Wiltshire

Blue plaque celebrated wrong woman for 23 years

Plaque to Eglantyne Jebb Image copyright Marlborough.News
Image caption The plaque in Marlborough bears the name of a distant relative of Eglantyne Jebb, who didn't have a middle name

A blue plaque which has mistakenly credited the wrong person with founding the charity Save the Children for 23 years is being replaced.

The sign honouring Eglantyne Mary Jebb was unveiled in Marlborough by Princess Anne in 1996 but charity founder Eglantyne Jebb never had a middle name.

The error was spotted by a researcher from Marlborough News, who has organised a replacement.

"We haven't told Princess Anne about the mistake," writer Sue Round said.

Eglantyne Jebb, born in Ellesmere, Shropshire, taught at St Peter's School in the Wiltshire town between 1899 and 1900, before setting up Save the Children in 1919

It is thought the woman celebrated by the existing plaque was a much younger relative who, confusingly, also became a teacher later in her life.

Image copyright Save The Children
Image caption Eglantyne Jebb founded Save the Children to help starving children in Germany and Austria after World War One

Ms Round chanced upon the error while writing a feature to mark the charity's centenary.

"I spoke to the area rep, who said to me 'You know the plaque is wrong, don't you?'," she said.

"I phoned the mayor who asked for more evidence, so I dug out census documents and even a photo of her grave, which proved she didn't have a middle name.

"Save the Children had told the council about it before but nobody was able to prove it, so the change wasn't made," she said.

Marlborough News has agreed to pay for half the cost of the replacement plaque, which will be unveiled later.

"I suppose the internet wasn't available back then, and whoever did the research didn't look into it enough," added Ms Round.

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