By Ross Hickman
Below is a timeline charting the key events, people, and institutions that ‘brought about’ the Pink Plaque Project, a feminist historical reclamation in Highgate. The gendered exclusivity of history, historical representation, and the historical professions in Britain come into relief over the past century and a half that have made clear who ‘history’ is meant for—the ‘remarkable’ men (and women) who populate an imagined metropolis of faces, names, discourses, and identities. Histories that seek to include do so in the necessarily exclusive space of history—and often, as well, in exclusive spaces like Highgate. This, of course, does not obviate the need to write about and represent more women and other underrepresented groups in history and historical memory. But getting at the tensions between inclusion and exclusion in history, memory, and current discourse can point out further stratifications both within and outside of what we mean when we say ‘history.’
Follow this link to reach a full-screen timeline on the story of Highgate’s pink plaques.
Brown, Mark. “English Heritage Calls for Female Blue Plaque Nominees.” The Guardian, October 30, 2018.
—. “New Blue Plaques for Women Honor Spies, Artist and Suffragettes.” The Guardian, March 4, 2020.
Campbell, Sophie. “The Missing Blue Plaques for London’s Women, and What to Do about It.” The Telegraph, November 12, 2018.
Chee, Lilian. “An Architecture of Twenty Words: Intimate Details of a London Blue Plaque House.” In Negotiating Domesticity: Spatial Productions of Gender in Modern Architecture, edited by Hilde Heynen and Gülsüm Baydar, 181-195. New York: Routledge, 2005.
Cole, Emily. Lived in London: Blue Plaques and the Stories Behind Them. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.
Davis, Natalie Zemon. “‘Women’s History’ in Transition: The European Case.” In Feminism and History, edited by Joan Wallach Scott, 79-110. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Eavis, Anna and Howard Spencer. “Risk and Reputation: The London Blue Plaques Scheme.” In Dethroning Historical Reputations: Universities, Museums, and the Creation of Benefactors, edited by Jill Pellew and Lawrence Goldman, 107-116. London: University of London Press, 2018.
Hannaford, Elizabeth. “Boxed In (Kingsleyae Beetle).” 2018.
—. “Kingsleyae Fish I.” 2018.
—. “Kingsleyae Fish II.” 2018.
“Highgate Heritage Pink Plaque Project: Reclaiming Pink and the Past.” Highgate Festival, accessed March 31, 2020, https://highgatefestival.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/pink-plaque-map.pdf.
Katz, Brigit. “London Will Install Six New Plaques Commemorating Women’s History.” Smithsonian Magazine, March 4, 2020.
Kessel, Anna. “Where Are All the Blue Plaques Celebrating Women?” The Guardian, October 2, 2018.
Kramer, Maria. “Inside Out.” 2018.
—. “Self Critical.” 2018.
Lamuye, Adebola et al. “Feminists See Red Over Plan for Pink Plaques to Honor Famous Women.” Evening Standard, February 22, 2019.
Leatham, Xantha. “Feminists See Red Over Pink Plaques Meant to Honor the Lives of Important Women, Claiming the Colour Reinforces Damaging Gender Stereotypes.” Daily Mail, February 22, 2019.
Lewis, Jemima. “The Feminists at English Heritage Can’t Rewrite History with a Few Blue Plaques.” The Telegraph, March 6, 2020.
“London’s Women Historians.” School of Advanced Study: University of London, accessed April 5, 2020, https://archives.history.ac.uk/womenhistorians/index.html.
Melman, Billie. “Gender, History and Memory: The Invention of Women’s Past in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries.” History and Memory 5, no. 1 (1993): 5-41.
Miller, Nicola et al. “Promoting Gender Equality in U.K. History: A Second Report and Recommendations for Good Practice.” Royal Historical Society, November 6, 2018.
Parkinson, Hannah Jane. “The Quirkier, the Better: Why Blue Plaques Lift My Spirits.” The Guardian, March 8, 2019.
“Pioneering Women in London.” English Heritage, accessed March 31, 2020, https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/blue-plaques/blue-plaque-stories/women-pioneers/#?theme=358&page=1.
Pivaro, Alicia. Email interview by author. April 22, 2020.
“Six New Blue Plaques for Women in 2020.” English Heritage, accessed March 31, 2020, https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/about-us/search-news/six-new-blue-plaques-for-women/.
Spencer, Howard. The English Heritage Guide to London’s Blue Plaques: The Lives and Homes of London’s Most Interesting Inhabitants. United Kingdom: September Publishing, 2016.
Stamp, Gavin. “London Is Lucky to Have the Blue Plaque Scheme.” Apollo 183, no. 639 (2016): 24-25.
Taylor, Harry. “Lauderdale House Heritage Weekend Set to Shout About Highgate History as ‘Pink Plaques’ Launched.” Ham&High, February 21, 2019.
Thirsk, Joan. “Women Local and Family Historians.” In The Oxford Companion to Local and Family History, edited by David Hey, 99-110.
Trackman, Susan. In-person interview by author. March 5, 2020.
“Women in History.” English Heritage, accessed March 31, 2020, https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/learn/histories/women-in-history/.
Vale, Allison. A Woman Lived Here: Alternative Blue Plaques, Remembering London’s Remarkable Women. London: Robinson, 2018.