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English heritage blue plaques survive cash squeeze

PUBLISHED: 15:00 09 February 2013

The blue plaque in memory of Sylvia Plath in Chalcot Square, Primrose Hill, was unveiled in 2000. Picture: Nigel Sutton

The blue plaque in memory of Sylvia Plath in Chalcot Square, Primrose Hill, was unveiled in 2000. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton

English Heritage has sought to reassure the public that blue plaques will continue to be installed across the capital despite a blow to its budget.

The organisation has been forced to suspend public nominations for the heritage plaques across the capital for two years and disband a panel of experts, including Stephen Fry, after its grants were slashed.

But in a bid to quash speculation that the scheme is destined for the scrapheap, English Heritage’s chief executive Simon Thurley threw his support behind the project last week and said the plaques would continue to be installed over the next few years.

Hampstead has many blue plaques, including those commemorating poet John Keats, artist John Constable and actor Richard Burton.

A spokesman said English Heritage would work through the “backlog” of proposals until 2014 when the decision to suspend public nominations will be reviewed.

She said: “It has been agreed that the scheme, which currently costs in excess of £250,000 a year, should become more cost effective and more self-sustaining. The team will continue to erect plaques from a list already agreed.”

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