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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Bradford welcomes extension of blue plaque scheme beyond London, awaiting recognition for local icons

News that the Blue Plaque scheme will be extended beyond London has been welcomed by a Bradford group.

The official blue plaque scheme sees the heritage discs installed on buildings linked with historically significant figures – providing brief details about their lives and achievements and acting as a tourist attraction.

However, the blue plaque scheme currently only officially operates in London.

While a version of blue plaques have recently been installed at a number of Bradford locations, these have been down to the work of Bradford Civic Society rather than through the official scheme.

The London only policy has meant that while there are blue plaques to celebrate calligraphers, wig makers and the scientist who gave different cloud types there official names in the capital, noted figures like the Bradford born Bronte sisters and David Hockney have yet to be officially recognised by the scheme because of where they were born.

On Wednesday the Government announced that it would be amending the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to allow official blue plaques to be installed in areas outside the nation’s capital.

A Government spokesman said: “The expansion is an opportunity for people to research their own local history and nominate figures from their own communities who have helped define the towns, villages and cities they live in.

“Recent evidence shows that when more people are aware of their local history it can help boost their connection and pride in their area, as well as encourage growth in local economies, a key priority for the government, through new visitors coming to explore and learn about the heritage of destinations.”

Responding to the news, a spokesperson for Bradford Civic Society, which administers blue plaques in Bradford, said: “We have long called for regional cities to get the same level of heritage recognition that London gets, so this announcement is welcome.

“As part of our pioneering work on blue plaques in Bradford, we have had some initial discussions with Historic England and other national bodies about potential future partnerships.”

If the national scheme progresses, people will be able to nominate people and places that should be celebrated with a blue plaque.

It recent years the Civic Society have created and installed a number of blue plaques around the city.

These include at the Bronte Sisters’ birthplace in Thornton and at St George’s Hall.

Plaques recognising the city’s pioneering women have been installed at various locations, and recently a plaque recognising the 150th anniversary of Bradford City Hall was unveiled.

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