Historic england to record memorials to the less known culture the guardian best inspirational quotes for life

Memorials to those whose names never left more than the lightest impression on history, commemorated by paintings on walls, plaques on park benches, or a posy of flowers left on tombstones worn into illegibility, are to be recorded in a project by historic england.

The immortalised project, which launches on monday, will involve the public in recording not just the memorials, but the local ceremonies and rituals associated with them, including the flowers left every year on alan turing’s birthday at the statue in manchester honouring the scientist.

Flowers also appear every year at the foot of oliver cromwell’s statue in westminster and nearby at the gates of the banqueting house in whitehall where charles I was executed.

Contemporary memorials already noted by the researchers for historic england include the shrines that invariably spring up within hours of a fatal accident or terrorist attack, and an installation made of spoons on a wall at mount pleasant in london believed to commemorate dead heroin users.Historic england

A yougov survey for historic england, as part of the project, suggests that one in seven woman and one in 10 men have created some form of memorial themselves.

Historical monuments include a 19th-century statue in a dorset marketplace to an 18th-century woman, ruth pearce, who, according to local legend, cheated a trader, then exclaimed when challenged that god might strike her dead if she was in the wrong – and was promptly killed by lightning.

A memorial far from the sea in telford, inscribed with the words “nothing great is easy”, commemorates capt matthew webb, who is recognised as the first man to swim across the channel. He learned to swim in the nearby river severn before mastering the channel in 1875 coated in porpoise oil and fuelled by slugs of brandy administered by members from his support party travelling in a small boat. He drowned eight years later attempting to swim the rapids below niagara falls.Historic england

More recent political memorials include the huge gable-end mural in the east end of london that celebrates the battle of cable street, when local people joined socialist, jewish and irish groups in 1935 to prevent a fascist march coming through the area. The mural was begun in 1979 and completed in 1983, but recently needed major restoration work after repeated vandalism by far-right groups.

A pedestrian bridge in bristol, designed in 1999 by the irish artist eilis O’connell, was named in honour of pero jones, who came to the city in 1783 with slaveowners the pinney family from their caribbean plantation where he had worked after being bought at the age of 12.

Facebook twitter pinterest there have been increasing calls for the removal of the statue of cecil rhodes from oriel college, oxford. Photograph: steve parsons/PA

The historic england project will seek out memorials to under-represented groups, including women, black and minority ethnic as well as working-class figures.Every year the yougov survey also found that a fifth of young people do not believe conventional memorials genuinely represent those who have made significant achievements.

Duncan wilson, the chief executive of historic england, said: “we are creatures of memory and every generation has commemorated people in the built environment. Their stories may involve episodes of heroism or generosity and be inspirational or they may involve episodes which are shameful by today’s standards. They all tell us something about the lives of our ancestors.”