Suffragette Emily’s statue unveiled in Morpeth
11 Sep 2018 ARCHIVED (over 3 months old) - view latest news
A stunning and thought provoking statue to create a lasting memorial to Northumbrian suffragette Emily Wilding Davison has been unveiled in Morpeth’s Carlisle Park today.
The statue was commissioned by Northumberland County Council and created by internationally renowned sculptor Ray Lonsdale from County Durham who has a skill for drawing out the emotions of his subject.
It was unveiled by The Duchess of Northumberland and the county council’s civic head Jeff Watson.
The magnificent statue which is one and a half times the size of life and made out of steel, represents a time in Emily’s life when she was on hunger strike in prison.
A militant fighter for her cause, Emily was arrested and imprisoned for her part in demonstrations and activities in support of the Women’s Social and Political Union.
She went on hunger strike in prison numerous times and was barbarically force fed on forty-nine occasions when a tube was forced down her nose or down her throat.
The statue depicts Emily defiantly tipping food out of a bowl she has been given knowing that the consequences would be force feeding.
Emily Davison’s name became known around the world in June 1913 when she stepped onto the Epsom race track and was struck by the thundering hooves of the King George V’s horse Anmer.
She never recovered from her injuries and died four days later in hospital. She was buried in St Mary’s Churchyard in Morpeth.
Northumberland County Council has contributed £50,000 towards the statue with Morpeth Town Council contributing £5,000.
Northumberland County Councillor Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services said:
“ There are a few historic heroes of Morpeth who are well known and well represented in the town. William Turner has a memorial garden in his honour. Admiral Collingwood has Collingwood House. Emily Wilding Davison just had a grave.
“ The year 2018 marks the 100th anniversary since some women were granted the right to vote. Emily Wilding Davison campaigned passionately for this right and we as a council wanted to properly honour her memory.
“ It was unanimously decided that a statue of Emily would be a fitting tribute to her and highlight the huge historical importance of her actions.
“If statistics are correct only 80 of the UKs 828 statues are of named females and many of these are of Queen Victoria - so we are very proud to have unveiled this statue in Morpeth today. ”
An interpretation panel has also been installed in Carlisle Park to help tell Emily’s story, and a walking guide produced so that people can visit the many locations in Morpeth that have a strong connection with Emily, including her grave.
Philippa Bilton is a relative of Emily. Her great great grandmother and Emily’s mother were sisters. She said:
“ We as a family are very proud and emotional that this statue, the very first of Emily, has been unveiled today. It is an historic day, bringing modern history to life in the present and we hope, creating a legacy for the future.”
“ It has put Morpeth and Emily on the map locally, nationally and now internationally”.