Manchester

Emmeline Pankhurst: Chosen suffragette statue will 'inspire women'

Helen Pankhurst and Hazel Reeves with Emmeline Pankhurst statue maquette Image copyright Fido PR
Image caption Helen Pankhurst (l) said Hazel Reeves' work was "simple yet very powerful"

A new statue of Emmeline Pankhurst will "inspire women to rise up and demand their rights", its creator has said.

Hazel Reeves' work will stand in Manchester's St Peter's Square and depicts the suffragette leader making a speech while standing on a chair.

It was chosen from six possible designs by a committee after a public vote.

Helen Pankhurst, Emmeline's great granddaughter, said it was a "simple yet very powerful evocation of one of the most iconic women in history".

The statue will be unveiled on 8 March 2019 to mark International Women's Day.

Ms Reeves said it was "long overdue in this city with a rich history of women's activism".


Emmeline Pankhurst

Image copyright Getty Images
  • Emmeline Goulden was born on 14 July 1858 in Manchester into a family of radicals. She married Richard Pankhurst, a lawyer and supporter of votes for women, in 1879
  • Following Richard's death, she founded an organisation campaigning for married women to be allowed to vote in local elections, and in October 1903, she helped found the Women's Social and Political Union
  • The WSPU gained notoriety for its activities and its members were the first to be called 'suffragettes' - politicians, press and the public were astonished by their demonstrations, window smashing, arson and hunger strikes
  • In 1918, the Representation of the People Act gave votes to women over 30. Emmeline died on 14 June 1928, shortly after women were granted equal voting rights with men (at 21)

Source: BBC History


She said her design depicted Pankhurst "as the courageous, determined and dignified activist".

"In 2019, she will be back on Manchester's streets, continuing to inspire women to rise up and demand their rights," she said.

The privately-funded statue will be the city's second with a female subject, with the other being a sculpture of Queen Victoria in Piccadilly Gardens.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Emmeline's Manchester home, where the WSPU began, is now a women's community centre

Andrew Simcock, who chaired the campaign fighting for the statue, said the lack of women had sparked people into action.

"As a radical city with a history of strong female figures, it is wrong that our public art does not reflect this part of Manchester's heritage," he said.

He added when they had been searching for a subject, the public had "voted overwhelmingly" for a statue of Pankhurst.

It will be the second statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in the UK, as a memorial to her and her daughter Christobel, who was also an activist, stands in London's Victoria Tower Gardens, close to the Palace of Westminster.

Ms Reeves has previously created a number of public statues, including depictions of railway engineer Sir Nigel Gresley at London's King's Cross Station and Sadako Sasaki, who survived the Hiroshima atomic blast before later dying of cancer.

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