Wednesday 9 January 2013
As Andrew and I walked through Marylebone to get to the Wallace Collection to meet a Dutch friend, (when did you last go, by the way?) we were struck by the number of Blue Plaques all round there. So I thought I might use this nearly-the-last non-route to comment on the decision of National Heritage to stop adding new ones.
A 34% cut in the budget is the explanation. And I agree with everyone in the country that there are other priorities for a deficit reducing government. But think how many Blue Plaques English Heritage could put up if it did not pay its Chief Executive £163,000 a year and guarantee his whopping pension. (sorry to sound like a Daily Mail Reader...)
It seems the National Trust may step in to cover the scheme, which would at least mean that the cost is coming out of the pockets of people who like this sort of thing, rather than applying to the National Lottery and using the money of people why buy lottery tickets.
I would put a link to a newspaper story entirely about this, but the ones I have found are illustrated with non-English Heritage Plaques, like The Guardian with this LCC plaque, so I won't.
Linda, Mary and I hope that the NT will (if they take over) make searching for Plaques one has glimpsed -from a bus, say - but not been able to read, easier. Actually, this is Augustus Siebe, in Denmark Street, where buses go because of the CrossRail works at Tottenham Court Road.
It will be sad if something which began in 1866 should end now.