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Merseyside's Blue Plaques




Until 1998 Blue Plaques, designed to commemorate the home and birthplaces of famous people, were exclusively placed on properties of interest in London. The scheme was initiated in 1867 by the Royal Society of Arts when a plaque was erected at the birthplace of Byron, and by 1901, 36 plaques had been placed in the capital.

Over a hundred years later, English Heritage, which took over responsibility for Blue Plaques in the 1980s, decided that Liverpool would be the first city outside London to erect Blue Plaques. The plan was announced to acknowledge 15 local figures with the famous circular ceramic plaque, 20 inches in diameter with white lettering on a blue background.


The first 'recipients' were to be Frank Hornby, John Brodie, Bessie Braddock, Peter Ellis and John Lennon, with other names such as Wilfred Owen also on the list. Speaking about the decision to select Liverpool, Lloyd Grossman, English Heritage Commissioner and Chairman of the Blue Plaques Panel, said: "Liverpool was chosen by English Heritage in recognition of the achievements of its people who have made significant contributions in all walks of life - the arts, architecture, politics and industry.”Blue Plaques give a sense of civic pride to a local community as well as providing visitors with an insight into the culture and history of a city through the buildings which are associated with famous people.



The Hollies, Station Rd



Frank Hornby (15 May 1863 – 21 September 1936) was an English inventor, businessman and politician. He was a visionary in toy development and manufacture, and although he had no formal engineering training, he was responsible for the invention and production of three of the most popular lines of toys based on engineering principles in the twentieth century: Meccano, Hornby Model Railways and Dinky Toys. He also founded the British toy company Meccano Ltd in 1908.








40 Falkner Square

16 Cook Street

Peter Ellis (1808 – 6 June 1888) was a Liverpudlian architect. He lived for a time at 40 Falkner Square, on which an English Heritage Blue Plaque is now sited. He designed Oriel Chambers in 1864 at the corner of Water Street and Covent Garden in Liverpool, considered by many architectural historians to be one of the most influential buildings of its age, a precursor of the modernist style in architecture and one of the earliest attempts to break away from the classical tradition of commercial architecture. It was described by Charles Reilly, Professor of Architecture at Liverpool University as the "oddest building in Liverpool, at once so logical and so disagreeable...as a cellular habitation for the human insect it is a distinct asset to the town," and by Nikolaus Pevsner as "one of the most remarkable buildings of its date in Europe."


Ellis's only other known commission was 16 Cook Street, Liverpool, of 1866. This building has been noted for its "surprisingly modern" spiral staircase, cantilevered out from the main building and clad with sheets of iron and glass.




13 Beach Lawn



Beach Lawn, Waterloo, Crosby was the home of Thomas Henry Ismay, 1837-1899. He was the founder of the White Star Shipping line - owner of the ill-fated Titanic.

Thomas Henry Ismay was born on 7 January 1837 at Ropery House, Ellenborough, Maryport, Cumberland, the eldest son of shipbuilder Joseph Ismay.


At the age of 16 he took up an apprenticeship with Liverpool shipbrokers Imrie & Tomlinson. When the apprenticeship ended he travelled to South America. Returning to Liverpool he began a business trading to Australia and in 1867 acquired the defunct White Star Line which had run clippers from Australia to Great Britain. In collaboration with William Imrie he founded the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company initially trading on the Australian run but then, from 1871 to the United States.

Ismay developed a unique partnership with shipbuilders Harland and Wolff in Belfast. All White Star Line vessels would be built at Harland and Wollf. Ismay married Margaret Bruce in 1859; together they had three sons and four daughters. Ismay retired from the firm of Ismay Imrie and Co in 1892 but retained the chairmanship of the White Star Line, active control of the firm passed to his son Joseph Bruce Ismay.



Thomas Henry Ismay died at Dawpool near Birkenhead on 23 November 1899 and was buried in the Thurstanton Churchyard.



