Several countries around the globe have joined in on the blue plaque scheme, marking the historic link between a specific location and a particular famous person or event. However, it was indeed the city of London that was the first to introduce the phenomenon back in the 19th Century, some of which are very close to the Georgian House! There are over 880 blue plaques scattered around London and for any possible celebrity readers out there, don’t get your hopes up, you have to be dead for 20 years to earn your plaque!
To begin, we must start with one of the most widely recognised scientists of all time who is still to this day famous for his discoveries on light, motion and gravity. It has even been said that when he sat under a tree reading a book, an apple fell onto his head, leading to his notorious theory on gravity. Sir Isaac Newton changed the way people perceived the universe and our planet, impacting our lives today significantly. 87 Jermyn Street, Westminster, SW1 (we have a postcode in common!) is an address that Newton lived at after his studying years at Trinity College and he has his very own blue plaque standing proudly at this house. He was buried at Westminster Abbey with a remarkable monument built out of marble and relating to Newton’s evolutionary work.
Not minutes away from our doorway, another famous figure lived at the address 28 Hyde Park Gate, Kensington Gore, Kensington and Chelsea, SW7. Best known as Prime Minister for the UK in the 1940s to 50s and recognised as one of the greatest war time leaders of the Century, Winston Churchill. Churchill lived and died in this Kensington home, again very close to our hotel. If you have an interest of the 20th Century history, this blue plaque would be a great sight to see! And you could also finally say “I have been to Winston Churchill’s house” and believe me, it is such a cool feeling.
Many well-known writers/authors have spent some time in their lives living in London, such as Oscar Wilde, H.G Wells and Charles Dickins. Even the funny film-maker Charlie Chaplin lived in 287 Kennington Road and of course has his beaming blue plaque outside the property. Chaplin was born in London in 1889 and inherited the extraordinary talent of performing from his parents which very quickly led to a breakthrough in the UK and America. He is an icon to the film industry and it’s exciting to think that he once lived here too!
Last, but certainly not least, we have probably one of the most colourful and fascinatingly unique artists of the 19th Century. He might be most famously known for his ‘Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers’ painting or the beautiful ‘The Starry Night’ piece… or perhaps for slicing off his own ear. Vincent van Gogh was born in the Netherlands, however, at 20 years old he moved to work in London, earning a great living and enjoying his life. In 2012, the blue plaque house in which van Gogh lived in 1873 went up for sale for the first time in 65 years with an asking price of, wait for it… £450,000!
Pimlico in particular is full of blue plaque properties with famous names such as the creator of ‘Mamma Mia!’, Catherine Johnson and fashion designer Laura Ashley. If you have an interest in history or even if you are just going for a walk, keep an eye out, you’ll never know whose house you’ll come across!