Published On: Thu, Jan 11th, 2024

Record number of women to receive honorary blue plaque this year | City & Business | Finance

Britain’s first female neurosurgeon and newspaper photographer are among a record number of women being honoured this year with a blue plaque.

The English Heritage scheme, which has been running in London for more than 150 years, recognises 1,003 inspirational people for their achievements across arts and science.

For the first hundred years of the plaque scheme’s existence, the great majority of those honoured were male.

However now just over 15% mark women’s achievements after a dramatic rise in the number of public nominations of women since English Heritage launched a ‘plaques for women’ campaign in 2016.

Recipients since then include suffragette Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, fashion designer Jean Muir and artist Dame Barbara Hepworth

Now Diana Beck, (1900–1956), who was appointed as a consultant at the Middlesex Hospital in 1947 and Christina Broom, (1862–1939), who only became a photographer when she was 40, with a borrowed box camera, are among seven women set to join 155 others whose former homes are already marked.

Dr Susan Skedd, blue plaque historian at English Heritage, said: “Every year, we celebrate the very best of human endeavour.

“This year we are particularly pleased to be able to honour so many pioneering women who not only became female ‘firsts’ but who were also at the very pinnacle of achievement in their chosen fields.

“These are people who had a positive and lasting impact on our society.

Their successes and the example they set helped to open doors for women of the future.

“We would like to thank everyone who answered our call to nominate more remarkable women and we hope that the stories behind these new plaques will inspire passers-by for generations to come.”

The jazz singer, Adelaide Hall (1901–1993), one of the first Black women to secure a long-term contract at the BBC, Irene Barclay, (1894–1989), the first woman to qualify as a chartered surveyor and Joan Robinson, (1903–1983), one of the first women to achieve academic prominence in the discipline of economics are also to be honoured in this first tranche.

At least two more women will be on the list before the end of the year.

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