Sir Isaiah Berlin was a naturalised British philosopher, political theorist and historian of ideas who was noted for his writings on political philosophy and the concept of liberty. He is regarded as of the founders of the discipline now known as intellectual history. He was born in 1909 in Riga, Latvia which was then part of the Russian Empire. At the age of 6 he witnessed the February and October Revolutions of 1917 from his apartment window and from city walks with his governess in Petrograd. At the age of seven he saw a sniper being dragged to his death by a mob, which instilled in him a permanent horror of violence.
The family return to Riga in 1920, but ongoing problems with antisemitism and the Latvian authorities precipitated their departure, and the family moved to Britain in early 1921. First living in Surbiton, then Kensington, and finally 49 Hollycroft Avenue in Hampstead.
Educated at St. Paul’s School, on a scholarship, then Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He went onto become one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century, being appointed a CBE in 1946, knighted in 1957 and then personally honoured by Queen Elizabeth with the Order of Merit in 1971.
This plaque was unveiled in May 2022 by his stepson Peter Halban.