If you have ever traipsed around London you may well have spotted the odd blue disc or two adorning the facade of certain buildings. These are part of English Heritage's blue plaque scheme, which commemorates "the link between notable figures of the past and the buildings in which they lived and worked".
Many of these plaques celebrate writers — the one pictured right, for instance, marks the building where Lytton Strachey, critic, biographer and founding member of the Bloomsbury Group lived between 1880-1932.
The scheme, believed to be the oldest of its kind in the world, has been running for 146 years. But today English Heritage announced it is suspending the scheme because of Government funding cuts.
This isn't the first time the scheme has been suspended — it was put on hold from 1915 to 1919 and 1940 to 1947 because of war-time cutbacks — so let's hope it is reinstated very soon. But I wouldn't hold my breath: the present Coalition Government is ruthless when it concerns anything to do with culture and the arts — dare I mention the closure of Britain's public libraries?
Over the years I have much enjoyed spotting these literary landmarks — here's a few I've sourced from my photographic archive.
Patrick Hamilton: 2 Burlington Gardens, Chiswick
I wrote about this plaque when it was installed in February 2011.
Sir Henry Rider Haggard: 69 Gunterstone Road, West Kensington
I have walked past this building thousands of times over the past 12 years and never noticed it until very recently — he is most famous for penning King Solomon's Mines.
George Eliot: 4 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea
It's not entirely clear whether this is an "official" plaque — it doesn't seemed to be referenced on the English Heritage site. I wrote about this residence when I happened to walk past it last year.
Oscar Wilde: 34 Tite Street, Chelsea
Charles Dickens: BMA House, Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury
Again, not sure this is an "official" blue plaque.
Ian Fleming: 22 Ebury Street, Belgravia
I wrote about this plaque last April.
Thanks to @MarDixon for alerting me to this story.