English Heritage Blue Plaque Scheme saved by the National Trust

Narrow escape from budget cuts

English Heritage Blue Plaque at the former Regency synagogue in Devonshire Place, Brighton (Copyright English Heritage: Photo Nigel Corrie)

English Heritage Blue Plaque at the former Regency synagogue in Devonshire Place, Brighton (Copyright English Heritage: Photo Nigel Corrie)

January 2013

The threatened demise of one of English Heritage's most successful schemes has been narrowly averted. Thanks to cuts amounting to one third of the Government-funded heritage organisation, English Heritage announced that they could no longer support the scheme. The National Trust, which is the largest and most established heritage body in the country has stepped in to pick up the tab. This means that sites will still be honoured with the distinction of a Blue Plaque in the future.

The distinctive cobalt blue coloured ceramic plaques adorn all kinds of buildings, from grand historic houses to modest council flats, commemorating the famous and not so famous people who lived in them.  Quite a number of Jews who did significant things are amongst them.  Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once lived in a house in London's Bloomsbury Square which now, appropriately, is occupied by the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Pioneer politician of a later era, Miriam Moses, has a plaque, affixed to her home next door to the former Princelet Street Synagogue in Spitalfields in the East End of London. She was the first Jewish woman mayor in Britain, representing the Borough of Stepney in 1931.

Originally, in the days before English Heritage (pre-1984) the Blue Plaque Scheme was confined to London but has been extended to include properties all over the country.