Posturing about budget cuts: Blue Plaque Scheme

I’m inclined to view English Heritage’s cutting of its Blue Plaque Scheme as posturing to make a political point about having to work with less money.

Mine is a view from the backwoods, for we in Surrey Heath have no English Heritage Blue Plaques. The reason for this says English Heritage HERE is, “the scheme has historically been focused on London only, and this continues to be the case today. However, for a number of years – between 1998 and 2005 – English Heritage trialled a national plaque scheme putting up plaques in certain cities.”

The Daily Telegraph report that it costs English Heritage around £120,000 yearly to administer the scheme. Surely there must be ways to save money, and yet retain the marvellous blue plaques, which do so much to inform, and enliven streetscapes in London.

Now that I think about it. Rather than cut the service, it should be extended nationally. Not simply for London.

The other thing that mildly irritates is that Stephen Fry is one of the panel of judges. Is it only the great and the good who can be one of the judges that meet three times a year? Lets have a bit more egalitarianism, please. I’m happy to see that the panel will be dissolved. There’ll be many capable of taking their place.

Again in the Daily Telegraph, Harry Mount, perfectly points out the value as “the world’s oldest and most imaginative heritage project” in “One of the more delightful coincidences of London history can be seen in Brook Street, Mayfair. From 1723 until his death in 1759, Handel lived at No 25. Next door, at No 23, Jimi Hendrix was in residence from 1968-9.”

If English Heritage aren’t interested in promoting the Blue Plaques, then let another national body run the scheme. Like the National Trust, whose chairman, Sir Simon Jenkins, should be applauded for wanting to save the scheme.

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