Manchester Metropolitan University

Thousands march to witness the unveiling of a new Emmeline Pankhurst statue

Staff and students joined one of two marches celebrating the unveiling of 'Our Emmeline' in the centre of Manchester

The Emmeline Pankhurst statue in St Peter's Square, Manchester

The Emmeline Pankhurst statue in St Peter's Square, Manchester

Led by 18 female professors from across the University, Manchester Metropolitan staff and students gathered in All Saints Park on Friday, December 14, to join an official march to the launch of a new statue of Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

The statue of Emmeline, unveiled in her home city of Manchester, marked the culmination of a campaign to celebrate the significant contribution of women to the city and took place exactly 100 years since women voted in a UK General Election for the first time.

Throughout 2018, Manchester Metropolitan’s Sylvia Pankhurst Gender and Diversity Research Centre has been celebrating the centenary with a series of events and seminars.

On the day of the unveiling, staff and researchers from the centre joined over 50 staff and students in All Saints Park, at the heart of the University’s All Saints campus, to listen to a specially commissioned song by singer-songwriter Claire Mooney before joining an official march from Oxford Road to the statue in St Peter’s Square.

Local singer-songwriter Claire Mooney in All Saints Park

The march began at the Pankhurst Centre, the former home of Emmeline and the birthplace of the Suffragette movement, at the same time as a another group of hundreds of marchers set off from the People’s History Museum, the national museum of democracy, at the opposite side of Manchester’s city centre. 

The new statue, designed by sculptor Hazel Reeves with funding from corporate sponsors, depicts Emmeline Pankhurst standing on a chair and delivering a speech, facing out towards the Free Trade Hall in St Peter’s Square where the first meetings of the Suffragettes took place.

Dr Helen Pankhurst, a Visiting Professor at Manchester Metropolitan and the great granddaughter of Emmeline, said: “Our Emmeline is not only a wonderful tribute to the life and work of Emmeline Pankhurst, but is also an incredible legacy to the suffragette movement and the role of Manchester’s women in campaigning for the vote. 

“That she should be unveiled exactly 100 years since the day some women first went to the polls and a few first stood as MPs in a UK election is especially poignant. I hope that Our Emmeline inspires all those who are now helping to continue the ongoing journey towards achieving equality.”

Andrew Simcock, Chair of the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Committee, added: “This has been a project that, from the beginning, has been driven by people and I’m delighted that so many people came together to celebrate both Emmeline and her legacy and the essence of Manchester as a place of progression, inclusivity and ground-breaking ideas.”

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