Dawn Butler MP is the newest recipient to be honoured with a blue plaque as part of Waltham Forest’s ’Pick our Plaques’ scheme.

The former Leytonstone resident unveiled the sign that was placed on the former bakery owned and run by her father during her childhood and teenage years.

It was in the borough that the Labour MP, who represents Brent Central, first learned the art of politics when she started working in the shop, Butler’s Bakery, aged 13.

Ms Butler, who went on to become the first African-Caribbean woman to ever speak at the Despatch Box in the House of Commons, was chosen under the council’s Pick our Plaques scheme, which was launched in Summer 2019 as part of the Great Place project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England.

The public were asked to nominate local heroes with a connection to the borough that they thought should receive the distinction.

The initiative aims to connect and inspire local people to notable events and significant former residents who have enhanced the reputation of the borough.

Ms Butler said: “It is a wonderful and not something I was expecting. It’s nice to think that it has been put on a building that means so much to me and it will still be there when I’m gone.

“But this isn’t just for me, it’s for my father and all the hard work he did living for the community.

“Hopefully local people will see this and realise that you don’t have to have gone to Oxford to make history.

“My dad was one of the Windrush generation, he was a musician both a singer and keyboard player but he also cut hair, and then did a bit of baking.”

The bakery was a family affair, with everyone playing a part in making the bread (with a 3am start) and running the shop.

And it was here that Ms Butler started learning about politics: “The bakery was a community hub. That’s where I would debate with the customers.

“Because the days were so long, mum and dad worked different hours but I always remember, even from a very early age, that they always took time to vote together.

“It was very important to them and they would go to the polling station holding hands.

Councillor Elizabeth Baptiste, Mayor of Waltham Forest, said: “Blue plaques are an important way of reminding us of the achievements of past residents.

“They show us what is possible on the streets where we live and that great things can happen on our own doorstep.

“Dawn’s story of working in a local shop is the lived experience of many young people and she showed just what she could achieve using that as a springboard.

“Hopefully it will inspire more of our young people to follow their dreams.” Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, who had to miss the unveiling because of other commitments, said: “Dawn is one of the most talented and committed people I have encountered in politics.

“We have been friends for many years and I know her devotion to public service is one she inherited from her family. She is passionate about community and an inspiration to many Londoners and I am so proud to see her honoured in this way.”