First out-of-town blue plaques go to Lennon, Braddock and Wilfred Owen

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The Independent Online
BLUE PLAQUES to mark the homes of famous figures from the past are to appear outside London for the first time, to commemorate celebrated Scousers.

The English Heritage plaques will be erected in Liverpool to honour 15 people, including John Lennon, the musician, Wilfred Owen, the war poet, and Bessie Braddock, the trade union activist, as well as Frank Hornby, the creator of Meccano and Dinky Toys, and Thomas Henry Ismay, a shipowner and founder of the White Star Line.

English Heritage has yet to decide on the right house for Mr Lennon's plaque and Tommy Handley, the radio comedian, will only receive one if a suitable building can be found, because the street where he was born no longer exists.

Lloyd Grossman, a commissioner for English Heritage, said the plaques gave a sense of civic pride to local communities as well as providing an insight into the history of a city.

Speaking at the Liverpool Tate Gallery, whose founder Sir Henry Tate, the sugar magnate and philanthropist, will also be honoured, Mr Grossman said: "Liverpool was chosen in recognition of the achievements of its people who have made significant contributions in all walks of life."

The first plaque will be unveiled later this year and the final ceremony will take place in December 2000 on the 20th anniversary of Mr Lennon's death.

A spokeswoman for English Heritage said the plaques were only awarded to people who had been dead for 20 years or were aged 100. "We need to make sure their fame is not fleeting and will stand the test of time."