Blue Plaque for Ayahs

English Heritage is to unveil a Blue Plaque marking a home for ayahs at 26 King Edward Rd, Hackney E9 7SF. The event will take place on Thursday 16 June at 3.30pm for 4pm.

The Ayahs’ Home (1900-1921). The term ‘ayah’ was applied to the South and East Asian women who served the British as nannies and nursemaids in India and other colonies. The Ayahs’ Home in Hackney provided safety and shelter to the many women who arrived in London with British families only to find that their employers did not honour the promise of a return journey, or offer the means to survive in the interim. The ayahs, thus abandoned, were often forced into common lodging houses or the workhouse.

Actor and playwright Meera Syal is expected to attend. The public event will be followed by talks at Hackney Museum, London E8 1GQ, from 6pm -7.30pm.

Ayahs Home
By Unknown author – London City Mission magazine in 1900, Public Domain

The English Heritage London Blue Plaques scheme celebrates the link between significant figures of the past and the buildings in which they lived and worked. All nominations received by English Heritage are judged by the same strict criteria:

• They should be of significant public standing in a London-wide, national or international context; and
• They should be understood to have made some important positive contribution to human welfare or happiness; and
• Their achievements should have made an exceptional impact in terms of public recognition; or
• There shall be strong grounds for believing that they are regarded as eminent and distinguished by a majority of members of their own profession or calling.
• They must have been dead for twenty years,
• They should have lived in London for a significant period, in time or importance, within their life and work,
• The London building in which they lived or worked should still survive and must not have a significantly altered exterior.