First official blue plaques outside London unveiled

Image: Daphne Steele blue plaque

The first black matron in the NHS has been honoured with a plaque in Ilkley, West Yorkshire

The first official blue plaques to be installed outside of London have been revealed after the programme’s national expansion.

Daphne Steele, the first black matron in the NHS, is being honoured with the first blue plaque, which is installed in Ilkley, West Yorkshire.

Beatles guitarist George Harrison and ceramist Clarice Cliff are set to receive the next two blue plaques under the national expansion of the scheme.

Public nominations for local figures to get blue plaques are to open in the summer, as part of the new national scheme which is delivered by Historic England on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).


A change in the law underpinning the scheme was made through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023, which allowed for the national expansion.

A number of similar, local plaque schemes have operated across the country for many years. The expansion is hoped to create “one cohesive, official scheme, run by Historic England, operating equally across England.”

This summer, nominations will open so the public can put forward their own suggestions of people who should be recognised in their local area. If successfully nominated, the buildings where local figures lived, worked or stayed will be marked with a blue plaque, which will shine a spotlight on our shared heritage across the country.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said: “Our national blue plaques scheme is a fantastic opportunity to tell the stories of inspirational people, like Daphne, who have helped make the world a better place. Blue plaques are well known and loved. They help people and communities feel pride and connection to their local and national heritage.”