'Infamous, not famous': School slated for plan to honour traitor
- Credit: PA
A school's bid to erect blue plaques celebrating some of its famous former pupils has come under fire for not including enough women - and for honouring a spy who betrayed Britain.
Gresham's School, in Holt, is seeking permission to put up 25 blue plaques on the Old School House in the market place.
The project aims to "commemorate prominent Old Greshamian’s by linking them to the original building of Gresham’s School".
But the scheme has been criticised for including just one woman and Donald Maclean, one of the Cambridge Five spy ring who leaked British secrets to the Soviet Union during the Second World War and Cold War.
Don Birch, a North Walsham councillor, who has written to Gresham's to ask it to reconsider honouring Maclean, said the spy's inclusion "tarnished" the accomplishments of others on the list and sent the wrong message.
He said: "I was completely incensed that they are going to honour a traitor with a blue plaque - everybody else on that list is amazing."
You may also want to watch:
Mr Birch said: "The reality is he sent scores of British agents to their deaths.
"I just don't think [Gresham's] have thought it through. I don't think they should abolish him from the school's history but I don't think he should be honoured with a blue plaque. He's infamous, not famous."
- 1 Man killed and three wounded in multiple stabbing
- 2 Woman left with 'serious back injuries' after pub fight
- 3 Police and air ambulance called to major incident near Norwich
- 4 Driver flees after crashing into level crossing
- 5 Delivery driver fined for 'flagrant' seafront stunt caught on CCTV
- 6 Norwich pub's shock after city council refuse outdoor seating bid
- 7 Man staged his own kidnap to get ransom from his family
- 8 Publican employs security after football team's bid to break rules
- 9 Hairdressers working 12-hour days to recoup Covid losses
- 10 Day of two halves - Footballer wins £80,000 and breaks leg in 24 hours
The project has also been criticised for its lack of female representation by Rosie's Plaques, a group which placed unofficial hand-made blue plaques celebrating women around Norwich in 2019.
Siobhan O'Connor, a spokesperson for the group, said: "It seems a little bit disappointing and sad that Gresham's can only come up with one woman.
"I know they have had women [at the school] for less time but it's back to the same old story of lots of white men."
Ms O'Connor said, by not including more women on the list of pupils to commemorate she felt Gresham's had missed a "golden opportunity to celebrate women".
She said: "There's a real sparsity of statues and plaques for women, not just in Norwich and Norfolk but around the country.
"This would have been a golden opportunity for them to redress the balance and be a little less backwards-looking."
Gresham's has been contacted for comment.
The school previously said the project was "the initial phase" of a project to recognise "high profile figures who were educated at Gresham’s" and "largely focused on the deceased and older Old Greshamians".
The school started accepting girls in 1971.