Blue Plaque Scheme
The plaque for Eglantine Jebb (1876-1928) is on the Library (formerly St Peter’s School) in the High Street, as founder of “Save the Children Fund” in 1919. She graduated from Oxford, trained as a teacher and spent her first few years teaching girls at St Peter’s School. This remarkable young lady, from a privileged background was anxious to teach in a poor working class area and was helped in this ambition by her Uncle James who was a master at the College. She scandalised her uncle by insisting on living on her meagre wages!
The plaque for the Hancocks is on number 3 High Street. Thomas Hancock (1786-1865) invented the process to vulcanise rubber and Walter Hancock (1799-1852) invented a passenger steam coach. Natural rubber is a soft sticky substance with no uses, it is only through vulcanization that it can be used for vehicles tyres etc.
The plaque for author William Golding (1911-1993) is on the house in The Green where he spent his early years. He was a student at Marlborough Grammar School where his father Alec was an inspirational teacher of science.
Marlborough's most recent plaque commemorates Bob Pelham, founder of Pelham Puppets. It can be found at 1-3 Kingsbury Street and was unveiled in February 2019 on what would have been his 100th birthday. Read more here
The plaque for Cardinal Wolsey (1473-1540) is on St Peter’s Church where he was ordained a priest in 1498. He became a cardinal in 1515 and as well as his many high offces of church and state he was a candidate for the papacy in 1522 on the death of Leo X.
The plaque for The Great Fire of Marlborough is on the shops at 41 to 47 High Street which in 1653 belonged to the tanner Francis Freeman. The fire started here and fanned by a south westerly wind spread to destroy 150 properties including St Mary’s Church. Such was the scale of the disaster that Cromwell launched one of the first ever national appeals for the relief of the town. St Mary’s Church was rebuilt and is unusual in that it looks more like a chapel meeting room, than the interior of a church, refecting the period. During the fire, Dutch prisoners of war were in the town and the heroic efforts made by them at rescuing people were recognized once more when the Dutch Ambassador was invited to the dedication of the plaque in 1997.
The plaque for The Lord Chamberlain’s Men is in Russell Square (beside the Marlborough & District Conservative Club). A property in the vicinity was The White Hart Inn (destroyed in 1653) and was where Shakespeare’s company, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, gave performances.
The Plaque for Samuel Pepys commemorates his stay “at the Hart” in Marlborough on June 15th 1668, about which he wrote... “a pretty fair town for a street or two” giving mention to “their houses on one side having their pent-houses supported with pillars, which makes it a good walk”. Historians continue a discussion as to which White Hart he may have referred, but the Plaque can be found on 114 High St.
The plaque for the Statutes of Marlborough 1267 is on the College gates, the site of the former Castle. Henry III had been married in the Castle and his last Parliament was held here in 1267 at which was passed “The Statutes of Marlborough”.
The plaque for the Battle of Marlborough 1642 is on the Castle and Ball Hotel. The West Country was generally Royalist in its sympathies with the Seymour family at the castle supporting the king. The town was a strong supporter of Parliament, however, and was garrisoned with Parliamentary troops. The Royalists attacked the town on December 5th 1642 from the north, entering via the alleyways that lead into the High Street. The Mayor, along with many citizens, was taken to Oxford in chains.
You can download a leaflet for a self-guided walk here