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On Friday 14 December 2018, exactly one hundred years since the first women in the UK voted in a General Election, a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst will be unveiled in her home city of Manchester.  This will be the climax to a year in which the city began by marking the centenary of the first women achieving the right to vote and throughout has explored its radical roots and central role in both the suffragette and suffragist movements.

That it should be a figure of Emmeline that takes her place amongst the city’s statues was a public choice and it is the public that will be at the heart of this historical unveiling.  It will be a day that everyone is invited to participate in that will embrace, bring together and welcome all those who have supported the Our Emmeline project.

Hazel Reeves - Rise Up Women, Photo Credit: Sue Anders Photography

Emmeline’s great grand-daughter Helen Pankhurst had the vision this should be an occasion that sees people gather from across Greater Manchester to march to meet Our Emmeline.  To reflect this, two symbolic meeting points have been selected; the Pankhurst Centre, the former home of Emmeline Pankhurst and the birthplace of the suffragette movement; and People’s History Museum, the national museum of democracy.  Marchers are invited to meet at these points, or along the route, before converging at St Peter’s Square to greet Our Emmeline.

Andrew Simcock, Chair of the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Committee, said, “Helen Pankhurst’s vision and all those involved in this project have inspired what will take place on the day; this will be a coming together of people to celebrate Emmeline and her legacy and to also celebrate the essence of Manchester, as a place of progression, inclusivity and groundbreaking ideas.”

Gail Heath, Chief Executive of the Pankhurst Trust, says, “2018 has been a year that has inspired all of us who are working to carry forward the legacy of those who have fought for equality and it will be wonderful to end the year with such a celebratory and poignant moment.”

Katy Ashton, Director of People’s History Museum, says, “That this significant chapter in the history of our democracy should be marked by an event of the people says much about the spirit of Manchester, and we are delighted to be playing our part in this momentous occasion.”

Marchers and those gathering in St Peter’s Square will be welcomed by the uplifting voices of Manchester Community Choir before hearing from Councillor Andrew Simcock, Helen Pankhurst and sculptor Hazel Reeves, who will share the story of Our Emmeline.  Also present will be the Minister for Equalities Baroness Williams, Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor June Hitchen and Manchester City Council Lead Member for Women, Councillor Sarah Judge.

Hazel Reeves - Rise Up Women, Photo Credit: Sue Anders Photography

When Emmeline is unveiled the sight will be not unlike a scene at the height of her campaigning, with her stood aloft a chair to address those gathered to hear her words.  In Hazel Reeves’ design, the meeting circle in which Emmeline is stood, is symbolically orientated towards the former Free Trade Hall, where the first disruptive meetings of the suffragettes took place.  

The historical unveiling of Emmeline Pankhurst’s statue will be the first of a woman in Manchester since Queen Victoria was unveiled in Piccadilly Gardens in 1901.  Emmeline Pankhurst was selected as the public’s chosen female icon to be immortalised as a statue from a long list of 20 inspiring Mancunian females.  As well as voting for Emmeline, the public also voted for Hazel Reeves’ 'Rise up, women' as the winning design from a short list of six maquettes.  The unveiling on 14 December 2018 will be the culmination of a campaign launched in 2014 to celebrate the significant contribution of women to the city.

The project was conceived, and has been led and directed by Councillor Andrew Simcock, Chair of the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Campaign.  Funding has come from Corporate Sponsors Property Alliance Group and Manchester Airport Group, the Government’s Centenary Fund (Centenary Cities) and individual Gold Sponsors Edwina Wolstencroft, Dennis Morgan, Sue and Stephen Gosztony, Laura and Peter Carstensen, Pauline and Michael Underdown and Andrew Simcock himself, who all purchased a limited edition bronze maquette of Our Emmeline.

Key times for Our Emmeline unveiling, Friday 14 December 2018, Manchester

10:30am Marchers gather at Pankhurst Centre and People’s History Museum

11:00am Marchers set off from Pankhurst Centre and People’s History Museum

11:15am Screenings to commence, including a film of the making of Our Emmeline, in St Peter’s Square

11:45am Marchers arrive at St Peter’s Square

12noon Unveiling to commence

1:30pm Finish

For further information on the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Campaign and full details on the programme and timings for 14 December 2018 visit: www.womanchesterstatue.org.

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Unveiling of the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst
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Unveiling of the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst

A landmark statue of Manchester icon Emmeline Pankhurst will be unveiled in St Peter’s Square - to mark the 100th anniversary of women first voting.

1 Comments

Comments

  1. David Topham
    That universal suffrage is still relatively recent history in a country that is a bedrock of democracy , it should not surprise us that it is taking a tad longer in some parts of the world. That we remember and recognise those who made that struggle possible, is a credit to Manchester, and those behind this important memorial.

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