The Emmeline Pankhurst statue (affectionately known by Mancunians as ‘Our Emmeline’) was unveiled with great excitement on Friday 14 December. But it all started for me in early February, with snow on the ground. The funding gap for the statue is bridged by the Government’s Centenary Fund (Centenary Cities). Time for celebration and the signing of my contract to sculpt the full-size Emmeline. There’s no time to waste so I get straight on with building the structure of the Our Emmeline armature (see my blog which is covering the process from armature to the unveiling).
In early summer, Councillor Andrew Simcock (Chair of the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Campaign), Manchester City Council women councillors and women from the SafeSpots charity visit my studio to see the clay Our Emmeline in progress (filmed by Huckleberry Films).
The Pankhurst Meeting Circle, which will eventually encircle Our Emmeline, was unveiled on the 15 July, Emmeline’s 160th birthday.
I continue working in the studio with Sarah Jenkins, my model, until the 20 August when the foundry arrive to make the mould of Our Emmeline and her chair. On the 25 October Huckleberry Films and the BBC and Press Association joined us at Bronze Age Sculpture Casting Foundry to film the alchemy of the Our Emmeline bronze pour (by Huckleberry Films).
The statue was unveiled on the 14 December, exactly one hundred years since the first women in the UK voted in a general election. Two colourful and noisy marches started from two symbolic locations – the People’s History Museum and the Pankhurst Centre – ending up at St Peter’s Square. 6,000 people packed the Square including 1,000 schoolchildren. It was a momentous and joyous occasion. The atmosphere is beautifully captured by Huckleberry Films in this final video documenting the whole project, from start to the unveiling (23 mins).
Our Emmeline unveiled
Project background and funding
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 who all purchased a limited edition bronze maquette of Our Emmeline. This edition has now sold out. There is however a new 40cm miniature of the final Emmeline Pankhurst statue, with ten percent of the sales price supporting the Pankhurst Centre and Wythenshawe Safespots.