This Suffragette Has Just Been Honoured With a Statue in Northern England
She died after being trampled by King George V’s horse.
The women's suffrage movement was an unstoppable force when they fought for women’s right to vote.
And in 2018 — 100 years on from their historic success — the movement’s most iconic leaders live on as immovable objects, cast in bronze and steel.
From the statue of Millicent Fawcett erected in Parliament Square to outcry against the move of Emmeline Pankhurst away from Westminster, it’s been a big year of commemoration and celebration.
And now another legendary figure in the movement has been immortalised in art.
A statue of suffragette Emily Davison was unveiled in Morpeth, Northumberland, on Tuesday.
The lifesize replica was created by sculptor Ray Lonsdale — and will be permanently installed in Carlisle Park with an educational walking trail to help tourists and young people learn more about her connections to the town, according to the Guardian.
Although born in London, Davison moved to Morpeth to live with her family. After joining Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union in 1906, she reportedly went on hunger strike 49 times — and was detained on nine occasions.
Proud day for @HGPSnthumberlnd today as we took part in the unveiling of Emily Davison’s statue in Morpeth. Our mural is now proudly on display right next to her! @NorthumberIand@GenderCharter@PrimaryRocks1#smashingstereotypespic.twitter.com/tOc725dWNH— Horton Grange (@HGPSnthumberlnd) September 11, 2018
“Emily Davison was a true local hero who helped bring about votes for women and it is right that we recognise her achievements — especially in this centenary year,” said Glen Sanderson, a member of Longhorsley county council. “Ray Lonsdale is well known for his distinctive and thought-provoking work, which has achieved international acclaim.”
Davison was killed in 1913 at the Epsom Derby after she stormed the racetrack and was trampled by King George V’s horse.
Five years after her death, the 1918 Representation of the People Act was passed to grant some women the right to vote. At first only women over 30 who owned property were permitted to vote — it took another decade before women won voting rights equal to those of men in 1928.
And 100 years later, the women who defined the struggle have been celebrated — and defended — all over the country.
Great to be at Carlisle park for the unveiling of the statue of Emily Wilding Davison by Ron Lonsdale. Emotional and inspiring as we work on our new piece #deedsnotwordstour We think it captures her spirit and got a 👍 from Jamie for votes for women! #emilydavison#deedsnotwordspic.twitter.com/bni7DFkyxz— Abbott Dance Theatre (@abbottdance) September 11, 2018
Earlier this year, Millicent Fawcett became the first woman to be honoured with a statue in Parliament Square. It was designed by Gillian Wearing — the first woman to have a sculpture featured in the square, too.
The achievement was part of a campaign led by activist Caroline Criado-Perez that attracted 85,000 signatures to a petition supported by the likes of Emma Watson and J.K. Rowling. The statue was unveiled by Theresa May on April 24.
It was then reported in August that a separate statue of Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel was set to be moved from outside the Palace of Westminster to the private Regent’s University.
The statue was first erected in 1930 by Stanley Baldwin, a prime minister who opposed giving women the vote — after suffragettes came together to fund it as a memorial to Pankhurst who died two years earlier. And 88 years later, former Conservative MP Sir Neil Thorne is attempting to “dismantle” and “remove” it.
Criado-Perez joined calls to object to the move, describing it as an “act of vandalism against women’s history.”
Statue of suffragette Emily Davison to be unveiled today in Morpeth, Northumberland https://t.co/O3dVdkF7aY— Claire Phipps (@Claire_Phipps) September 11, 2018