Three new ones for North Laine this past year

Photo:At the unveiling of the plaque to Ken Fines

At the unveiling of the plaque to Ken Fines

Photo by Henry Bruce

AGM report by NLCA Commemorative Plaque Panel representative, 2014/15

By Gabrielle Villermet

The Commemorative Plaque Panel, also known as the Blue Plaque Panel, is Council-led but run by volunteers. It is chaired by Averil Older and consists of members of Brighton & Hove amenity groups, a sitting councillor, a media representative, a member of the Conservation Areas Group (CAG), and occasionally others such as an officer from Visit Brighton.

Remit of the Panel

Our remit is to research enquiries from any person suggesting a new plaque. The Council can only afford to pay for one per year as the cost, including manufacture, permissions and installation, is at least £1,200. However, if anyone is prepared to fund a plaque, it is always very welcome. All nominations are graded A to C, so it may take a long while for a suggestion to reach the top of the list.

Henry Solomon

In the past year a plaque was installed to Henry Solomon, the former police chief who was fatally wounded in his office in the then Police Station in Brighton Town Hall. The plaque was funded by the Police and the Jewish community of Brighton & Hove.

Sir Charles Barry

Another plaque was unveiled to Sir Charles Barry, the architect who designed the Royal Sussex County Hospital, St Peter’s Church, and St Andrew’s Church in Waterloo Street, Hove. This plaque has been placed on St Andrew’s Church and the money was raised by the Friends of that Church.

Two plaques at Brighton Station

Two plaques in North Laine were installed in Brighton Station: one to David Mocatta, designer of the original building, and one to John Saxby, who developed the interlocking signalling system that is still in use today. The Saxby plaque was funded by Brighton & Hove City Council and the Mocatta plaque by Southern Rail and Brighton & Hove Hebrew Congregation.

Ken Fines

Last but by no means least in North Laine is the plaque to Ken Fines, our ‘hero’ and saviour of North Laine. This plaque was paid for by his daughter Susan Fines, with a small contribution from the NLCA. It was placed on the building of Infinity Foods in Church Street, where it can be seen by residents and the many visitors to the area.

Thomas Simpson and Theodore Wright VC

Shortly to be unveiled is a plaque to Thomas Simpson, architect and surveyor of Brighton & Hove Schools. This will be installed on the former Connaught Road School in Hove, now part of West Hove School. Another is to Theodore Wright VC on No 119 Lansdowne Place, Hove.

Plaques in the pipeline

Plaques in the pipeline include: Subadar Mir Dast VC (who was a patient in the Indian Hospital in the Royal Pavilion), Martha Gunn, and Ernest Beale VC.

Frank Bridge

There was also a new blue plaque erected on the building where Frank Bridge, composer and musician, was born at No 7 North Road, but this was privately organised by MOOT (Music of our Time) and was not handled through the Commemorative Plaque Panel.


Nominations for plaques are always welcome, particularly if sponsorship is available.


[Previously published in the North Laine Runner, No 233, March/April 2015]

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