City centre blue plaque badly damaged

The plaque for Sir Thomas Bodley, on the corner of High Street and Gandy Street, has been damaged.

The remains of the Bodley plaque

The fate of the blue plaque on the corner of Exeter’s High Street and Gandy Street can be seen on the right.

It is not clear how the damage occurred earlier this month but it does underline that once plaques have been installed they have to be safeguarded.

The plaque, which commemorated Sir Thomas Bodley, founder of the Bodleian Library, was one of the first that the Civic Society installed back in the 1960s. We already had plans to update it, including the possibility of replacing it with two plaques – the other commemorating Nicholas Hilliard, renowned for his portrait miniatures from the court of Elizabeth I. The plans have become more important now because of the damage.

The story of how these famous Exonians are linked to the same house can be viewed by following the links to Thomas Bodley’s entry from our blue plaques listing. The site, which forms a prominent part of the city centre streetscape, is also of interest for being the home of a mayor of Exeter, John Shillingford, who is noted for the surviving collection of his letters dating from 1447 to 1450.