Why So Few Blue Plaques for Women in SW15?

Putney Society asks for suggestions to redress the balance

Millicent Bagot was a pupil at Putney High School
Millicent Bagot was a pupil at Putney High School

The Putney Society is asking its members to consider women who might be deserving of having a blue plaque installed in their honour.

The call comes following the commemoration of Millicent Bagot last October making her the first female to be honoured in this way. The previous nine recipients were all men and include Edward Gibbon, Norman Parkinson and Thomas Cromwell.

Millicent Bagot was a British intelligence officer with MI5 who became one of the security service’s principal experts on Soviet Communism.

The ratio is set to become even more distorted when the society commemorates Sir Sydney Nolan in the spring of this year.

As a consequence it is appealing to all its members to put their thinking caps on and suggest some memorable women who have lived or worked in SW15.

The policy for selecting and mounting blue plaques is:

● Buildings marked with plaques must be visible from the public highway
● Although most plaques will be erected on the former residences of famous people, the erection of plaques on subsequent buildings on the site, such as blocks of flats are not excluded
● The person must have been dead for 5 years.

Nominated figures must also meet one or more of the following criteria:

● Be considered eminent by a majority of members of their own profession or calling or the population in general
● Have made an important positive contribution to human welfare or happiness
● Have lived or worked in Putney for a significant period. Unless a case is deemed exceptional (i.e., the nominee contributed something exceptional during their stay in Putney, compared with the rest of their life) each figure may only be commemorated with one plaque in London (i.e., not duplicating names already commemorated by Wandsworth Council or English Heritage).

Any qualifying nominations that you make will be considered and selected by the Putney Society Executive. Write to or email your suggestions at 28 Howards Lane, SW15 6NQ or judith.chegwidden@gmail.com.

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January 7, 2022