The Independent London Newspaper

Pick the famous five who deserve an "Islington People’s Plaque"

Explorer Mary Kingsley

Published: 4th February, 2011
by TERRY MESSENGER

A SHORTLIST has been drawn up in a contest to choose notable people, places and events to be commemorated with a Town Hall “green plaque”.

The council invited nominations for “Islington People’s Plaques” in October last year and the 10 most popular suggestions were revealed this week (see below).

Voters are now being asked to whittle the 10 down to a final five who will be commemorated.

Labour council leader Councillor Catherine West said: “We received lots of worthy nominations for people and places which residents would like to see honoured.  

“Islington has such a rich history and it’s fascinating to learn more about some of the people and events that have had an impact on the borough. Now it’s up to Islington people to cast their vote and decide where the next green plaques will be put up.” 

To vote for the person, place or event you’d most like to see honoured with a green plaque from the shortlist, go to www.islington.gov.uk/peoplesplaque.

Votes can also be cast at libraries across the borough. 

Voting closes on February 28.

Shortlist – The suffragette, the Africa explorer and the creator of Hitchhiker’s Guide

The green plaque nominations are:

  • Author Douglas Adams (1952-2001), who lived in Upper Street and Duncan Terrace, Islington, and wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
  • Suffragette Edith Margaret Garrud (1872-1971), who lived in Thornhill Square, Islington, and taught fellow feminists martial arts to protect themselves from police.
  • Crystal Hale (1915-1999), of Noel Road and Canonbury Square, Islington, who led a campaign to prevent the City Road Basin being filled in and founded Islington Boat Club, the Angel Community Canal Boat Trust and Angel Canal Festival. 
  • Mary Kingsley (1862-1900), writer and explorer, born at Tavistock Terrace, Upper Holloway, who “greatly influenced European ideas about Africa and African people”.
  • Florence Keen (1868-1942), who founded North Islington Welfare Centre, and School for Mothers in 1913 to prevent disease and death among women and children by educating mothers at a time when infant mortality in Islington was more than 10 per cent.
  • Tea tycoon and philanthropist Thomas Lipton (1850-1931), founder of Lipton Tea, who donated £100,000 for the Alexandra Trust Dining Rooms in City Road “to provide people of humbler means with a restaurant conducted on generous lines”.
  • John Wright (1907-1991), founder of the Little Angel Theatre, Dagmar Passage, Islington.
  • The Peasants’ Revolt (1381) – the final protest of the doomed rebellion against unpopular flat-rate taxes was staged at Highbury Park.
  • The bombing of an air raid shelter at Dame Alice Owen’s School in Goswell Road, Angel, in 1940 which killed 100 people. The site is now occupied by City and Islington College.
  • The Angel Inn, Islington High Street, dating back to the 15th century and giving the Angel area its name. It was an important staging post for coaches travelling north from London and is mentioned in Charles Dickens’ Sketches by Boz and Oliver Twist. 

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