No Ridgmount Gardens blue plaque for Bob Marley, says English Heritage

Thursday, 22nd March 2012

04_Bob_Marley

Pictured, above, is reggae legend and former Bloomsbury resident Bob Marley. Photo: Eddie Mallin/wikipedia
Published: 22 March, 2012
by RICHARD OSLEY

ENGLISH Heritage turned down a request to erect one of its famous blue plaques to Bob Marley’s former home in Bloomsbury.

A panel of experts ruled the reggae star’s spell in a flat in Ridgmount Gardens did not merit one of their commemorative tributes.

Marley’s stay in London in 1972 – a time when his band The Wailers were scoring their first big breakthroughs – has been marked by another plaque scheme.

The Nubian Jak Community Trust, helped by then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, unveiled a plaque during Black History Month six years ago.

His widow Rita was delighted with the tribute, telling fans: “My husband’s music is loved by all around the world, although he had a special affinity with London.”

But it was revealed yesterday that when an unnamed proposer asked for English Heritage to follow suit and use their own blue plaque scheme to honour Marley, the conservation body proved reluctant.

A panel of experts said research showed it was difficult to link the No Woman No Cry musician to any one property in the capital.

The details of the decision, taken in 2010, came to light yesterday (Wednesday) when minutes of the panel’s deliberations were released to the New Journal.

“The panel noted with regret that despite the undertaking of a considerable amount of historical research, no primary evidence had been found that irrefutably connect Bob Marley with a building in London that was suitable for commemoration,” the minutes said.

“It was hoped that new evidence would emerge in the future but for now the panel recommended that his name be removed from the shortlist and the proposer informed.”

Mr Livingstone had been criticised for backing the Nubian Jak plaque while English Heritage was making up its mind how to handle requests to honour Marley.

Mr Livingstone reminded sceptics that many famous people had more than one plaque.

Related Articles