Battle for Pankhurst statue to won by campaigners
A PROPOSAL to move a statue of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst off Parliament grounds to a new location has been withdrawn following a public backlash.
Westminster City Council, on Monday September 17, confirmed the application to move the statue to Regent’s University’s grounds had been withdrawn.
Women’s groups had criticised former Conservative MP Sir Neil Thorne’s trust’s proposal to move the statue from Victoria Tower Gardens, near the House of Lords, to the new site at Regent’s Park.
The Grade II-listed tribute to Pankhurst was unveiled in the gardens in 1930 and later moved to a different site on the land. The planning application from the Pankhurst Trust to move it again attracted hundreds of comments, with most decrying the proposal to move it off-site.
The application proposed for the statue to be re-located in the central forecourt of Regent’s University, in Regent Park, at the site of the former Bedford College, the first higher education college for women in the United Kingdom.
Caroline Criado Perez, who successfully campaigned to have a statue to Millicent Fawcett built on Parliament Square, had called the bid to move the Pankhurst tribute an “act of vandalism against women’s history”.
A council spokesman said Sir Neil’s other application for a statue of Pankhurst for Parliament Square Gardens remains in the planning applications process.
The local democracy reporting service was unable to reach Sir Neil or the Pankhurst Trust for comment. However, he told The Telegraph he had originally wanted to move the statue to a site A woman takes a picture of the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in Victoria Tower Gardens in Canning Green next to one of Abraham Lincoln but the council had told him the statue was too small for the location.
He added that he had withdrawn the application as the campaign to stop it being moved was applying too much pressure on the council.
“We were trying to give her a more prominent position, rather than being stuck in the corner near some bushes by the House of Lords,” Sir Neil reportedly said.