Plaque is speaking the right language

Dr John Foster (right) speaking during the ceremony for the Blue Plaques in honour of  Barnsley born James Hudson Tayor the 19th century missionary credited with taking Christianity to China 'See Story ???????  Picture by Chris Lawton    21th May   2012
Dr John Foster (right) speaking during the ceremony for the Blue Plaques in honour of Barnsley born James Hudson Tayor the 19th century missionary credited with taking Christianity to China 'See Story ??????? Picture by Chris Lawton 21th May 2012
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BLUE plaques marking notable birthplaces are commonplace these days - but a ceremony in South Yorkshire marked the unveiling of a commemorative notice with a difference.

Two plaques have been put up in Barnsley in honour of missionary James Hudson Taylor, who took Christianity to China in the mid-19th century - and fittingly, a sign has been provided written in Chinese as well as one in English.

Crowds turned out in the town centre to watch the unveiling ceremony.

Taylor set out from Barnsley to the Far East aged 21 and immersed himself in Chinese culture, living in the country for half a century.

He was unique among his peers in adopting Chinese dress and learning their language to assist with his work.

The plaques have been fixed to the wall of Barnsley’s Boots store on Albert Street East, on the site of an apothecary’s owned by the missionary’s father, following a campaign by The James Hudson Taylor Group.

Dr John Foster, the group’s chairman, said the society was ‘very proud’ of Taylor’s achievements.

“The organisation he founded has influenced the lives of well over 100 million people - the Christian message is Barnsley’s biggest export.

“He was 21 years old when he first went to China, a young man of great courage.

“He’s an inspiration for young people everywhere.”

Dr Foster added: “Barnsley has a unique place in history and in the hearts of hundreds of millions of people - we Barnsley folk don’t fully appreciate what we have on our doorstep.”

Work has now started on the creation of a walking trail which will take in some of the key locations linked to Taylor’s early life in Barnsley.

It is hoped the work may attract new tourists to the town in future.