London's famous blue signs

London's famous blue signs

Last updated: 01/10/2019

Ever heard of London's famous blue signs? Many of them are scattered around the city indicating that some very famous personality lived there. What a lot of people don't know is that it's possible to search for your favorite celebrity's license plate!


London's famous blue signs link the people from the past to the constructions of the present, serving as a historical marker. The original blue plate scheme was established in 1867, and since 1986 it has been the responsibility of the English Heritage organization, which places an average of 12 new blue plaques per year In London. Many other plaque schemes have already been started in the UK, some are restricted to a specific geographic area, others to a particular theme of historical commemoration. They are administered by a range of bodies, including local authorities, civic societies, residents' associations and other organizations. THE first plaque was installed in 1867 to honor Lord Byron at his birthplace, 24 Holles Street, Cavendish Square. However, this house was demolished in 1889. The first surviving blue plaque was also placed in 1867, and commemorates Napoleon III in King Street, St James.

London's famous blue signs
Blue plaque indicating where the great writer Charle Dickens lived in London

The term “blue plaque” can be used narrowly to refer to the official English Heritage scheme, but is often used informally to encompass all similar schemes. While the London blue plaques are pioneers, there are also commemorative plaque schemes around the world, such as in Paris, Rome, Oslo, Dublin, and cities in Australia, Canada, Russia and the United States. Across the English capital, there are more than 900 plaques, on every type of building, honoring notable men and women.

London's famous blue signs
Blue plaques with the names of Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, and Anna Freud, his daughter


Virtually all installed blue plaques that were suggested by the public went through an evaluation process. You must write a letter or send an email to the responsible body before submitting a formal proposal (see more information in this link). To be eligible to a blue sign in London the famous person must:

  • Have been dead for at least 20 years or 100 years have passed since birth.
  • Fictional characters are not eligible.
  • Be considered a reference by most members of your own profession.
  • To have made a remarkable contribution to human well-being.
  • Have lived or worked in the building in London for a significant period of time or importance within your life and work.
  • Deserve national recognition.
  • In cases of foreigners and foreign visitors, applicants must have an international reputation or significant position in their own country.

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  • The plates can only be installed in the royal building inhabited by the personality, not in the place where the building was located.
  • Buildings marked with signs must be visible from the street.
  • A single person cannot have more than one blue plate in London.
  • Installation in ecclesiastical and/or educational buildings is not permitted.
London's famous blue signs
Plaque indicating where the German composer Handel lived in London


For those who want to do many things and visit many paid places in London, the suggestion is to purchase one of the cards that give you direct access to attractions and ride the tourist bus, saving a lot! O THE LONDON PASS is the most famous of them. The card can be purchased in versions of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 10 days. It entitles you to admission to over 60 of London's top attractions and 1 day tour on the hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus. In addition, the card offers more than 20 exclusive special offers at some of the city's shops and restaurants. See the full list of included attractions in this link. Price: from £69.

Read more: What to do in London – Complete itinerary of 5 days or more



To see where the blue plate of a personality is, you can access the official website of English Heritage and/or download the app of the organ for mobile (iOS or Android). At the official site, you need to go to the area Find a Plate. Put the name of the personality or their profession, for example actor, author in the “Name or keyword” field. In the “Category” field, you can select a category to which this “engineering and transport” celebrity belongs; “literature” (literature). Finally, in the “London Borough” field you can select the neighborhood or borough of London. It is not mandatory to fill in all the fields, just 1 of them is enough to find what you are looking for.

London's famous blue signs
Search screen for the blue plates. Figure: reproduction official website

O “Blue Plaques” app works in the same way, with the advantage that it is possible to find the plates that are close to you, through the geolocation of the cell phone. So you can even create routes to go past all the blue signs nearby.

London's famous blue signs
Playing Blue Plaques app

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London's famous blue signs - Travelers

Check out some attractions with the blue sign in London:

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