Express & Star

Enoch Powell: Donors come forward to finance controversial blue plaque

Plans for a blue plaque recognising Enoch Powell have moved a step closer after it emerged ‘several’ offers have been made to finance it.

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Enoch Powell

The Wolverhampton Civic and Historical Society revealed a number of people had been in contact who were keen to see the Powell plaque ‘become a reality’.

Secretary Barry Hodgson said members of the public had offered ‘more than enough money’ to cover the £1,000 cost of creating the plaque.

“One thing is certain, financing it will not be an issue,” he said.

“Several people have come forward over the past fortnight who say they want to see it become a reality, and they are willing to put the money up.

“However, there is still a long way to go.”

Last month the society revealed that it had received an application for a blue plaque to recognise the historical significance of the controversial former Wolverhampton Tory MP.

He represented the city for 24 years and rose to notoriety on the back of his Rivers of Blood speech in 1968.

Members are set to discuss the plans at a meeting in July, with the six-strong committee likely to vote on the proposal some time next year.

The issue has prompted national discussion since it was raised at an Express & Star debate on Powell’s legacy.

An E&S poll, which has bow closed, has received around 20,000 votes, with 70 per cent backing the plaque.

It has been debated on the Channel 5 show The Wright Stuff, and has drawn opposition from Wolverhampton’s three Labour MPs, Bishop Clive Gregory and former Conservative MP Paul Uppal.

Meanwhile, the society says plans are also in the works for plaques honouring city luminaries Baroness Rachael Heyhoe Flint and Sir Jack Hayward.

They are among 35 applications due to be considered. Others include a plaque for George Africanus, a former slave who grew up in the city and went on to become a successful entrepreneur.

The society says his plaque is likely to be located at the Wolverhampton Archives building, although part of the funding is still required.

A plaque for the city’s Royal Hospital is set to be installed later this year, once a suitable site has been agreed.

There will also be a plaque at the site of Elisabeth Blast Furnace at British Steel in Bilston.

Sponsorship for the plaque at the landmark furnace – which was demolished around 35 years ago – has been pledged by the Staffordshire Iron & Steel Institute.

Mr Hodgson said the society has also received a suggestion for a plaque for Bruce Forsyth, who did his first professional performance in Bilston.