London’s blue plaque scheme has been in operation for about 150 years and there are nearly 900 plaques on buildings and houses across London. The blue plaques show where famous people lived and worked as well as commemorating historical events (eg: the founding of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) and sites. The scheme has been run by English Heritage since 1986.
You’ll find most of the plaques in and around Central London because the scheme was not extended to the outer boroughs until 1965. You’ll also find similar English Heritage plaques in some other UK cities, but the majority are in London.
The first-ever blue plaque commemorated the birthplace of Lord Byron in Holles Street near Cavendish Square and was erected in 1867, however the building (and its plaque) were demolished in 1989. Today’s oldest surviving blue plaque is also from 1867 and shows where Napoleon III lived in King Street, St James’s.
Other notable blue plaques
- Agatha Christie - detective novelist and playwright - 58 Sheffield Terrace, Holland Park, London W8 7NA, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
- John Lennon – musician and member of The Beatles – 34 Montagu Square, Marleybone W1H
- Charles Dickens – author – 48 Doughty Street, Holborn, WC1N (now the Dickens Museum)
- Jimi Hendrix – musician – 23 Brook Street, Mayfair, W1K
- Oscar Wilde – author and playwright – 34 Tite Street, Chelsea, SW3
- Karl Marx – founder of Communism – 28 Dean Street Street, Soho, W1D (you can also see Marx’s grave in Highgate Cemetery)
- Winston Churchill – British Prime Minister during WW2 – 28 Hyde Park Gate Kensington, SW7 (you can also visit the Churchill War Rooms)
- Captain James Cook – naval explorer who circumnavigated the globe – 88 Mile End Road, Tower Hamlets, E1
- Alfred Hitchcock –film director – 153 Cromwell Road, Chelsea, SW5
- Sylvia Plath - poet - 3 Chalcot Square, Primrose Hill, London NW1 8YB, London Borough of Camden
Read more about the Blue Plaques scheme
a small settlement, generally one smaller than a village, and strictly (in Britain) one without a church.
used to introduce a statement that contrasts with or seems to contradict something that has been said previously
(in Muslim countries, especially under the Ottoman Empire) a military commander or official.