Discover London’s History Through Blue Plaques: Historical Men and Women Who Called London “Home”April 30, 2018
When I visit London, I take a good pair of walking shoes because that is the way to really get to know London. WALK! I love to look for the BLUE PLAQUES that you notice on some of the houses and other buildings. If you love history and enjoy walking, read on to find a sample of some of the plaques you will see as you stay in a London Connection vacation rental.
The English Heritage Foundation has researched and documented where many influential and famous people lived. The foundation oversees the preservation of hundreds of sites in England including castles, houses, palaces, Roman forts, abbeys, industrial areas, and even medieval villages. Their website is filled with interesting photos and facts of these historic places.
Instead of just walking from your flat to the theater, you can plan ahead to visit the houses of most interest to you that you will pass along the way. There are several options to access the Blue Plaque Guide. You can purchase the book, look at the online guide, or download the app for Apple or Android. A self-guided walking tour of celebrity houses is easy. You can choose a neighborhood and a theme, such as “Literary Kensington” or “Soho Creatives and Visionaries.”
Why not begin with some of the best-known Londoners to whet your appetite? A walk from Hyde Park through the Kensington neighborhood will be filled with history and museums. Read more about Kensington.
Sir Winston Churchill: British Prime Minister from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955
28 Hyde Park Gate, Kensington, SW7 5DJ
Sir Alfred Hitchcock: Film director and producer — the master of suspense, including “Psycho”
153 Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW5 0TQ
T.S. Eliot: British essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic — one of the 20th century’s major poets
3 Kensington Court Place, Kensington, W8 5QE
Belgravia is one of the most attractive districts in London and is known for its high-end residential properties. The shopping is endless, and the flats in this neighborhood are luxurious. Learn more about the history and things to see in Belgravia.
Ian Fleming: Author and Creator of James Bond novels, also a British Naval Intelligence Officer
22 Ebury Street, Belgravia, SW1W
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Prolific and influential classical composer of “The Magic Flute,” “Requiem,” and “Don Giovanni” composed his first symphony (Symphony No. 1 in E flat major) at this location when he was only 8 years old!
180 Ebury Street, Belgravia, London SW1W 8UP
Knightsbridge is certainly one of London’s most prestigious neighborhoods. This “fashion district” with amazing luxury shopping includes several designer stores and other icons like HARRODS and HARVEY NICHOLS dominate the scene. Beautiful buildings and fine architecture attract visitors who are seeking up-market experiences. Visit the London Connection/Knightsbridge for further information about his exciting area.
Ava Gardner: American actress and singer including “Mogambo” and “Showboat”
34 Ennismore Gardens, Knightsbridge, SW7 1AE
MAYFAIR is London’s Beverly Hills. Many of the shops, galleries, restaurants, designers, antique dealers, and auction houses are found in this district of London. Just blocks from Buckingham Palace, it has been a gathering place for centuries. London Connection’s Mayfair page will tell you more detail about the area, and you can see some of the blue plaques below.
John Lennon: Beatles co-founder, singer, songwriter, activist
34 Montagu Square, Marylebone, Westminster, W1H 2LJ
George Frideric Handel: Baroque Composer of “Messiah” and many other operas, oratorios, anthems, and organ concertos
AND Jimi Hendrix: “The greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music” according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
25 Brook Street, Mayfair, W1K 4HB (next door to each other)
William Somerset Maugham: British playwright, novelist and short story writer
6 Chesterfield Street, Mayfair W1J SJQ
Harry Gordon Selfridge: American retail magnate who founded the London-based department store “Selfridges”
The Lansdowne Club, 9 Fitzmaurice Place, Mayfair, W1
Florence Nightingale: English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing
10 South Street, Mayfair, W1K 1DE
This is the district where you will find Buckingham Palace, home to the Queen of England. The area is rich in both history and fashion. A walk down the Mall with Green Park on one side and St. James’s Park on the other, passing by the memorial to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and her beloved King George VI is an evening not to be missed. London Connection/ St. James’s page will teach you more about this area.
Napoleon III: President of the French Second Republic and the Emperor of the Second French Empire, nephew and heir of Napoleon I
1 C King Street
Thomas Gainsborough: English portrait and landscape painter, draughtsman, and printmaker
82 Pall Mall, St James’s, London SW1Y 5ES
Frederic Chopin: Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era, known for his exquisite compositions for the piano
4 St. James’s Place, St. James’s SW1A 1NP
Charing Cross and Parliament Area
Charing Cross is a unique area just south of Trafalgar Square and includes one of the biggest rail terminals in all of London. From the flats in this neighborhood, you are a short walk to the National Art Gallery, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and the London Eye. Learn more by reading the London Connection/Charing Cross page.
William Bligh: British Royal Navy Officer and a colonial administrator
100 Lambeth Road, Lambeth, SE1 7PT
Herman Melville: American novelist, short story writer, and poet
25 Craven Street, Charing Cross, WC2N 5NT
A VILLAGE IN THE HEART OF LONDON best describes the perfect blend of historical and contemporary Covent Garden with its charming cobblestone streets. Located in the very center of the city, it’s no wonder this neighborhood is a very popular part of London. This exciting area is within walking distance to most of London’s historic sites: theaters, clubs, exhibitions, galleries, churches, monuments. Most West End theaters are found in this part of London. Read more at London Connection/Covent Garden.
Charles Dickens: English writer and social critic, author of “Great Expectations” and “A Christmas Carol”
48 Doughty Street, Holborn, WCIN 2LX
Richard Burton: Welsh actor in “Cleopatra” and “Hamlet”
6 Lyndhurst Road, Hampstead NW3 5PX
Sigmund Freud: Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis & Anna Freud (his daughter): The pioneer of child psychoanalysis
20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, NW3 5SX
Freddie Mercury: Lead singer in “Queen”
22 Gladstone Avenue, Feltham, TW14 9LL
Don’t you want to book a flight and reserve your flat right now? I sure do! Even if you have visited London many times, you will enjoy seeing the museums and strolling down these streets again and again. Check out the London Connection website to discover all the vacation rental properties that are available in each of these London neighborhoods. Enjoy your visit and don’t forgot those comfortable shoes!