Our Emmeline bronze pour
25 October 2018
Manchester’s Our Emmeline statue is reaching its final stages, and certainly one of the most visually impactful; the moment of the ‘pour’, when molten bronze reaching temperatures of 1200 degrees centigrade is poured.
Each step of the traditional ‘lost wax’ bronze casting – a 6000-year old process – will be overseen by the skilled craft workers of Bronze Age Sculpture Casting Foundry in London.
After months of detailed work in clay by Hazel Reeves, working with model Sarah Jenkins, the visually arresting moment of the ‘pour’ will take place over just a few minutes.
How did we get to this point? At Hazel’s studio in Sussex the Foundry team created rubber moulds of the clay figure of Emmeline and the chair on which she will stand. Once shipped up to London, wax was cast into the moulds to create a hollow wax version of Our Emmeline. Hazel then worked alongside the team to ensure the wax was ready to be encased, inside and out, with a hard ‘ceramic shell’. Once the wax melts away the void that remains is filled with up to 300kg of glowing molten bronze, making an exact replica of Our Emmeline. The bronze is left to cool overnight before the removal of the ceramic shell.
It then won’t be long until Our Emmeline makes her way to her home town of Manchester, for her unveiling which will symbolically take place on Friday 14 December 2018 to mark 100 years since the first women voted in a UK General Election, connecting her story and legacy to this historical occasion.
The 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 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 Equalities Office grant centenary fund and individual Gold Sponsors Edwina Wolstencroft, Dennis Morgan, Mr and Mrs Gosztony, Laura and Peter Carstensen, Pauline and Michael Underdown and Andrew Simcock himself, who all purchased one of a limited edition of Hazel Reeves’ bronze maquette.
For further information on the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Campaign visit: www.womanchesterstatue.org.