Apollo Magazine

No more waiting in vain for Bob Marley fans

English Heritage marks the musician’s time in Chelsea, but a literary festival’s calls for pink plaques in Highgate falls flat

Bob Marley in London in June 1977, photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images

Photo: Evening Standard/Getty Images

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories

Last week, English Heritage announced that musician is to be commemorated with a blue plaque on the Chelsea townhouse he shared with his band The Wailers in 1977. Marley is, in the words of historian David Olusoga (a member of the Blue Plaques panel), ‘one of the most loved and listened to musicians of the 20th century’; indeed, the only surprise is that his plaque didn’t come sooner.

Other figures given the nod in this latest round of commemorations include Gertrude Bell, Angela Carter and Martha Gellhorn. The new additions underline English Heritage’s attempts to celebrate more women and people of colour in through its Blue Plaque scheme.

About time, too: as the Guardian reported last year, only 14 per cent of the 900 or so existing plaques are dedicated to women. Meanwhile, a call from the Highgate Literary Festival for suggestions of women who lived in the area, who might be honoured (if that’s the right word) by a series of pink plaques has not been so warmly welcomed. It certainly puts a new spin on the title of Bob Marley’s hit ‘No Woman No Cry’.

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