John posing outside 251 Menlove Avenue
251 Menlove Ave




John Ono Lennon MBE (born John Winston Lennon; 9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an musician, singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a founder member of the Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. With Paul McCartney, he formed one of the most celebrated song writing partnerships of the 20th century.






251 Menlove Avenue

Born and raised in Liverpool, he lived at 251 Menlove Avenue, named Mendips, this was his childhood home. The house belonged to Lennon's Aunt Mimi and her husband George Smith. The couple took John in at the age of five, after his mother, who was living with her boyfriend, was persuaded that it would be better for Mimi and George to take care of him. He remained at Mendips until mid-1963, when he was 22 years old. As a teenager Lennon became involved in the skiffle craze; his first band, the Quarrymen, evolved into the Beatles in 1960. As the group disintegrated towards the end of the decade, Lennon embarked on a solo career that produced the critically acclaimed albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, and iconic songs such as "Give Peace a Chance" and "Imagine". After his marriage to Yoko Ono in 1969, he changed his name to John Ono Lennon. Lennon disengaged himself from the music business in 1975 to devote time to raising his infant son Sean, but re-emerged with Ono in 1980 with the new album Double Fantasy. He was murdered three weeks after its release.





7 Elm Grove

War poet WILFRED OWEN (1893-1918) lived here from 1900-1903

Wilfred Owen, was honoured with a plaque placed outside his boyhood home at 7 Elm Grove in Birkenhead. "His poems came direct from his experiences in the front line. "They are as true today as when they came from Wilfred's pen over 80 years ago. "Poems by Wilfred Owen include The Sentry, Anthem for Doomed Youth, and Dulce et Decorum Est.



Greenbank House, Greenbank Lane

WILLIAM RATHBONE MP (1819-1902) William Rathbone VI (11 February 1819 – 6 March 1902) was an English merchant and businessman noted for his philanthropic and public work. He was an English Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons variously between 1868 and 1895. His daughter ELEANOR RATHBONE MP (1872-1946) also lived at this house.




171 Chatham St

Sir Charles Herbert Reilly, (4 March 1874 – 2 February 1948) was an English architect and teacher. After training in two architectural practices in London he took up a part-time lectureship at the University of London in 1900, and from 1904 to 1933 he headed the Liverpool School of Architecture, which became world-famous under his leadership. He was largely responsible for establishing university training of architects as an alternative to the old system of apprenticeship. 
Reilly was a strong and effective opponent of the Victorian Neo-Gothic style, which had dominated British architecture for decades. His dominance also ended the briefer popularity of the Arts and Crafts and Jugendstil movements in Britain, earning him the enmity of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a local exponent of the latter. For many years Reilly favoured a form of Neo-Classicism strongly influenced by developments in American architecture. Later in his career, he embraced the principles of the modernist movement, and of town planning for social and aesthetic improvement.


As a practising architect, Reilly was responsible for few well-known buildings. His influence on British architecture came through the work of his pupils, who included Herbert Rowse, Lionel Budden, William Holford and Maxwell Fry. Among his students were future professors of architecture and heads of architectural colleges in Britain, Canada and Australia; buildings were commissioned from Reilly pupils throughout the British Empire and beyond.










42 Hamilton Square


Sugar magnate and Tate Gallery founder Sir Henry Tate, 1st Baronet (11 March 1819 – 5 December 1899) was an English sugar merchant and philanthropist, noted for establishing the Tate Gallery, London. (1819-1899) traded from Hamilton Street,(pictured) and lived at 42 Hamilton Square, from 1851-1861 Tate was the son of a Unitarian clergyman. When he was 13, he became a grocer's apprentice in Liverpool. After a seven-year apprenticeship, he was able to set up his own shop. His business was successful, and grew to a chain of six stores by the time he was 35. In 1859 Tate became a partner in John Wright & Co. sugar refinery, selling his grocery business in 1861. By 1869, he had gained complete control of the company, and renamed it as Henry Tate & Sons. In 1872, he purchased the patent from German Eugen Langen for making sugar cubes, and in the same year built a new refinery in Liverpool.




