New blue plaque for Eglantyne Jebb, founder of Save the Children to be unveiled on 7 June

Written by Sue Round on .

Eglantyne Jebb, founder of Save the ChildrenEglantyne Jebb, founder of Save the ChildrenOn June 7 at 4pm a new blue plaque commemorating Eglantyne Jebb, the co-founder of Save the Children, will be unveiled on Marlborough Library, the building where she taught the children of St Peter’s School from 1899 to 1900. 

The plaque is part of several celebrations in the town to mark the centenary, this month, of the charity which works to improve the life chances of children in one hundred and twenty countries.

The new plaque replaces the 1996 plaque which celebrated the wrong ‘Eglantyne’, an Eglantyne Mary Jebb who was in fact a much younger relative, who also became a teacher. discovered that the original plaque was incorrect and has worked with Marlborough Town Council to ensure that the plaque is replaced. 

The plaque will be unveiled on June 7 at 4pm by Marlborough’s Mayor, Councillor Mervyn Hall, in the presence of James Sheppard, Chair of Wiltshire Council,Save the Children representatives Jan Cobley, Jennifer Brisker and Fidelma Meehan, Councillors and representatives from many organisations in the town.  Town Crier, Mike Tupman will be in attendance.  Members of the public are welcome.

Anne Chamberlain, an actor and playwright, will be speaking in role as Eglantyne at the unveiling ceremony.  Anne will be performing her play ‘Eglantyne’ in St Peter’s Church at 7.30pm on the evening of June 7.  Tickets are £10 for adults and free for children and are available from The White Horse Bookshop, Marlborough.

Town Mayor, Mervyn Hall told, "The original commemorative plaque contained an unfortunate naming mistake but I am very pleased that this has now given us the opportunity to unveil a new one and to celebrate the centenary of Save The Children and the connection of its founder to the Town of Marlborough."

Marlborough is proud to be part of Eglantyne’s life story.  There can be no doubt that the experiences of child poverty she encountered as a teacher at Marlborough St Peter’s School made a deep impression on her. In the aftermath of World War One it was the plight of starving children in Europe, victims of the blockade, that led her and her sister to take action and Save the Children was born.

Eglantyne was also responsible for the creation of the ‘Declaration of the Rights of the Child’ which was adopted by The League of Nations in 1924 and inspired today’s UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

Despite these achievements, which have had a worldwide impact, she is still relatively unknown.  Perhaps Marlborough’s Blue Plaque can, in some way, redress this.