Norfolk war heroine to be honoured with English Heritage blue plaque after appeal

Contance Baker now has a plaque in her home county after previously being turned down for one. Photo

Contance Baker now has a plaque in her home county after previously being turned down for one. Photo: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Archant

A First World War heroine from Norfolk is to finally receive posthumous recognition from English Heritage after her great-grandson won an appeal.

Constance Baker, from Marham near King's Lynn, ran a home for returning troops in Fulham and also organised outdoor entertainment in Bishop's Park, earning her the nickname 'Mother of the Wounded'.

Before the war Constance was a dressmaker, who was born in Fincham in 1868 and lived in Marham during her childhood, was in high demand from theatre performers for her seamstress skills after she moved to London.

Constance's great-grandson Timothy Warner first put her forward for a blue plaque in November 2018, however she was snubbed by English Heritage who said while many nominations are worthy there was a strict criteria which bound whether or not to award a blue plaque.

At the time, English Hertiage senior historian, Howard Spencer said: "There is a set criteria that the panel uses as a yardstick to consider all nominations, and the most important aspects of that is that person has to be of significant public standing and to have made a positive contribution to human welfare or happiness.

"We are looking for fame, not infamy."

Now Mr Warner has successfully appealed for his great-grandmother to receive a plaque on the former school house in Marham, which is now the village hall, in an unveiling ceremony on September 21.

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Inga-Lucy Barrett, chair of Marham Parish Council said they commissioned the plaque after being approached by Mr Warner and learning of Constance's origins.

Research shows that Constance attended the school in 1874 when she was recorded on the register.

Ms Barrett said: "The parish council is delighted to have heard the story of her life and to be able to honour her in this way. We congratulate Mr Warner on all his hard work and persistence. We are grateful to the children at Cherry Tree Academy who have spent time researching old records and compiling their booklet about Constance and her life."

Mr Warner said: "She took in the wounded and cared for them and bought them things they needed, this makes me very proud of my great-grandmother Constance Baker, who came from poverty."