London's blue plaque scheme goes to the wall


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The Independent Online

English Heritage plans to stop erecting the blue plaques that commemorate the lives of the great and the good in London because it can no longer afford to pay for them.

The taxpayer-funded quango says its scheme, founded in the capital in 1866, has "an uncertain future" because of government cuts. It will honour existing commitments but will not accept new nominations.

The decision is outlined in a letter to a blue plaque campaigner from Dr Emily Cole, the head of English Heritage's blue plaques team. She said the advisory panel of experts – including Stephen Fry, the former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion and broadcaster Bonnie Greer – "will be stood down".

English Heritage, whose budget has been cut from £130m to £92m, may also seek private sponsorship to try to maintain the project.

The erection of plaques has spread across the world, and local authorities fund similar schemes in many British towns and cities.

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