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Readers hit back at blue plaque chief who claims there are ‘too many’

PUBLISHED: 11:53 04 October 2018

Hugh Wiltshire, whose grandfather, Major Percy Wiltshire, trained at the building which was honoured with a blue plaque to commemorate the 1st Norfolk Artillery Volunteers who first used Yarmouth's Drill Hall in 1880. Picture: Nick Butcher

Hugh Wiltshire, whose grandfather, Major Percy Wiltshire, trained at the building which was honoured with a blue plaque to commemorate the 1st Norfolk Artillery Volunteers who first used Yarmouth's Drill Hall in 1880. Picture: Nick Butcher

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A blue plaque honouring a former Lions club holiday home for blind people in Gorleston which was the first of its kind in the country.A blue plaque honouring a former Lions club holiday home for blind people in Gorleston which was the first of its kind in the country.

That was the clear message from Eastern Daily Press readers who have hit back at the head of the British Plaque Trust who has claimed there are “too many” commemorative plaques across the country.

There are hundreds of blue plaques honouring some of the region’s most iconic figures including famous military leader Horatio Nelson as well as some rather more obscure ones which includes a plaque marking the site at which The Beatles queued with fans to buy fish and chips.

Former radio one DJ and head of the British Plaque Trust, Mike Read who was speaking to the Telegraph, said: “There are too many. There are about 50 for Dickens. You can’t put one up saying, ‘This is a very old building.’ We have lots of very old buildings. That’s not terribly good.”

Some people have argued that blue plaques play a vital role in honouring the heritage of the region while others believe the number of commemorative plaques is undermining the prestige of certain landmarks.

Reader, Leigh-Anne Syn Phelps, said: “It’s simple, we have lots of historical blue plaques because lots of events of historical significance happened here.”

Steve Box, 64, from Great Yarmouth, said: “I think they’re great, especially for tourists who aren’t familiar with the town’s history. It’s not as though they’re on every other building so I wouldn’t say there’s too many of them.”

The administration of the commemorative plaques can either be controlled by local councils or other organisations such as history groups.

The Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society Committee are responsible for deciding whether requests for blue plaques are accepted in the Great Yarmouth Borough.

Chairman of the committee, Paul Davies believes the plaques have maintained their prestige over the years despite there now being over 90 in Great Yarmouth.

He said: “As part of the committee we discuss the merits of all applications and decide which ones are worthy. People are very honoured when they receive a blue plaque and the feedback from the public about this has been very positive.

“We’ve handed them out at a steady rate for the past ten years since we presented our first one almost 40 years ago.”

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