The History of the Blue Heritage Plaque

blue heritage plaque

The first commemorative plaque in the UK was erected way back in 1867 to mark the birthplace of Lord Byron. That property was demolished shortly after, so the oldest surviving plaque is the one mounted later that year to Napoleon III. Both of these plaques were in London, where the commemorative plaque scheme began. They didn’t use the blue heritage plaque design back then, but the idea of marking the link between a location and a person of interest has continued ever since. Photocast is proud to play an important part in that tradition.

Blue Heritage Plaques Today

These days blue heritage plaques can be seen all across Britain. Simple and sophisticated in design, they mark the link between specific locations and a famous person or event. For a long time these plaques were a specifically London-based feature but that is not so any more. Local authorities, trade bodies and a host of other organisations now commission blue heritage plaques. Similar schemes are in place all over the world.

The Birth of the Blue Heritage Plaque

Those very first commemorative plaques we mentioned earlier were put in place by the Society of Arts. London County Council and then Greater London Council were the next bodies to take up the mantle and today the original London scheme is managed by English Heritage. Though commemorative plaques have been around for 150 years, blue heritage plaques didn’t become the standard until 1921. The simple, modern design was first seen in 1938.

This charts the history of London blue plaques, the longest running and most well known blue heritage plaque scheme in the world. In recent decades many other organisations have commissioned blue heritage plaques to commemorate all kinds of people and events.

At Photocast we are pleased to be producers of high quality blue heritage plaques and to have worked with lots of different organisations to mark and celebrate some remarkable people.

Interesting Blue Heritage Plaques Facts

In order to have a blue heritage plaque erected in their honour in London a person must:

  • Have been dead for 20 or more years
  • Not already be mentioned on another blue plaque
  • Have made an outstanding contribution to human welfare or happiness, or be considered eminent by the majority of their profession

Did you know:

  • Fictional characters are not eligible for a London blue plaque?
  • London blue plaques can only be erected on the actual building of relevance, not on the site where the building once stood?
  • These same guidelines don’t apply to blue heritage plaques commissioned by other bodies who, quite naturally, often decide on their own criteria.

Blue Heritage Plaques and Photocast

We have produced plaques in the traditional blue, as well as in a range of other colours, commemorating everyone from sports stars and movie stars to zoo animals! Whatever your project, we can produce a high quality all-weather plaque that meets your needs.

Take a look at the examples on our blue plaques and dedications page or get in touch.

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