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Blue plaques for Bert Hardy and John Harvard

A respected press photographer and the man who gave his name to Harvard University are to be recognised with Southwark Council blue plaques this year after the results of a public vote were announced.

The Priory in Webber Street
The Priory in Webber Street - birthplace of Bert Hardy (Photo: Mark Cook)
Queen's Head Inn
The site of the Queen's Head Inn carries this plaque already

More than 5,000 votes were received from local people who voted for their favourite person or place as part of Southwark Council's annual Blue Plaque scheme. Two of the six plaques to be installed across the borough this year are in SE1.

The blue plaque scheme is designed to pay homage to the borough's famous and worthy sons and daughters, places and events. Unlike most schemes of its kind, the public is asked to vote on a shortlist published each year.

"This year's winners are exceptional," says Cllr Lorraine Zuleta, executive member for culture, leisure and sport. "Ranging from a leader in motorcycle design, to boxing champion, to a film and picture haven, Southwark's local people have again voted for their favourite icons.

"Our heritage and local history is something for everyone in Southwark to enjoy and celebrate. Blue Plaques has been going strong for six years and it's great that everyone gets involved. We feel it's important to recognise and celebrate people from all walks of life in this campaign and to reflect the great icons we have in the borough both past and present."

Bert Hardy (1913-1995) – renowned press photographer

Born at the Priory, Webber Street, he began his career as a messenger but worked his way up to be a well-respected photographer. Well known for his work in Picture Post, especially during the blitz and his images of Elephant & Castle in 1949. He is known for giving great sympathy to working class Londoners, capturing scenes of domestic and street life in his work. In latter years his photographic studio was in Burrows Mews off Blackfriars Road.

John Harvard (1607-1638) – principal benefactor of Harvard University

Born in Southwark, the son of Robert Harvard, was baptised in St Saviour's Church (now Southwark Cathedral). Upon emigrating to New England where he made his fortune he became a principal donor to a college which in 1639 became Harvard University.

His family owned the Queen's Head Inn in Borough High Street. Queen's Head Yard already has a plaque describing the Harvard connection, though it has been suggested that the new plaque could be affixed to John Harvard Library.

Last year Southwark celebrated the 400th anniversary of Harvard's baptism with a number of special events at Southwark Cathedral and the first ever John Harvard Memorial Lecture.

Among the other blue plaques to be installed in Southwark this year is one honouring boxer Sir Henry Cooper. It is likely to be placed in Daneville Road Camberwell where he lived in the 1930s though he trained in the gymnasium above the Thomas a Becket Public House, Old Kent Road SE1.

• Nominations for the Blue Plaque Awards 2008 are now open and can be sent via email to

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