Blue Plaque Stories
Black and white photograph of woman being restrained in London street

Discover the stories behind the plaques

On this page you will discover the extraordinary stories behind London’s blue plaques. From the collective struggle of those who fought for the civil rights of British women to the personal experiences of London’s LGBTQ+ individuals, every plaque represents an important and fascinating slice of history. Scroll down to read more about the individual lives and groundbreaking achievements of London’s former residents. 

Aneurin ‘Nye’ Bevan in his office studying public information posters prior to the launch of the NHS in 1948

History’s Heroes of Health

Advances in the control, treatment and cure of illness and disease have depended on the work of many talented individuals, working in a variety of different fields.

The London blue plaques scheme celebrates many figures of outstanding achievement in this crucially important area. We explore some of their most significant medical breakthroughs and public health reforms.

Read the article
Still from the film Oliver Twist, of Oliver walking through hall to ask for some more

London Poverty

Charles Dickens and Charlie Chaplin both experienced poverty as children, and both created characters in their work who fall on hard times. Discover how Chaplin’s Tramp and Dickens’s Oliver Twist were inspired by real life events on the streets of London and learn about the sights and sounds which may have influenced them.

Read about Dickens, Chaplin and London poverty
Black and white photograph of football match with goalkeeper in mid air as ball flies past him into net

Celebrating London’s Black History

From musicians to politicians, discover some of the pioneering black figures whose achievements are celebrated with London’s blue plaques.           

Explore the histories behind the plaques with the English Heritage podcast. Listen to Curatorial Director Anna Eavis and historian Steve Martin discuss a president, a doctor, a nurse, two stars of stage and screen, and a footballer, who are all commemorated with English Heritage blue plaques.


Find out more about London’s Black History
Black and white photograph of Oscar Wilde and ‘Bosie’ Douglas
Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas at Oxford in 1893
© Hulton Archive/Stringer/Getty Images

London Pride: LGBTQ+ stories

From Oscar Wilde to Virginia Woolf, explore London’s LGBTQ+ history through the stories associated with the city’s blue plaques.                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Explore London’s LGBTQ+ history
Black and white photograph of crowd of women holding banners and flags, with two women in centre smiling at camera

Pioneering Women

We take a look at some of the figures in London’s history who took the historic first steps to open up new opportunities for women, and are commemorated by blue plaques.                                                                                                                                                         

Discover London’s pioneering women

More blue plaques stories

London’s Comedians

'step into englands story