Manchester City Council gives planning permission for the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue
Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Campaign
Planning permission for the Emmeline Pankhurst statue has been granted by Manchester City Council Planning Committee during an historic meeting held on 8 February 2018. This means that the statue, the design for which is the work of sculptor Hazel Reeves, will now be created and unveiled in 2018, the centenary year of the first women getting the right to vote.
In a project that has sought representation and engagement at every stage, it was eleven year old Fatima Shahid, a pupil at Newall Green Primary School in Wythenshawe, who spoke on behalf of the Emmeline Pankhurst statue.
Andrew Simcock, Chair of the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Campaign, says, Emmeline Pankhurst’s statue will represent her story and use her legacy to inspire people, particularly young people, which judging by the response from schools such as Newall Green Primary is already starting to take place. We wanted to carry forward this spirit and break with tradition by inviting a young person to speak in the council chambers about what this project means to them and Fatima’s words captured this perfectly.”
Fatima Shahid, speaking to Manchester City Council Planning Committee, said,
“Hello, my name is Fatima and I’m a year 6 student from Newall Green Primary School in Wythenshawe. I’m honoured and pleased to be invited here today to represent the children from my school and to show support for Hazel Reeves’ design for the Emmeline Pankhurst statue.
“We first got to hear about this project in March last year from Miss Monaghan, a Manchester councillor and teaching assistant at our school. We had an assembly, where we found out more about Councillor Simcock’s idea to change the history of Manchester.
“The fact that we only had one female statue, Queen Victoria, and sixteen male statues, seemed very wrong and unfair to us. I’m glad that’s about to change!
“We learnt about Emmeline Pankhurst, a Manchester woman who did such a lot for the people of our great city. She wanted to improve the lives of women and girls in Manchester. Through her hard work and determination things started to change for the better for the people she cared so much about.
“We did a survey to decide which of the six statues we liked best. We asked a total of 339 members of our school community, including some staff members.
“We were impressed with all of the statues, it’s a shame we can’t have them all! However, Hazel’s design was the most popular and gained a total of 84 of the 339 votes. I’m proud that our school had the opportunity to be part of this project and to vote on the winning statue. We will now be part of history too.
“Having this statue in Manchester shows the rest of the country that we are a fair and modern city. I look forward to next year when I can visit the city centre and call to see Emmeline and say hello.
“Then, in years to come, I can bring my children and my grandchildren and tell them Emmeline’s story and tell them how I had a say in her statue being here. There is still lots to do to make life more equal for men and women.
“Emmeline Pankhurst made change possible. Since then, our parents, grandparents and great grandparents have been working hard to carry on her vision and her principles.
“And my generation will make sure we have a truly equal world.”
Head of Newall Green Primary School, Ruth Perry, says, “We are delighted to be involved with Manchester City Council in the planning application for the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst. Newall Green Primary is a Peacemala accredited school, so we strive to teach and model equality to our children from an early age. We encourage them to celebrate people’s characters, actions and achievements, and to be proud of their city.”
Responding to the planning committee news Andrew Simcock says, “After almost four years of work on the project to create a statue of a woman of significance to Manchester I am delighted that we have reached this next important milestone. We began with the support of people for the project’s vision, whether they voted or sponsored our early fundraising efforts. Then thanks to a combination of support from the Government’s Centenary Cities project and partners that include Property Alliance and Manchester Airport the funding was secured. On 6 February, the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, the Prime Minister Theresa May was shown a maquette of the design when she met with Helen Pankhurst’s great grand-daughter Helen Pankhurst. Today we are overjoyed not only to have the endorsement of Manchester City Council’s Planning Committee, but that in achieving it we have done so led by the inspirational words of Fatima Shahid.”
With the planning permission in place the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst, Rise Up Women designed by Hazel Reeves, will be unveiled on 14 December – the 100th anniversary of some women voting for the first time in a UK General Election. Prior to this, during July 2018 the meeting circle on which the statue will stand will be unveiled.
For further information on the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Campaign visit www.womanchesterstatue.org.