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Emmeline Pankhurst statue to be unveiled in her home city of Manchester

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On 14 December 2018, exactly 100 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.
 
Our Emmeline project
 
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.”

The Emmeline Pankhurst statue

When Emmeline is unveiled the sight will be not unlike a scene at the height of her campaigning, with her standing on 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 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.
 
Key times for Our Emmeline unveilingFriday 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

 

QUICK LINK: The life of Suffragette Jane Major

(images copyright Sue Anders Photography)

 

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