Dame Louisa Brandreth Aldrich-Blake
Dame Louisa Brandreth Aldrich-Blake DBE (1865–1925) in 1895 became the first woman in Britain to be awarded the degree of Master of Surgery. She had an impressive career in London as surgeon at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital (1910-1925) and at the Royal Free Hospital. In 1914 she was appointed Dean of the London Medical School for Women, a post she held until her death. During WWI she served in France with the Women’s Unit under the Anglo-French Red Cross. She was also a skilled boxer and cricketer.
The memorial, designed by Edwin Luytens (1869–1944), stands in the south-east corner of Tavistock Square and consists of a semi-circular stone seat with a pillar rising from it in the centre, which features two identical portrait busts of Dame Louisa holding a book (one facing the Square, the other the road). Each side of the pillar is decorated with a staff and snake (the Rod of Asclepius) symbolising medicine. Bronze plaques on the pillar give details of her career and bear inscriptions.
Location: Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury, Camden, London WC1.
Dame Eleanor Allan
Dame Eleanor Allan (b.?–1708), founder of Dame Allan’s School, Newcastle. Eleanor Allan, a widow, ran a tobacconist business in the late 1600s. She bought a farm in Wallsend, North Tynside, which she sold and then used the proceeds to establish a school. The school opened a year after her death.
The figure of Eleanor Allan is in a yellow stone aedicule high on the gable end wall of College House. She is depicted wearing a mediaeval cloak and holding a book. It is thought the statue was installed around the time the building was put up in 1882, when the school transferred there.
Bibl.: P. Usherwood, J. Beach & C. Morris, Public Sculpture of North-East England, 2000, LUP, p. 145.
Location: West façade, College House (now Careers Centre), Northumberland Road, Newcastle, Tyne and Wear.
Jean Armour (1765–1834), ‘Bonnie Jean’ the wife of Robert Burns, inspired his poetry and was also known as the ‘Belle of Mauchline’. Armour was born in Mauchline and the couple were married there.
Location: Mauchline, East Ayrshire, Scotland.
Jean Armour (1765–1834), ‘Bonnie Jean’ the wife of Robert Burns, inspired his poetry. This statue of Armour was erected by the Burns Howff Club in 2004. The design specified she would appear as she did in Robert Burns’ lifetime, with a bible and a small child. The couple moved to Dumfries in 1791 and spent the remainder of their lives there.
Location: Opposite St. Michael's Church, Dumfries, Scotland.
Katie (Kathryn) Helen Ashbridge (1982–2007) attended Malvern College from 1994-99 and then St Edmund Hall, Oxford, but died tragically young of a brain haemorrhage at the age of twenty-five. She was a volunteer at a Quest Overseas project in Peru, where she taught sport, art, music and theatre to the children in Villa Maria, a shanty town in Lima. She was passionate about the project and following her death a fund established in her name was used to provide better living conditions for disadvantaged children and single mothers in that community.
A keen sportswoman, she is depicted in this statue as a fourteen year old schoolgirl Katie playing Netball. The memorial statue was commissioned by her parents, Kevan and Penny, to stand in her old school.
Location: Entrance to Sports Complex, Malvern College, Malvern, Worcestershire.
Nancy Witcher Astor CH (Viscountess) (1879–1964), an American-born British politician, who was the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons. She was elected MP for Plymouth Sutton in November 1919 and held the seat until 1945. The statue was publicly funded and presented by Plymouth Women in Business and the Astor 100 – Project to celebrate 100 years of women in parliament.
This is the first public sculpture by female sculptor, Hayley Gibbs.
Location: Plymouth Hoe, Devon.
Jane Austen (1775–1817), novelist. The maquette for this statue was also cast in bronze and is at St. Nicholas Church, Chawton House, Alton, Hampshire. There are small differences between the two works. This statue was unveiled in 2017.
Location: Market Place, Basingstoke, Hampshire.
Jane Austen (1775–1817), novelist. A bronze statue on a Portland stone base, which was cast from the maquette for the Basingstoke sculpture, and is a slight variant of that composition. It was unveiled in 2018.
Location: St. Nicholas Church, Chawton House, Alton, Hampshire.
Alison Balsom, Lady Mendes, OBE (b. 1978) is a celebrated trumpet player, who also arranges and produces music. Balsom grew up in Royston and went to school there. She started playing in the Royston Town Band when she was eight years old and continued until she was 15. She was the soloist at the Last Night of the Proms in 2009. She has won 3 Classic BRIT awards, being the first ever British artist to become Female Artist of the Year at the 2009 Classical BRIT Awards. She was the artistic director of Cheltenham Music Festival in 2019. Balsom is married to the film director Sir Sam Mendes. This life-size Corten steel statue in silhouette is one of a trio. Similar groups representing other characters are being erected in parks and open spaces as part of the Sustrans project (see Sylvia Pankhurst entry).
Location: Junction of Green Street and Melbourn Road, Royston, Hertfordshire.
Mary Barbour (1875–1958), Scottish political activist and community leader. She led the 1915 rent strike in the city of Glasgow when women in ‘Mrs Barbour’s Army’ marched alongside male workers to protest at unscrupulous property owners putting up rents and evicting tenants who could not pay. The campaign was successful and led to the Rent Restriction Act (1915). This sculpture, which was erected by the Remember Mary Barbour Association, depicts Barbour leading her ‘army’. In 1920 she was elected one of Glasgow’s first women councillors. In 1924 she became Glasgow Corporation’s first Bailie and was one of the first women magistrates in Glasgow. She championed issues such as maternity benefit, education and equal voting rights and she established Glasgow’s first family planning clinic.
Location: Govan Cross, Glasgow.