Monday, 3 October 2011

News - Blue plaques mark history (Sheffield)

BLUE plaques marking buildings of historic interest could crop up around Sheffield under proposals set to be approved by councillors.

There are currently just two buildings featuring plaques at present - a property on Kenwood Road, Nether Edge, which was the final home of Victorian choral master Sir Henry Coward, and a second recently installed on Fitzwalter Road, Norfolk Park, at the original Sheffield home of chocolate kings the Thornton family.

Now keen local history enthusiast Coun Janice Sidebottom, Lib Dem councillor for Fulwood and deputy chairman of one of the council’s two planning boards, has come up with the idea for a city-wide blue plaque scheme.

She is proposing the idea in a motion to be voted on at Wednesday’s full council meeting - which has the support of her group and ruling Labour members.

Coun Sidebottom said: “Historic plaques can bring buildings to life in an inexpensive and unique way for Sheffielders alike, showing us places where important people in Sheffield’s history lived and worked.

“There is no official blue plaque scheme in Sheffield, although other official schemes exist in major cities such as Leeds, Liverpool and London.

“Sheffield has a rich local heritage which deserves to be celebrated in order to boost civic pride and tourism.”

Coun Sidebottom’s motion proposes a cross-party working group should be set up, which should include members of Hallamshire Historic Buildings Society, to discuss how to make the scheme a reality and what buildings should be recognised.

Howard Greaves, of Hallamshire Historic Buildings Society, welcomed the proposal. He said: “It’s a brilliant idea - there are blue plaques in many other cities yet we only have two at present. We only installed the Thornton’s plaque recently at a cost of £250.

“We would be happy to help the council finance other blue plaques as we realise its budgets are tight at present.”

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