London loves history. It does not take you long to figure out that once you are here. It all began with this interesting story about the place I am living in. So you see, the baroque mask is something that the UCL New Hall could not have gotten rid of as it was ‘listed’ as a result of which the new building had to come up around the old facade. The older the building, the more likely it is to be listed.
And this way of preserving heritage in the form of listing buildings extends to commemorating places where famous people lived by erecting a blue plaque in their memory. Blue plaques seem to be everywhere in London, and with about 900 blue plaques floating around it’s no surprise. The London Blue Plaques are sort of like The Hollywood Walk of Fame-except they are a tad more prestigious.
Blue plaques are placed on buildings – occasionally grand, often ordinary – where famous people lived and worked. Sigmund Freud lived and worked in fashionable Hampstead; Charles Darwin in UCL’s campus; Isaac Newton in Soho; Charles Dickens in private street of Camden; Mozart composed his first symphony in the elegant neighbourhood of Chelsea. As with all fame, of course, many of the Blue Plaques of London commemorate people the average person don’t know.
Such memorials provide a chance to stop and think about something because we’ve stumbled across a relevant point in space, in the same way a google doodle invites us to think of someone or something just because of a particular point in time.