How commemorative plaques help to keep history alive in the UK

By Anita Jaynes on 6 May, 2023

Institutions like English Heritage and The National Trust are tremendously helpful when it comes to preserving history across the UK. In the Wiltshire region we have some of the most visited historical sites including Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral and Lacock Abbey all of which feature strongly in the landscape and provide a link to our past. 

Here Brunel Engraving share their thoughts on the effect that commemorative plaques can have when it comes to keeping local history alive in the UK. 

How plaques can honour the past and inspire the future

Keeping this link to the past is important to many as history is what makes us, and reflecting on it is important if we want to progress positively in the future. Commemorative plaques are a helpful way to mark events for future generations and better sign-post the historical events of the past, but how do commemorative plaques help keep history alive? 

1. They mark significant events and create landmarks 

Commemorative plaques help to create a tangible link to the past by marking the exact location where an event occurred or where a notable person lived or worked. They serve as a reminder of the history that occurred at that specific location. This can be both retrospective for previous historical events and sites that have not been properly marked and future ones that are yet to happen! 

2. They encourage an interest in public history

Commemorative plaques can inspire public interest in history by encouraging people to explore the stories behind the plaques. This can lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of the historical significance of the location and the people associated with it.

3. They can help with local tourism 

Commemorative plaques can help sign-post historic locations and provide information for visitors on the events that may have occurred, this not only increases the public’s engagement with local history, it also brings in value footfall to the local economy, helping out small businesses in the area.

4.  Encouraging a sense of community

Commemorative plaques can help to create a sense of place and identity for a community, making it more memorable and distinctive for visitors. Plaques can create a sense of continuity with the past and help visitors to understand the evolution of the area over time.

How you can encourage historical interest in your community 

Supporting your local history is great for both the people and economy of small towns and villages. Working with local schools, engaging in history walks and engaging with history societies can help increase the public engagement with history in your area for people of all generations. 

History plays an important role when it comes to local communities both in terms of supporting the economy and preserving heritage, at Brunel we are proud to create plaques for a range of local communities ranging from tree plaques to bench ones, and we have seen first hand the positive impact they can have.