A Blue Plaque is a permanent sign installed in a public place in the United Kingdom and elsewhere to commemorate a link between that location and a significant person, event or site, serving as a historical marker. It is the oldest such scheme in the world.
After being conceived by politician William Ewart in 1863, the scheme was initiated in 1866 by Ewart, Henry Cole and the Society of Arts (now the Royal Society of Arts), which erected plaques in a variety of shapes and colours.
The first plaque was unveiled in 1867 to commemorate Lord Byron at his birthplace, 24 Holles Street, Cavendish Square. This house was demolished in 1889. The earliest blue plaque to survive, also put up in 1867, commemorates Napoleon III in King Street, St James’s. Byron’s plaque was blue, but the colour was changed by the manufacturer Minton, Hollins & Co to chocolate brown to save money.
Map showing the location of Wetherby’s Blue Plaques:
Click on any of the plaques below to see more detail.