Greenwich Park plaque for Ignatius Sancho proposed

An application has been submitted to install a plaque commemorating Ignatius Sancho in Greenwich Park.

An image of the former slave who became the first British African man with a vote in a Westminster election will be placed above an existing plaque installed in 2007.

It’s on the site where he lived located in the south west corner of the park at the former Montagu House site (which was destroyed in 1815). This was where Sancho worked for the Duke and Duchess of Montagu from 1749-1751.

The application states he first worked “as a butler, and again from 1766 as a personal valet to a later Duke, before he left this employment in 1774, funded by the Montagus to set up a grocery store in Westminster. Montague House was built by the first Duke of Montagu in the late seventeenth century, hence the historic value of the Park wall at this site.”

The new addition is based on the painting of Ignatius Sancho (1768) by Thomas Gainsborough with Sancho’s name and dates inscribed.

The original painting is in the National Gallery of Canada.

In terms of materials used, the application states:

“The square sculpture with central oval relief portrait will be made in fired ceramic. The sculpted portrait area and oval border with symbols of Ignatius Sancho’s African origin are in colour.

This gives focus to the portrait as a visual enhancement to the existing plaque.

The square surround is close in colour and size to the existing worded plaque below it, about Sancho and his local and historical context.”

Nearby sits the remains of a bath that was once within Montagu House. That belonged to Queen Caroline who left the building one year before demolition.


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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

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