Image copyright English Heritage Image caption Marcus Garvey and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor both have plaques

At the same time a blue plaque was unveiled to mark the childhood home of football legend Laurie Cunningham it was revealed that in London, just 4% of the plaques honour black or Asian luminaries. But in such an ethnically diverse city, why are there so little?

According to the Office of National Statistics, London has above-average ethnic minority populations for the UK. These include African( 7 %), Indian( 6.6% ), and Caribbean( 4.2% ).

But there is not a proportional number of plaques and English Heritage has decided to take action.

Gus Casely-Hayford, a curator and cultural historian with Ghanaian roots, has been appointed the leader of a working group to try to redress the balance.

It will not award plaques itself, but will look for Asian and black candidates to put before the selection panel, which grants merely 12 plaques a year.

Image copyright Pictorial Press Ltd/ Alamy Image caption Singer Elisabeth Welch lived at Flat 1 Ovington Court, simply off the Brompton Road from 1933 until about 1936. She's pictured here in 1961

Dr Casely-Hayford tells London is an “ethnic melting pot”.

“We are connected through language, culture, political alliance and economic partnership to every part of the world, ” he says. “And peoples from places that we have touched, have found their style here, to not just induce London their home, but to stimulate London and this country what it is.

“We want to celebrate that rich, complex, sometimes difficult history, through the lives of those that truly made it.”

Although the blue plaque scheme was set up in 1866, it was not until 1954 that the first to honor a notable figure of minority ethnic origin was installed – to Mahatma Gandhi.

Other black and Asian people who have English Heritage plaques include Jamaican Crimea War nurse Mary Seacole, Chinese writer Lao She, Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore, and American guitarist and song-writer Jimi Hendrix.

There are a variety of reasons for such a small proportion of plaques being for blacks and Asians, English Heritage says.

How to get a blue plaque

Image copyright English Heritage/ National Portrait Museum Image caption Ira Aldridge was the first black performer to play Othello on a West End stage. Mary Seacole was a nurse in the Crimean War

The scheme celebrates the link between significant figures of the past and the buildings in which they lived and ran. Here are the criteria 😛 TAGEND They should be regarded as eminent within their own profession or calling Their achievements should have made an exceptional impact in terms of public recognition or their achievements deserve national recognition They must have been dead for 20 years They should have lived in London for a significant period The London building in which they lived or worked should still survive and must not have a significantly altered exterior The building must be within Greater London but outside the City of London, which has its own strategy Buildings with many personal associations, such as churches, schools and theatres, are not ordinarily considered under plaques Image caption Laurie Cunningham, who was the first British footballer to play for Real Madrid, was honoured with a blue plaque last week Image caption Jayaben Desai, pictured in 2001 and 1977, could be a candidate for a plaque in the future Image caption Jimi Hendrix, pictured in 1967, is one of the 33 black or Asian people to have a blue plaque in London Image caption Indian poet and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore pictured in London in 1921 Image caption Ignatius Sancho had a stamp in his accolade but not a blue plaque