Stat­ues of lim­i­ta­tion

Uxbridge Gazette - - News - By TALIA SHADWELL Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

COUNT­LESS stat­ues com­mem­o­rat­ing his­tor­i­cal fig­ures dot the streets of Lon­don. But there is a con­spic­u­ous ab­sence from the cap­i­tal’s bronze, mar­ble and stone pop­u­la­tion, City de­ci­sion-mak­ers have heard.

Aside from a “few old queens,” there are very few mon­u­ments to women in the city, com­mon coun­cil­man Ed­ward Lord says.

He pro­posed to the City of Lon­don’s Court of Com­mon Coun­cil on Thurs­day June 21 that stat­ues of his­toric fe­male fig­ure­heads from the City of Lon­don’s his­tory be erected in the Square Mile.

He noted the irony that the de­cid­ing votes would be cast by a coun­cil sit­ting at Lon­don’s Guild­hall that is in 2018 four-fifths male.

Cllr Lord pro­posed the stat­ues should be com­mis­sioned to mark this year’s Suf­fragette cen­te­nary, mark­ing 100 years since the move­ment won some women their right to vote.

He noted re­search this year showed there were more “Steves” and “Davids” lead­ing FTSE 100 com­pa­nies than there were women or eth­nic mi­nori­ties at the helm.

“One ques­tions whether if the suf­fragettes with us still to­day, whether they would be sat­is­fied of the out­comes since they led 100 years ago,” Cllr Lord said. “I sus­pect they would not.”

He pro­posed the Cor­po­ra­tion pay for stat­ues of pi­o­neer­ing po­lit­i­cal women from its past.

“Those were women who did not find it easy to find it easy to get to the roles they had,” he said.

He sug­gested one should be of Ed­wina Coven, the City’s first fe­male chief com­moner in 1987, who he said should re­ally have been first fe­male Lord Mayor.

She was elected to rep­re­sent her ward as Al­der­man three times.

Three times the Court of Aldermen ve­toed the ap­point­ment, Cllr Lord said.

“This is re­cent his­tory, that is the late 1970s – that is not some­thing that hap­pened 50 to 100 years ago,” he said.

Com­mon coun­cil­man Anne Fair­weather ad­dressed his propo­si­tion, say­ing she sup­ported the con­cept of more pub­lic com­mem­o­ra­tions of women, but: added “I don’t think a ma­jor­ity of men should ap­prove how we cel­e­brate women’s his­tory in this city.”

Turner Prize-win­ning artist Gillian Wear­ing’s memo­rial of Suf­frag­ist Mil­li­cent Fawcett was erected this year, be­com­ing the first statue of a woman in Par­lia­ment Square.

Cllr Fair­weather said his­to­ri­ans should be con­sulted and noted women had traded in Lon­don’s heart for hun­dreds of years, in goods like fish, silk and ales.

“You only have to walk through the Guild­hall food hall to see what to­day’s city work­ers look like… we need to be open and more di­verse in what we are do­ing,” she said.

The coun­cil voted to ap­prove Cllr Lord’s pro­posal, and moved Cllr Free­man’s amend­ment that it in­clude “other de­pic­tions” to in­ves­ti­gate op­tions be­yond stat­ues.


Pi­o­neer­ing – a mon­u­ment to Suf­frag­ist and cam­paigner Mil­li­cent Fawcett was un­veiled in Par­lia­ment Square in April, join­ing 11 male stat­ues in the square

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