Find your ancestors in United Kingdom, Commemorative Plaques

Learn about these records

These records are generated by a community-based project, Open Plaques. Their objective is to catalogue, curate, and promote historical plaques.

In most cases, you will find the following information:

  • Location
  • Who or what occurred to signify a plaque
  • First name
  • Last name

Discover more about these records

All of the plaques listed in this collection are provided by a crowd-sourcing effort led by Open Plaques. They have offered the data for public use.

Combined with the powerful address search on Findmypast, this data can provide an opportunity to further explore the history of a specific building or event. Combining this information with information from census records, electoral registers, newspapers and other records should culminate in an extensive house history and correlating timeline. You will also have the opportunity to explore nearby locations and understand the greater impact of events throughout history on villages and towns, entire counties, or countries.

Locations found in the collection may include everything from childhood homes, birth or death locations, or places in which significant events took place.

For example, in Cockermouth, Cumberland, you will find the birth place of Poet William Wordsworth, and the grammar school he attended as a child, which also happens to be where Fletcher Christian - the leader of the Mutiny on the Bounty in 1788 - attended.

You can also find locations with social history significance, such as the Old Red Lion Theatre Pub on the edge of Islington in London, where Thomas Paine wrote part two of “Rights of Man” in 1791.

Some locations are naturally going to have many documented plaques, such as London with over 3,000 included. Many just have one plaque identified.

The Open Plaques project is ongoing and includes data from around the world. Researchers are encouraged to submit their own images and information regarding historical plaques. You can learn more about how to participate on their Contribute page.

Stories from these records

Dame Laura Knight

Laura Knight was a famous and celebrated artist and part of the English Impressionism movement. Born in 1877 in Derbyshire, Laura married fellow artist Harold Knight in 1903. Knight was inspired by, and would often paint, the English coast, marginalised communities included Romani people, circus and theatre performers, and ballet dancers. In a male dominated profession, Knight paved the way for greater recognition and status for women artists. She won the silver medal in painting at the 1928 Summer Olympics, became a Dame in 1929, was elected president of the Society of Women Artists in 1932, and became the first woman since 1769 to be elected a full member of the Royal Academy. During the Second World War, Knight became a war artist. Most famously she created the recruitment poster for the Women’s Land Army and painted ‘Corporal J. D. M. Pearson, GC, WAAF’ in recognition of the bravery of WAAF Daphne Pearson; Ruby Loftus Screwing a Breech-ring, commissioned to inspire women to work in the factories during the war, and Take Off, a group portrait of RAF bomber pilots. In 1945, Knight attended the Nuremberg war crimes trials and painted The Nuremberg Trial.

The Ritz Ballroom

The Ritz Ballroom was a music venue in Birmingham during the 1960s. It was run by Joe and Mary Regan, known as ‘Ma and Pa Regan’. Some of the most famous musicians and bands of the era performed there including The Beatles, Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent, and The Rolling Stones in 1963; The Moody Blues, Robert Plant, and the Kinks in 1966, and Pink Floyd in 1967.


Commando was a pigeon who was used by the British armed forces during the Second World War to carry intelligence to Europe from Britain. He was bred by Sid Moon in Haywards Heath, Sussex. Moon served as part of the Army Pigeon Service during the First World War. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Moon offered his pigeons as part of the war service including Commando. Pigeons were used by the military to carry intelligence as radio communications were dangerous. However, there was only a one in eight chance of success - many were shot by enemy marksmen, intercepted by falconers, or died from exhaustion, bad weather, and birds of prey. Commando (identification code N.U.R.P.38.EGU.242) remarkably carried out over ninety trips to German occupied France. He was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal (the animal equivalent to the Victoria Cross) in 1945 'for successfully delivering messages from Agents in Occupied France on three occasions: twice under exceptionally adverse conditions, while serving with the NPS in 1942.' Other pigeons presented with the Dickin medal on 12 March 1945 included Royal Blue, George VI's pigeon.