Statue of suffragette Emmeline is a step closer to square
IT’S our Emmeline – and she’s a step closer to taking pride of place in the democratic heart of Manchester once more.
Sculptor Hazel Reeves’ landmark tribute to the iconic suffragette leader has finally been finished in clay, with the process to cast her into bronze now due to start.
Balancing on a chair with one hand outstretched, demanding votes for women at a rally, Emmeline will stand proud in St Peter’s Square from December.
Hazel, who has spent eight months crafting the work in her West Sussex studio, said: “It’s been an exhausting yet exhilarating process.
“But when I needed some extra energy I just thought of Emmeline and borrowed a little of her courage and determination.
“I felt such a responsibility to produce a statue that would make Emmeline proud and make the people of Manchester proud.
“It’s a great feeling to see things starting to really come together, to see Emmeline coming to life in the studio before my eyes.
“It will be amazing to have Emmeline back in Manchester, inspiring new generations of women to rise up and demand their rights and demand equality.”
The statue’s creation has been a painstaking process – Hazel started work in January.
A bronze maquette – a smaller, guide statue – came first before the creation of a metal outline framework onto which more than half a tonne of clay was moulded.
Intricacies included Emmeline’s famous coat and trademark hat.
The chair she will stand on has now also been completed in clay.
A rubber mould of the clay work will now be made before the casting process begins.
A life model has also been used by Hazel for authenticity, particularly with Emmeline’s hands and other features.
A stone circle, including a wall which says ‘Rise Up Women’ in St Peter’s Square, inside which the 8ft statue will sit, was unveiled on what would have been Moss Sideborn Emmeline’s 160th birthday in July.
The grand unveiling opposite Manchester Central Library is set for December 14 – marking the centenary of the first time women voted in a British General Election.
Emmeline will face out towards the Free Trade Hall, a venue for radical suffragette campaigning in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and which in 1868 hosted the first public meeting addressing the issue.
After a public vote on a shortlist of 20 legendary Mancunian women, Emmeline was selected as the female most deserving of a permanent memorial.
The finished clay statue of Emmeline Pankhurst and, below left, sculptor Hazel Reeves