Did you know there’s a suffragette monument in London half-way between Victoria and Westminster? I had no idea until I stumbled upon a reference to it on a London blog the other day, and today I went to look for it. There’s a little patch of grass opposite New Scotland Yard called Christchurch Gardens, with a prominent memorial to Henry Purcell on it, and tucked away in the corner is this monument by the sculptor Edwin Russell which was placed there in 1970.
This tribute is erected by the Suffragette Fellowship to commemorate the courage and perseverance of all those men and woman who in the long struggle for votes for women selflessly braved dersion, opposition and ostracism, many enduring violence and suffering. Nearby Caxton Hall was historically associated with women’s suffrage meeetings & deputations to Parliament.
I took a picture and admired it, then wandered around the back in the hope there might be some more information about it there. To my delight there were also pictures sculpted on the back. Unfortunately it was too dark to get a decent photo (and passers-by must have wondered what on earth I was doing), but the one pictured is Sylvia Pankhurst’s design of a portcullis (the symbol of Parliament) with the suffragette arrow, usually depicted in purple, white and green although here all dark bronze. It’s upside down because the monument is scroll-shaped and this picture rolls over from the top. You can see it a lot more clearly as a brooch design.
Edit Jan 2015: Do read the great blog post at Woman and Her Sphere on this memorial, with information about the sculptors and its unveiling.