Finsbury’s Liberal hero

On Friday I was doing some daytime door-knocking around the Angel with Caroline Pidgeon. We were also getting signatures for the One Hour Bus Ticket campaign, on which more later.

Seeing Islington through a visitor’s eyes, one thing that struck me was that on quite a short stretch, we passed 3 blue plaques – as well as the homes of various contemporary celebrities.
Last month, I was honoured to be among the guests for the unveiling of a new blue plaque in Clerkenwell, organised by the Amwell Society. The plaque commemorates Finsbury MP Dadabhai Naoroji – appropriately enough in Naoroji Street, named after the great man. He was Britain’s first Asian MP and a Liberal MP, first elected in 1892.

And his political connections live on today in Clerkenwell councillor Marisha Ray.

Dadabhai is a hero for our area (he already has a plaque on Finsbury Town Hall) and for my party, but not exactly a household name. As the Amwell Society point out, people don’t know why it’s called Naoroji Street. And with more people talking up the BNP, it’s important to remember that London has always been a multi-cultural city. So the plaque is a great idea.

Emily Thornberry MP didn’t exactly unveil the plaque – it’s high up above the reach of vandals – but she did speak very positively about Naoroji’s contribution, although managing completely to avoid mentioning he was a Liberal MP! There’s a nice piece aout the event in the Tribune.


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