Whether you're looking for a way to increase your local knowledge or you want search for these landmarks in Oxfordshire as you stroll around, going plaque spotting can be a good way to use a free hour or two.

Blue Plaques ensure history is kept alive by commemorating famous residents and events. With over 100 of the special Blue Plaques on our doorstep, you can find an array of sites of interest relating to well-known events and to previous residents of our county, including the country retreat of a previous prime minister and where penicillin was first used to treat patients.

Get your walking boots on, drop the pins on your mobile phone and away you go! Here's a handful to get you started.

 


Clive Staples Lewis, or more commonly known as C.S. Lewis, was born in Belfast but studied, worked and lived in Oxford. Yet despite later becoming a Professor at Cambridge, he always returned to Oxford as his base. His home in Lewis Close, Headington Quarry, was recognised and commemorated with a Blue Plaque in 2006. This house is where he wrote all of his books, including the Chronicles of Narnia. He is buried nearby in Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry.

Known to his family as Ronald William George Barker but we know and love him as one half of The Two Ronnies. Ronnie Barker was born in Bedford and as a boy he moved to Church Cowley Road in Oxford where you can see the Blue Plaque today. He was educated locally and got his first job in the Westminster Bank in Cowley. Briefly he left to work in Aylesbury but he quickly returned to work at the Oxford Playhouse where he worked alongside Maggie Smith before being spotted and taken to the West End. After enjoying huge success with Porridge and Open All Hours, he later returned to Oxfordshire where he ran The Emporium, an antiques shop in Chipping Norton. He died in Katharine House Hospice in Adderbury in 2005.


In 1946 Roger Bannister went to Exeter College to read medicine, and at the same time became a dedicated athlete. Eight years later, Bannister was a leading middle distance runner and it was his ambition to run a mile in under four minutes. On 6 May 1954 running for the Amateur Athletics Association against Oxford University and paced by two friends, Chris Chattaway and Chris Brasher, he broke all records for the mile. He became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes in 3.59.4 seconds on the Iffley Road running track at the Oxford University Sports Centre.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is undoubtably best known for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He was born in South Africa but later studied at Exeter College, Oxford. He served in the First World War but returned to Oxford afterwards to work on the Oxford English Dictionary. He left briefly to work in Leeds but returned again and lived most of his adult life in Oxford. He moved to Poole in Dorset later in life but returned once more after the death of his wife to live in Merton College. The Blue Plaque can be found at 20 Northmoor Road in Oxford where it was unveiled by his daughter, Priscilla, in 2002.

Born in Devon, Agatha Christie is recognised as the best-selling novelist of all time and she wrote many of her books at Winterbrook House in Cholsey, near Wallingford. She moved there with her famous archaeologist husband, Sir Max Mallowan, in 1934 and that is exactly where you'll find her Blue Plaque. She wrote over 100 novels and plays and over two billion copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Her play 'The Mousetrap' is the longest running show in the world and has been going strong in the West End since 1952. Agatha Christie and Max Mallowan were both buried in the churchyard of St Mary's Church, Chosley.