If you’re a Londoner, chances are you’ve have stumbled across at least a few of the city’s famous blue plaques. The scheme, which began way back in 1866, commemorates historical figures who lived and spent time in certain parts of the city. There are currently more than 1,000 of those plaques littered around the capital.
As it stands, however, only 15 percent of London’s plaques are dedicated to women. Yep, 15 percent. That’s why it’s nice to hear that for 2024, English Heritage (which runs the plaque campaign) is unveiling more plaques dedicated to women than ever before.
The ‘plaques for women’ campaign was launched back in 2016, and the public have since been encouraged to nominate who they consider to be pioneering women. And there are a fair few conditions to be met.
To successfully receive a plaque, the nominee must be famous in a London-wide, national or international context, have made a ‘positive contribution’ to human welfare or happiness, achieved something exceptional, and, of course, have resided in the city for a ‘significant period’. Oh, and they need to have died at least 20 years ago.
Dr Susan Skedd, a blue plaque historian, said all the women who will be commemorated this year had ‘successes and the example they set helped to open doors for women of the future.’
So, who are these impressive figures? Well, on the roster for blue plaque recognition for 2024 are:
- Irene Barclay, the first woman to qualify as a chartered surveyor in Britain.
- Christina Broom, widely considered to be Britain’s first female press photographer.
- Diana Beck, the UK’s first female neurosurgeon.
- Adelaide Hall, a jazz singer and one of the first Black women to secure a long-term BBC contract.
- Joan Robinson, one of the first women to achieve academic prominence in economics.
But that’s just the beginning. Plenty more women who have achieved great things will be unveiled throughout the year – so there’s a lot of long-overdue recognition to look forward to.
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