Black British Civil Rights trailblazer honoured with blue plaque on LSBU building

11 April 2023

A London blue plaque has been unveiled to Black British Civil Rights trailblazer and medical pioneer, Dr Cecil Belfield Clarke.

Dr Cecil Belfield Clarke:

  • Came to Britain from Barbados in September 1914 with a scholarship to study at Cambridge University. After he graduated from Cambridge he founded a GP surgery at 112 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle in 1920. The surgery was kept open to the public after it was bombed and badly damaged in World War Two and served the local community for 45 years until his retirement in 1965.
  • Helped to develop Clark's Rule, a mathematical formula used to calculate the proper dosage of medicine for children aged 2–17.
  • Established the League of Coloured Peoples in 1931, alongside Jamaican doctor Harold Moody and others who fought for racial equality in housing, healthcare, childcare and successfully challenged the colour bar in Britain’s military.

The plaque honouring Dr Cecil Belfield Clarke is supported by the BMA, British Medical Journal, London South Bank University (LSBU), Cambridge University and Barbados government who all attend the plaque unveiling on 12th April. The plaque is located at the junction of Newington Causeway and Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 – where Dr Cecil Belfield Clarke’s surgery was based for 45 years.

The Nubian Jak Community Trust in partnership with LSBU unveiled a London blue heritage plaque at the site of Dr Cecil Belfield Clarke’s former surgery which is now a building owned by LSBU. The plaque is championed and sponsored by and is part of their ongoing collaboration with to combat the severe lack of historic blue plaques to Black people.

Rachel Picton, Dean of the School of Allied Health and Community Health, said,

“LSBU strongly supports the campaign run by the Nubian Jak Community Trust and Black History Walks to honour Dr Cecil Belfield Clarke with a blue plaque at the site of his former surgery which is now a university building. ”

“Dr Cecil Belfield Clarke’s life is an incredible story of service to others, from his surgery which treated thousands of people in Elephant and Castle area to the mathematical formula he helped  develop that calculates the right medicine dose for children and is still used today.

“I am delighted we now have a blue plaque to honour the huge contribution Dr Cecil Belfield Clarke made to medicine and to the health of the communities in Elephant and Castle who were served by his surgery for over 45 years.”