Blue Plaques are managed by English Heritage but were established more than 140 years ago.
They are a common feature in our towns and villages and have at a number of locations increased the property value.
Blue plaques in the Valleys include the Toll House, T’owd Towser (a one-time prison) and the site of the former beast market, Druid’s Hall, Holmfirth Technical College, and a tribute to rugby league legend Harold Wagstaff at the Holmfirth Pump.
Plaques are being considered for the Almshouses and the Picturedrome, Roy Castle’s house in Scholes, and the station master’s house and Lower Mill in Holmfirth.
The idea of erecting ‘memorial tablets’ in London was first proposed by William Ewart MP in the House of Commons in 1863.
In 1866 the Society of Arts (later Royal Society of Arts) founded an official plaques scheme for the capital erecting its first plaque – to the poet Lord Byron – in 1867.
In all, the Society of Arts erected 35 plaques but less than half of them survived, the earliest of which commemorates Napoleon III (1867).
In 1901, the plaques scheme was taken over by London County Council (LCC), which erected nearly 250 plaques over the next 64 years and gave the scheme its popular appeal. It was under the LCC that the blue plaque design as we know it today was adopted, and the selection criteria were formalised.
On the abolition of the LCC in 1965, the plaques scheme passed to the Greater London Council (GLC). The scheme changed little, but the GLC was keen to broaden the range of people commemorated. The 262 plaques erected by the GLC include those to figures such as Sylvia Pankhurst, campaigner for women’s rights; Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, composer of the Song of Hiawatha; and Mary Seacole, the Jamaican nurse and heroine of the Crimean War.
English Heritage has managed the blue plaques scheme in London since 1986, but ones outside of the capital are designed and paid for independently by local authorities and history societies.
So far, English Heritage has erected nearly 300 plaques in London, bringing the total number to over 800, but there are no records of what has been done outside of the capital.