Almost 1,000 blue plaques located around London to mark birthplaces of famous figures are to be reviewed to see if any of them celebrate people who had links to the slave trade
- English Heritage will review blue plaques for their links to racism or slavery
- They want to provide contextualising information of many blue plaque figures
- The charity is also prioritising erecting blue plaques of important BAME figures
Blue plaques will be reviewed for their links to racism or slavery with more plaques for BAME people put up.
English Heritage will be looking at London‘s 950 plagues and provide more information on plaques that celebrate people who were racist or involved in slavery.
They also want to celebrate more BAME figures in London and put up plaques that celebrate everyone’s history.
Sir Edward Codrington’s blue plaque being temporarily removed from entrance to Codrington Mansions in Brighton
Their priority is to inform people about celebrated figures with more detail and context on their website and the Blue Plaque App, the charity told the Times.
At the moment they are not looking at providing more information at the plaques themselves and have not named which plaques they are reviewing.
‘Shortly after we became a charity in 2015, we made a commitment to improve the representation of BAME figures on London’s blue plaques,’ a spokesperson said.
As a result the charity set up a group to curate a list of BAME plaques that should be installed.
Bob Marley had a blue plaque installed last year at a house where he lived in Chelsea in 1977.
Pictured: Poet Benjamin Zephaniah unveiling an English Heritage blue plague for Bob Marley, at his home on Oakley Street
Pictured: Bob Marley’s plaque after English Heritage set up a work group to prioritise BAME historical figures
Ghanian 18th-century abolitionist Ottobah Cugoano is set to get a plaque put up for him this year.
Indian Muslim Noor Inayat Khan, a Special Operations Executive agent in the Second World War, is also on this year’s list.
The reviews come as recent Black Lives Matter protests have highlighted the ethical issues with celebrating historical figures who were involved in slavery or imperialism.
A demonstration in Bristol saw a statue of a 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston pulled down and dumped in a river.
Slave trader Edward Colston was taken down and thrown into a river in Bristol by Black Lives Matter protestors
Since then other statues, including Winston Churchill’s, have been vandalised or threatened with vandalism.
Sadiq Khan ordered a review of statues, monuments and street names in the capital and boarded up some statues including Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and the Cenotaph.
Another celebrated figure Black Lives Matter want reconsidered is Oxford University’s statue of Cecil John Rhodes.
Although the Cecil Rhodes Trust has funded hundreds of scholarships for students from Africa his statue was removed from by University of Cape Town in 2015 for his white supremacy and imperialism.