Commemorating Chiswick's Cultural Heritage
Could your home's previous inhabitant make it eligible for a blue plaque?
With Chiswick's rich cultural history, W4 has its fair share of blue plaques. E M Forster at Arlington Park Mansions, Frederick Hitch at 62 Cranbrook Road, Alexander Pope at Mawson Row, Jack Beresford at 19 Grove Park Gardens the list is long and varied.
Whilst there is no evidence that a blue plaque adds monetary value to a property, it certainly makes it stand out in a crowded marketplace. So how does one go about commemorating a property's former famous resident?
The London blue plaques scheme – administered by English Heritage since 1986 – has been running for over 140 years and is thought to be the oldest of its kind in the world. The idea of erecting ‘memorial tablets’ – as they were then known – was first proposed in 1863 by William Ewart MP, in the House of Commons. Only a week later, Henry Cole expressed his support for the initiative, and recommended that a scheme be set up by the Society of Arts (awarded royal patronage in 1908).
In all, it usually takes between four and six years from the initial proposal of a blue plaque – if successful – to its installation. English Heritage receives about 100 suggestions each year for blue plaques in London, almost all of which come from members of the public.
Every nomination has to meet basic selection criteria before it can be considered. Most importantly, a London building associated with the subject must survive, and they must have been dead for 20 years or have passed the centenary of their birth.
These rules exist to allow a person’s reputation to mature and to help ensure that their achievements can be assessed dispassionately, with a proper historical perspective. Once a plaque is erected, it may last for hundreds of years, so consideration of such issues is important.
• a figure must have been dead for 20 years, or have passed the centenary of their birth, whichever is the earlier
Nominated figures must also:
• be considered eminent by a majority of members of their own profession or calling
Additionally, it should be noted that:
• plaques can only be erected on the actual building inhabited by the nominated figure, not the site where the building once stood. However, consideration may be given in cases where reconstructed buildings present an exact facsimile frontage on the identical site.
Further information can be found here.
September 15, 2010