English Heritage
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English Heritage to host national conference on commemorative plaques, February 2010

English Heritage hosts national conference on commemorative plaques 18-19 February 2010, at the Royal Institute of British Architects, London

 This two-day conference will be hosted by English Heritage, which is responsible for running London’s blue plaques scheme, founded in 1866. It aims to consider and celebrate the large number of plaques across the country, to share experiences, and to consider future developments. The event, the first of its kind, will be held in London over two days, and will include discussion of key areas such as selection criteria, plaque design and inscription, historical research, the gaining of consents, and the promotion of plaques and plaque schemes. There will be talks from people involved in running schemes – some well-established, others more recent initiatives – and a series of walks exploring some of the plaques of central London.

Commemorative plaques, which can be found on buildings throughout the United Kingdom, are one of the most effective – and visible – means of celebrating our history and the historic environment. Plaques connect past and present in an immediate, tangible way, and have numerous benefits; for instance, they can increase a sense of local pride and can educate about history and architecture, making both more accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. They can also play an important conservation role, helping to highlight buildings with historic associations and to preserve them for the future. As Stephen Fry has noted, plaques are ‘a game, a sport, and something more important’.

The outcomes of the conference – and the suggestions of conference attendees – will feed directly into a series of guidance documents to be produced by English Heritage in Spring 2010, covering all aspects of plaques work, from the consideration of suggestions to the organisation of unveiling ceremonies.

This is an essential conference for anyone involved in putting up commemorative plaques, and is a unique opportunity to have your say on a national level – to inform guidance and policy, and to share experiences.

Download your copy of the conference brochure and booking form (PDF | 0.5 MB)

For further information on the conference programme contact the conference organiser, SAM Culture: conference@sam-culture.com


Confirmed speakers and panellists include:

  • Emily Cole, Head of Blue Plaques Team at English Heritage, and other members of blue plaques scheme staff
  • Maria Adebowale, director of Capacity Global, English Heritage Commissioner, and member of its Blue Plaques Panel
  • Ian Ayris, Newcastle City Council
  • Marion Barter, The Architectural History Practice
  • Liz Brand, Visit Brighton
  • Professor Sir David Cannadine, historian and Chairman of English Heritage’s Blue Plaques Panel
  • George Demidowicz, Coventry City Council
  • Reuben Kench, Stockton on Tees Borough Council
  • Michael Loveday, Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust
  • S. I. Martin, writer and historian
  • David McLaughlin, conservation architect
  • Wendy Morgan, Liverpool City Council
  • Geoff Noble, Urban Practitioners and Kent Architecture Centre
  • Harbinder Singh, Anglo-Sikh Heritage Trail
  • Professor Gavin Stamp, architectural historian and member of English Heritage’s Blue Plaques Panel
  • Amanda Wallace, Manchester City Galleries
  • Anya Whitehead, Southwark Council
  • Mark Young, Chipping Sodbury Rotary Club

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