English Heritage announces New Blue Plaques Panel Members

English Heritage has announced four new members of its London Blue Plaques Panel, the assembly of experts who consider the public’s suggestions for plaques. Head of School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester and history of science specialist, Professor Tilly Blyth; British saxophonist and composer, YolanDa Brown; mechanical engineer, broadcaster, and author, Dr Shini Somara; and BBC Radio 3 presenter Petroc Trelawny will bring their unique expertise to the panel from January 2024.

Professor William Whyte, Architectural historian and Chair of the Blue Plaques Panel, said: 

“The extraordinary and wide-ranging expertise of our Panel is a key part of what makes the English Heritage Blue Plaques so admired and so trusted as memorials. The fascinating, lively and always high-quality discussions with the existing panel have ignited what I imagine will be a lifelong love of the Blue Plaques Scheme. I look forward to welcoming Tilly, YolanDa, Shini and Petroc to deliberate with us soon.

Head of School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester and history of science specialist, Professor Tilly Blyth, said:

“When I was invited to join the Blue Plaques Panel, I started thinking about who might be nominated next and who we might have the opportunity to discuss in our panel meetings. There are certainly some tough acts to follow – pioneer of computing Ada Lovelace springs to mind – and I am excited to help find worthy additions to the scheme and to support English Heritage in ensuring the scheme reflects the diversity of the capital.”

Musician and Broadcaster YolanDa Brown, said: 

“I have always loved blue plaques and now my 9-year-old daughter loves them too, having spotted one on the street and wanting to know more. I think that is part of the beauty of the scheme. It’s a privilege to inspire similar curiosity in others, to delve into the rich stories behind each commemoration. Let’s get some plaques up!”

Mechanical engineer, broadcaster, and author, Dr Shini Somara, said: 

“I am looking forward to many stimulating discussions as a member of the blue plaque panel and I’m thrilled to be serving alongside such an impressive line-up of fellow panellists. I love the idea of meeting people who have dedicated their lives to their own unique subjects. This cross-pollination of disciplines is so essential because human intelligence, when put to good use, is incredibly inspiring. I hope that the stories of the people we choose to commemorate with a blue plaque might incentivise us all to fulfil our greatest potentials!”

BBC Radio 3 presenter, Petroc Trelawny, said:

“I am delighted and honoured to join the blue plaques panel. So many of my favourite musicians and composers are commemorated with a plaque – from Britten and Mozart to Yehudi Menuhin, who received the honour earlier this year – and I am excited to play a part in making sure that legacies like theirs continue to be remembered and celebrated.”