Saffron Walden Initiative unveils blue plaque scheme for high-profile residents

SIX distinguished Saffron Walden characters, including a poet, inventor and designer, will be honoured with a blue plaque.

SIX distinhuished Saffron Walden characters, including a poet, inventor and designer, will be honoured with a blue plaque.

The scheme, which will be launched on Sunday (June 16), will commemorate the former residents, who have achieved distinction in their chosen careers or fields of activity.

A small team drawn from the Saffron Walden Initiative and the Tourist Information Centre, under the co-ordination of architect John Ready, has worked for months to make the final selection from a list of candidates. They have obtained listed building consents and property owner approvals, as well as commissioning the design, manufacture and installation of the finished plaques.

Mr Ready said: “The Saffron Walden Initiative is committed to adding a vitality and distinctiveness to the town – this is one element of that.

“This project will make people more aware of the distinguished former residents, their creativity and careers, and their contribution to the town itself.

“We hope it will be of interest to residents who have a passion about the the history of where they live, and add another string to the bow of Saffron Walden – it is another aspect for visitors to enjoy.”

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The lifetimes of the chosen six cover an extensive span of years from 1545 to 2009 and reflect a wide range of achievement in scholarship, the arts, creativity and citizenship.

They are:

GABRIEL HARVEY – 16th century poet and scholar (1545-1630), Saffron Walden Laundry Office, 13-17 Gold Street.

HENRY WINSTANLEY –Inventor and builder of the first Eddystone lighthouse (1644-1703), Former Conservative Club, 5 Museum Street. GEORGE STACEY GIBSON – Banker, philanthropist and botanist (1813-1883), Hill House, High Street.

GORDON JACOB – Composer and arranger (1895-1984), 1 Audley Road.

EDWARD BAWDEN – Designer, printmaker and illustrator (1903-1989), 2 Park Lane studio.

JACK CARDIFF – Oscar winning film Cinematographer and Director (1914-2009), 7a High Street.

All those interested in attending the unveiling ceremonies will be very welcome.

The elegant cast-metal designs were developed by David Riches of Visible Edge and grant assistance was obtained through the Uttlesford District Council New Homes Bonus fund with the support of Saffron Walden Town Council, whose staff have also assisted with the installation of the plaques.

A free explanatory leaflet, with map, biographical details and portrait images will be available.