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We must do more to rediscover Rugby’s heritage

April 14, 2021 9:22 PM
By Rugby Lib Dems

Neil Sandison April 2021Rugby Liberal Democrat Councillors are calling for more to be done to enhance Rugby as a heritage visitor destination, including the introduction of a refreshed Blue Plaque Scheme. A motion has been put forward to Full Council on 20 April 2021.

Lib Dems in the town are concerned that much of Rugby's heritage could be lost if we fail to identify and commemorate it with a refreshed Blue Plaque Scheme and visitor information boards.

Despite a dedicated heritage report compiled by Councillors in 2017, with 9 recommendations, very few have in fact been implemented. This includes an advisory group to recommend the provision and placement of blue plaques and the monitoring progress on heritage projects.

Without action, important Naturalist like Andrew Bloxam will remain unsung and forgotten and their contribution to natural science will go unnoticed. This is why Liberal Democrat Councillors have requested that a plaque and a garden be dedicated to him close to his family home and Rugby Art Gallery and Museum.

Commenting, Councillor Neil Sandison (Eastlands), said:

"If we are to promote Rugby as a visitor destination we cannot afford to rely solely on retail and housing schemes to encourage visitors into our town centre. We must do more to allow residents and visitors to enjoy the wider heritage and cultural experience of Rugby."

Motion for Full Council on 20 April 2021

This Council recognises the significant contribution that heritage and the blue plaque scheme can play in promoting Rugby as a place to visit.

One example is the contribution made by the expedition of HMS Blonde (1824 1826) to South America, Galapagos Islands and the Hawaiian Islands and that two members of that expedition came from Rugby namely Andrew Bloxam a Naturalist, and his brother Richard Bloxam who was the Chaplain on this voyage. Andrew Bloxam identified and named many new species on this voyage he also wrote 3 books on Roses, Brambles, and Fungi. His findings and works are on display in the British Museum. Andrew later went on to be the Rector of Harborough Magna until his death in 1878.

The small garden to rear of the Percival Guildhouse and adjacent to the Rugby Art Gallery and Museum would be a fitting place to display a blue plaque to Andrew Bloxam with an information board.

The Town Centre Heritage task & finish group report (November 2017) made a series of recommendations and in light of the emerging town centre strategy these should be reviewed and where possible implemented in order to enhance Rugby as a heritage visitor destination.

Proposed by Cllr Neil Sandison

Seconded by Cllr Jerry Roodhouse

English Heritage - Blue Plaque Scheme