist and anti-racism activist who was involved in founding Notting Hill Carnival, and therefore bringing Caribbean carnival vibes to London for the first time, Jones also founded Britain's first major Black newspaper, the West Indian Gazette, in 1958, and will be commemorated at a house in Vauxhall where she lived for four years.

3. Yehudi Menuhin

Renowned 20th century violinist Menuhin founded both the International Menuhin Music Academy and the Yehudi Menuhin School for Music in a bid to educate young musicians. He was also one of the first prominent yoga masters teaching in the West, and will be commemorated at the Belgravia house where he lived his final 16 years.

4. Ada Salter

A close-up of the head of the Ada Salter statue in Bermondsey, with the river and City skyline in the background
Ada Salter is already commemorated with a statue - but now she's getting a plaque. Photo: Matt Brown

Already commemorated with a statue and garden in her local area of Bermondsey, Salter was first female mayor of a London borough and the first Labour woman to be elected as a mayor in Britain when she became Mayor of Bermondsey in 1922. She worked tirelessly to improve public health, introducing public baths and wash-houses to the area, and clearing slums to make way for new housing. Her plaque will be on display at a Southwark building where she lived towards the end of the 19th century.

5. Marie Spartali Stillman

One of few professional female artists in the late 19th century, and producing over 150 works in a 60-year career, Marie Spartali Stillman was also a Pre-Raphaelite model, featuring in paintings by artists including Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones. Her former home in Clapham, where she first started painting, will be the location for her plaque.

6. Emily Wilding Davison

Portrait photo of Emily Wilding Davison
Image: Public domain

Perhaps the best-known name on this list, it seems remiss that suffragette Davison doesn't already have a Blue Plaque — though there is an independent plaque to her at Epson Downs Racecourse, where she died after running in front of the King's horse in at attempt to draw attention to the suffrage movement. Throughout her life she was repeatedly arrested and imprisoned as a result of campaigning for women to get the vote. A plaque for her will be displayed at the house in Kensington where she lived while attending Kensington High School (now Kensington Prep School).

Exact dates for the plaques being unveiled haven't yet been announced, as English Heritage is still working with property owners to get their positions approved.

Find out more — and how to suggest someone else for a Blue Plaque in future — on the English Heritage website.