2018 marked 100 years of Women’s Suffrage – a huge milestone in furthering equality in this country. As such, 2018 saw a number of events celebrating this anniversary, such as “Vote 100” which marked the milestone in Parliament.
At the end of these celebrations, on the very last day of 2018, in my capacity as Heritage Minister I upgraded the listing of a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst located in Victoria Tower Gardens (just outside Parliament) to make it a Grade II* statue- and as such further protecting this historic monument. I believe it is a fitting tribute that at the end of that centenary year we recognise the important role Pankhurst played in securing the equality we rightly enjoy today.
Emmeline Pankhurst was one of the leading suffragettes and she was instrumental in securing votes for women. Born in 1858, Pankhurst founded the Women’s Franchise League in 1889 which fought to allow married women to vote in local elections before founding the WSPU in 1903 who were the first to be termed “Suffragettes”.
This statue was first unveiled by the then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin in 1930 and was moved in 1956 to its current position just outside the Houses of Parliament. As the Heritage Minister I can authorise the listing of buildings and structures of historical significance which means that they are protected from being moved, changed or removed altogether. It is vitally important that we continue to recognise important figures from our history such as Emmeline Pankhurst and I am pleased to have played a role in ensuring this statue is protected for future generations.