Manchester's Emmeline Pankhurst statue announced

Sculptor Hazel Reeves has been announced as the designer who will create a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst for Manchester

Feature by The Skinny North | 04 Apr 2017

Receiving the public vote and the unanimous support of the selection committee, artist Hazel Reeves' Rise Up, Women design has been chosen for the statue of Suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst which will be installed in Manchester city centre on International Women's Day 2019. 

Facing competition from five other artists, Reeves' proposal received more than 6000 votes, with Sean Hedges-Quinn's depiction of Emmeline and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia coming in a close second. 

"I feel incredibly privileged to be selected to sculpt my hero, and Manchester’s hero, Emmeline Pankhurst," Reeves said. "There was tough competition. The response to my design has been overwhelming; Emmeline as the courageous, determined and dignified activist. In 2019 she will be back on Manchester’s streets, continuing to inspire women to rise up and demand their rights.

"This statue is long overdue, in this city with a rich history of women’s activism."

Redressing the balance

Of Manchester's 17 statues, currently only one is of a woman: Queen Victoria. Reeves' Pankhurst statue – which, subject to planning permission, will be located in the new garden area of St Peter's Square – will become the second. The urge to address this historical imbalance is where the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Campaign began. 

"As a radical city with a history of strong female figures it is wrong that our public art does not reflect this part of Manchester’s heritage," says the Campaign's chair, Andrew Simcock. "We began by asking the public which female figure they would like immortalised in a statue. They voted overwhelmingly for Emmeline Pankhurst. With the design now also confirmed we are another step forward to seeing our ambitions realised."

Emmeline's great granddaughter Helen Pankhurst, who sat on the judging panel, adds: "Over the last few months the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Committee met some very impressive sculptors and saw some wonderful ideas take shape. The selection of a single winner has not been easy. Nevertheless, Hazel’s creation has rightly risen to the top. It is memorable and evocative, a simple and yet very powerful evocation of one of the most iconic women in history."

The next steps

As the winning designer of the Pankhurst statue, Hazel Reeves will work closely with the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue Campaign to develop a programme of community engagement, including educational projects linked to activities around the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act.

The promotion of gender equality and women's rights is close to Reeves' heart – she was also recently awarded a commission to celebrate the lives of the ‘Cracker Packers’, women biscuit factory workers from the Carr’s (now McVities) factory in Carlisle. This statue will be unveiled in 2018.

The next stage of the Pankhurst project now commences, raising the money required for the creation of the statue. To find out more and how to donate, visit: