The Cambridge & District Blue Plaques Scheme is run by local charity Cambridge Past Present & Future. However sometimes blue plaques are put up by other organisations that are not part of this official scheme. You can easily tell because the blue plaque won't have the crest of either the City Council or South Cambridge District Council. Whilst we are not responsible for these plaques we felt it might be helpful for people to be aware of them. The blue plaque for Syd Barrett is one of these and was put up by the BBC as part of a national initiative.

On June 9, 2017, a Blue Plaque for Syd Barrett was unveiled at Anglia Ruskin University on their original arts building by his sister, Rosemary Breen, who said that Syd would “have loved it.” The plaque is located inside the university but can be visited when the University is open. Click here for information about the plaque unveiling.

Roger Keith “Syd” Barrett, was born on 6 January 1946 in Cambridge, the fourth of five children. His parents Max and Winifred Barrett actively encouraged his music and art interests from an early age. He picked up the nickname ‘Syd’ during his attendance at the Cambridgeshire High School for Boys on Hills Road, which was the name he used until the 1970s, before reverting back to his original Roger.

Syd was co-founder of the rock band Pink Floyd along with Roger Waters, who he knew from his Cambridge primary school, and David Gilmour, a fellow former Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology student he had met as a teenager. During his time at the college (now part of the Cambridge School of Art and Anglia Ruskin University) Syd had become known on the local music scene, and following his move to London to attend the Camberwell Art College, Pink Floyd was formed in 1965. The band was one of the first British psychedelic groups, achieving worldwide acclaim and distinguished by their extended compositions, sonic experimentation, philosophical lyrics and elaborate live shows, with Syd as their creative innovator.

Pink Floyd’s debut album ‘The Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ was released in August 1967. Mostly composed by Syd, it is counted as one of the greatest British psychedelic albums. However, around the same time, Syd had started to exhibit serious mental health issues, largely attributed to the use of psychedelic drugs. His behaviour became more and more erratic, and along with various particularly troublesome USA performances, Syd and Pink Floyd parted company in March 1968.

Syd continued as a solo artist, releasing two albums - ‘The Madcap Laughs’ in January 1970 along with ‘Barrett’ in November the same year. Syd’s musical activity during this time was largely studio-based, with his last solo appearance on John Peel’s BBC radio programme in February 1970. In August 1974 Syd withdrew from the music industry, returning to live as a recluse in Cambridge and a life of painting.

Roger ‘Syd’ Barrett died of pancreatic cancer on July 7, 2006 at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. His music has influenced scores of musicians over the years and in 2010 EMI Records released a new collection of tracks on the album ‘An Introduction to Syd Barrett’. In 2011 the book ‘Barrett, The Definitive Visual Companion’ was published by Essential Works, which provides a comprehensive study of Syd as an artist.