Express & Star

Blue plaque plan for Enoch Powell in Wolverhampton

A blue plaque to honour Enoch Powell could be erected in Wolverhampton.

Enoch Powell was MP for Wolverhampton South West from 1950 until 1974

The city’s Civic and Historical Society confirmed they have received an application for the plaque, which would commemorate the life of the former Wolverhampton South West MP, renowned for his Rivers of Blood speech.

It is on a list of around 35 potential plaques and will be discussed by the society’s six-strong panel once the unnamed applicant has raised the £1,000 necessary to fund its creation.

Blue plaques secretary Barry Hodgson said: “It is perfectly feasible that we will see a blue plaque for Enoch Powell at some time in the future.

“The possibility was first raised two or three years ago and was recently revived.

"Once the financial issues have been dealt with I will present the case to the committee and we will discuss it at length.

"It is more of a sensitive issue than we usually deal with, so there will obviously be concerns over where in the city it would be placed to keep it away from vandals.

“It is something we are going to have to think long and hard about, and there will undoubtedly be those who are against it.

“My own view is that the plaques should reflect our history, warts and all.”

Enoch Powell's Rivers of Blood speech was debated at the Wolverhampton Literature Festival

The possibility of a plaque for Powell was discussed at Saturday’s E&S debate on the Rivers of Blood speech.

Panellists were asked if they thought it would be an appropriate way to recognise his ‘significance’ in the city’s history.

Former Wolverhampton South West Tory MP Paul Uppal, said there should be no plaque to honour Powell. “We have moved on,” he said.

Senior cabinet member Councillor Milkinder Jaspal was also against the idea.

"He destroyed his credibility with that speech,” he said.

Nick Jones' father Clem edited the Express & Star when Enoch Powell was an MP

Journalist Nick Jones said it would be difficult to find a suitable location. “The opposition would be too great,” he added.

Wolverhampton council leader Roger Lawrence said: "I would go along with the consensus put forward at the debate.

“What we don’t want is to create anything that would be a focus for attacks and unrest.”

Blue plaques are installed in public places to commemorate links with a famous person or event.

The city currently has 103 blue plaques, the first of which was erected on Tettenhall Road in 1983 in honour of 19th century architect George Bidlake.

There are also plaques for American founding father Button Gwinnett, who lived in the city in the 1750s, businessman Sir Charles Mander and marine salvage expert Ernest F.G. Cox.