As a veteran of putting two blue plaques up in my neighbourhood – one for the second home of Lords and the other for Joe Strummer – it took a lot more time and energy than l anticipated. In both instances they were sponsored by local entities interested in retaining the local history of Marylebone particularly in the less wealth off parts of the old borough.
So it is this experience this informs my contribution to the recent debate on getting more blue plaques put up for women. I am not sure that English Heritage is best placed to respond to putting up many more blue plaques for women given its neglect in the first place for not putting them up and l am not sure it has the resources to respond as well.
Now we do have another alternative for making up for this huge gap in the contribution of women in the social history of London being identified on the streets of London. What is apparent certainly in Central London neighbourhoods like Marylebone and Paddington is that it is was not only English Heritage that put these unique blue plaques up. Indeed many where put up by the old Greater London Council (GLC) and London County Council (LCC) as well. In that light l can not see why the GLA through its own cultural programmes could not do the same, as the previous Greater London bodies had done. Indeed l suspect this could be very popular and the GLA more likely to be responsive to the demands of Londoners to have more blue plaques put up for women than others in the field.
So in short, is it not time for a GLA blue plaque? After all the GLC and LCC had they own blue plaques. With only 132 for women of 944 English Heritage blue plaques in London according to London Assembly figures, this may well be the only way to catch up.