28 Ullet Rd

John Alexander Brodie,  (1858–1934), civil engineer and town planner, was born on 5 June 1858 at Chyknell, near Bridgnorth, Shropshire, the fifth child of James Brodie.  In 1875 Brodie was articled as a pupil engineer to George Fosbery Lyster, engineer-in-chief to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board. The Liverpool and Birkenhead docks were then undergoing a massive programme of extension and modernization, and Brodie's four-year involvement gave him a broad grounding in engineering under the supervision of Lyster's large team, including membership of the Liverpool Engineering Students' Society, later the Liverpool Engineering Society.  He gained a temporary position in the borough engineer's department before moving into private practice with J. T. Wood in 1882. These steps must have provided both knowledge and gainful contacts, for two years later he became general assistant to Liverpool's city engineer, and in 1898 was appointed city engineer. By then Brodie had already earned lasting fame for his patent (no. 19,112) for goal nets for football and other games first submitted in November 1889 and approved on 27 November of the following year. The football goal had initially consisted only of two upright posts, and although by 1882 a crossbar was required, there remained extensive scope for disputes. These were eliminated by Brodie's delightfully simple invention of a ‘pocket in which the ball may lodge after passing through the goal’ and, soon after, nets ‘as under Mr Brodie's patent’ were approved by the Football Association. First used in an FA cup final in March 1891 at the Oval, London, nets became compulsory for all league matches from September of that year and all FA cup ties from 1894. John Alexander Brodie died in November 1934 and is buried in Anfield Cemetery in Liverpool.




2 Zig Zag Rd

Elizabeth Margaret Braddock JP (Liverpool, 24 September 1899 – 13 November 1970), better known as Bessie Braddock, was a British Labour politician. Known as an ardent socialist and fiery campaigner, nicknamed 'Battling Bessie', her special interests included maternity, child welfare and youth crime.  Braddock was a friend of Sir John Moores, the Littlewoods founder, even though Moores himself was a Conservative voter, and was a Conservative councillor for the Sefton ward between 1933 and 1940.



2 Zig Zag Road






She is often erroneously credited with a celebrated exchange of insults with Winston Churchill, also ascribed to Nancy Astor:

Braddock: "Winston, you are drunk, and what's more you are disgustingly drunk."

Churchill: "Bessie, my dear, you are ugly, and what's more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be disgustingly ugly.









19 Abercromby Square





Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, VC & Bar, MC (9 November 1884 – 4 August 1917) was a British medical doctor and British Army officer who is one of only three people to be awarded a Victoria Cross twice.

Now part of the University of Liverpool, This is the front of the former Bishop's Palace in Abercromby Square where the Chavasse Family lived.




Oxton Village on the Wirral is home to two blue plaques


18 Village Road, Oxton

SIR PATRICK ABERCROMBIE (1879-1957) Oxton Town and Country Planning Pioneer lived here from 1915-1935.
He was honoured with an English Heritage Blue Plaque at the Birkenhead house -18 Village Road, Oxton - where he lived when he was Professor of Civic Design at the University of Liverpool.

In 1909, when the first Lord Leverhulme donated funds for the University to establish a Department of Civic Design, the first of its kind, Patrick Abercrombie joined the new Department from the Department of Architecture, as a lecturer. He also became the launch editor of the journal Town Planning Review, which was also funded by Lord Leverhulme. He was appointed Lever Professor of Civic Design in 1915, a position he held for 20 years.

Oxton Village

Pennant House, The Village, Oxton

JOSEPH MAYER (1803-1886), antiquary and collector, lived here from 1860-1886





The Johnston Building, Quadrangle, L18


Sir Ronald Ross KCB FRS (13 May 1857 – 16 September 1932) was a British doctor who received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1902 for his work on malaria. His discovery of the malarial parasite in the gastrointestinal tract of the Anopheles mosquito led to the realization that malaria was transmitted by Anopheles, and laid the foundation for combating the disease.







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