LETTER : Commemorating the millennium

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From Dr Richard D Ryder

Sir: David Lister (1 May) asks for ideas for the Millennium Commission. Mine is very simple.

There should be plaques commemorating historical events at the spot where they occurred; the place where the Romans first crossed the Thames, where King Charles I's head left his body, where King Charles II slept with Nell Gwynne, where Purcell conducted his music, where Dick Turpin held up a coach, where Queen Mary burnt a few martyrs, where Marx invented Marxism, where an apple dropped on Newton, where Darwin first explained evolution, where George III went mad, where Godiva rode, where Philby leaked his secrets, where Babbage built his computer, where Mrs Pankhurst broke a window, where Wilberforce spoke against slavery, where Oscar Wilde was arrested, where Fox gambled, where Pitt fought his duel and where Churchill bought cigars.

Blue plaques are already in use marking houses where famous people lived. But events are often more interesting. The plaques could be white lettering on a red or black or purple ground.

A committee of reputable historians would be charged with the enjoyable task of selecting events to be commemorated and locating them within the bounds of reasonable certainty. Such plaques would be of tremendous interest to tourists and to natives alike.

Yours faithfully,

RICHARD RYDER

Haytor, Devon

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