In the last week of September Marylebone gained another blue plaque with the unveiling in Wyndham Place W1 of a plaque to Sir Fabian Ware, the founder of the Imperial War Graves Commission (now known as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission).
Using the English Heritage Blue Plaques search, I was astonished to discover that there are 282 plaques within a mile radius of Marylebone Library. This area also incorporates the eastern part of Fitzrovia and also Bloomsbury over the border in Camden. However a sizable proportion of this total falls within Westminster’s borders.
In total the City of Westminster contains 303 plaques, almost a third of London’s total of 887. Added to this Westminster total there are another 62 local Westminster Green Plaques on buildings. The majority of these celebrate former residents. The remainder were erected to record standing significant buildings such as the Savoy Theatre or to record the site of a former building such as the Queen’s Hall in Langham Place.
The English Heritage website is solely a location finder for plaques rather than a biographical tool. Clicking on an entry will display details of the plaque’s location and text together with details of the material used in the plaque’s construction. For further biographical details of an individual, consult the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (log in with your library card) and also the Library catalogue for autobiographies and biographies of individuals.
Many other towns have set up their own commemorative plaque scheme, but not all plaques are official. For several years in Reading’s Zinzan Street this unofficial example brought a smile to the face of many a passer by…