Exterior view of looking up at red brick industrial building with a wooden turret on top.
Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings, Shropshire. View of the main mill which is the first iron framed building in the world and dubbed the 'father of all skyscrapers' © Historic England DP026477 cropped Explore our images
Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings, Shropshire. View of the main mill which is the first iron framed building in the world and dubbed the 'father of all skyscrapers' © Historic England DP026477 cropped Explore our images

Heritage Minister to Unveil Plans to Mark and Celebrate Places Where History Has Been Made Across England

In his Heritage Day speech on Tuesday 5 December 2017, Heritage Minister John Glen will announce plans for Historic England to develop a new scheme to enable communities to identify, permanently mark, and celebrate the spots where history has been made, and the people, places and events that are important to them.

Plans and aims

Plans being developed include a competition to establish a design for the plaque or other type of marker that will be used, and collaboration with communities across the country to find the places where important history has been made, but is unmarked and uncelebrated.

The scheme will aim to help local economies through tourism and investment and improve quality of life through bringing out local pride, identity and inclusion. 


Public support and involvement

Recent years have seen campaigns across the country to bring new statues of famous individuals to public spaces, but also to mark out places where history has happened, including the long campaign for a permanent memorial to the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, that is now reaching its conclusion.

As the public body responsible for championing and protecting England's historic environment our research has found that there is enthusiasm for marking and celebrating local histories. We expect the scheme to be a positive addition to the many plaque schemes across the country that most often celebrate the lives or achievements of individual people in history. 

We'll pilot the new scheme over the next three years, with research, community collaboration and a design competition in its early stages.

Untapped potential

We believe that the history that's been made in England's places could and should play an important role in place-making, in local identity and culture. A world of discoveries, inventions and events that shaped global history and had a profound impact on human life have emerged across the nation. But too often they are unmarked or unknown. Historic England will work with local groups and societies across the country to establish the basis for a nationally-agreed scheme.

The scheme will explore and identify the untapped potential for heritage and the historic environment to contribute positively to social, cultural and economic conditions.

Heritage Minister John Glen said: "Our heritage is what makes our towns and cities unique, and what sets them apart from each other and the world. This scheme will celebrate the history of local communities, and the people, places and events that shaped them."

Celia Richardson, Director of Communications for Historic England said: "The historic environment is one of the nation's great assets and we believe a historic place-marker scheme will enable communities to better understand, enjoy and care for their heritage, as well as boost their economies and sense of place. We look forward to engaging locally with the many people we know are passionate about local history and heritage, and making sure it's known and celebrated."

Complementing existing schemes

Many cities and towns do have plaques - civic societies, local history groups, universities and architectural associations place plaques on local buildings. They provide depth, character and interest in local historic fabric.

More than 70 civic societies have worked together to standardise such plaques. Many of these schemes mark out places where a single person lived or worked. The new scheme would aim to bring out broader stories about the areas where history was made, with the potential to take in groups of people whose contributions may have been previously unknown or uncelebrated.