Rotherham District Civic Society
Protecting and preserving all that is best in the heritage of Rotherham
Blue Plaques
September the 8th, 2009

The Rotherham District Civic Society believes that it is important to celebrate the lives and achievements of Rotherham people.  One way to do this is by placing blue plaques on buildings most associated with them.  The Society is investigating how this can be done, with the help of the Local Authority.  If any member would like to sponsor a plaque, please contact the Secretary.  One person who might merit a blue plaque is Raymond Unwin.

He was born in Rotherham on the 2nd November 1863.  His father had a currier’s shop on College Street, which was remembered with great affection years later.  In 1871, the family moved from Clifton Bank to Moorgate Grove.

Inspired by the ideas of John Ruskin and William Morris, he moved to Manchester in 1885, becoming Secretary of the local Socialist League.  In 1896 he formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, Barry Parker, and together they worked on the design of houses in the Derbyshire mining villages. 

Their first major planning task was to design, in 1902, the New Earswick Model Village, near York.  Experience gained was then applied on a larger scale at the first Garden City, founded at Letchworth in 1903.  Unwin and Parker then followed this by designing Hampstead Garden Suburb, which was opened by King George V in 1907.

In 1913, he was amongst a group of twenty distinguished men who met together to create the Town Planning Institute, and, in 1915, became its second President. 
His work directly influenced men like Alderman George Caine and through him, housing developments in Rotherham.  In Herringthorpe they were ‘built and laid out, twelve to the acre, on garden city lines, artistically grouped, allowing of ample garden space and a maximum amount of fresh air and sunlight’.

Click here for more information on the Blue Plaque Scheme.

Letter to Councillor Gerald Smith, Cabinet Member for Environment and Development Services.

Dear Councillor Smith,

Blue Plaque Scheme

In 1992 the Council announced its intention to launch a blue plaque scheme to recognise the contribution of various people to the development of Rotherham. Names such as Ebenezer Elliott and Sir Donald Coleman Bailey were mentioned.
As indicated, in the enclosed press coverage of the time, this was seen in part as contributing to the Council's tourism agenda. For one reason or another, be it budgetary restrictions or whatever, the idea did not reach fruition.

The Rotherham Civic Society now wish to re-launch the idea as part of its contribution to increasing civic pride and awareness in the community. The Society, which as you will know is solely reliant upon member's subscriptions, will seek to identify a sponsor from within its corporate membership list to assist with the production of the plaques.
Given the Society's limited resources I would ask if it would be possible for the Council to contribute to the project by allocating an officer from within the Regeneration Service who could prepare CAD images of the plaques for manufacture to take place. The Council, as you will know, has long standing experience of producing such plaques for previous Urban Programme and European funded projects.

Yours sincerely,