If you take the time to look up you may notice round blue disks on some of the buildings around your student accommodation. London is decorated with these plaques that commemorate properties where someone famous once lived. I love to spot these wherever I go in the city and you can even go on blue plaque tours.

The Blue Plaque Scheme

The city has an institution called English Heritage, and they run lots of historical houses and monuments throughout the country. Their blue plaque programme is used to commemorate famous residents who used to live in London. You can find the plaques on many different buildings.

What I like most about this system is that wherever you find your student accommodation London’s remarkable characters will have left a trace. I always feel like I am walking in the footsteps (or actually living among) the old famous residents.

The Heroes of the City

There are over 900 plaques to discover if you choose to be inspired by English Heritage. Here are just a few that you’ll find close to the most popular areas for student accommodation London has to offer.

The City & Spitalfields

Your historical neighbours in the Spitalfields area (near our Chapter Spitalfields accommodation) include many social reformers and pioneers in the caring professions.

While you’re exploring the area see if you can spot these plaques:

  • Edith Cavell (1816-1915) – A pioneer in modern nursing and a heroine in World War 1, trained at London Hospital, Whitechapel Road E1 1BB.
  • Captain James Cook (1728-1779) – The famous explorer lived at 88 Mile End Road, E1 4UN.
  • Dr Thomas Barnardo (1845-1905) – A philanthropist who started his work for children at 58 Solent House, Ben Jonson Road E1 3NN.

South Bank

On the south side of the River Thames you’ll find the creative talent. Many artists, actors and musicians have spent time living in these areas and they are commemorated with blue plaques.

  • Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) – The comedian and actor lived in Flat 15 Glenshaw Mansions Brixton Road, SW9 0DS.
  • Graham Greene (1904-1991) – The writer of iconic novels like The Quiet American, Brighton Rock and The End of the Affair spent time at 14 Clapham Common North Side SW4 0RF.
  • Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) – The Norwegian composer was a resident just down the road at 47 Clapham Common North Side SW4 0AA.
  • Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) – The Dutch painter and father of the Impressionists worked here for a few years and lived at 87 Hackford Road South Lambeth SW9 0RE.

The West End

If you choose the West End for your student accommodation London’s blue plaques near your hall of residence (Nutford House or International Hall) will mainly commemorate writers and politicians. You also have the option to choose a flat share in Rathbone Place if you would like to live in this area.

  • Charles Darwin (1809-1882) – The writer and scientist drew up some of his most important ideas while living at 110 Gower Street, Bloomsbury WC1E 6BT.
  • Charles Dickens (1812-1870) – The novelist wrote many of works while a resident at 48 Doughty Street Holborn WC1N 2LX.
  • Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) – The poet and writer lived at 29 Fitzroy Square W1T 5LP.

These are just a few of the highlights, and every area has its own cluster of famous residents. You can find more on the English Heritage website, and if you want someone to direct you to the more unusual historical residents you should read this blog post. If you’d like to know more about our accommodation options, contact our friendly team via our website.