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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

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Ada Salter

Photo: AndyScott Wikimedia Commons

Sculptor: Diana Gorvin (b.1956)

Materials: Bronze

Unveiled: 30 November 2014

Ada Salter

Ada Salter (1866-1942) was a social reformer, pacifist and environmentalist.  She was President of the Women’s Labour League and President of the National Gardens Guild. She was one of the first women councillors in London, first woman mayor in London, and first Labour woman mayor in the British Isles. Her statue which forms part of a sculptural bronze group, Dr. Salter’s Daydream, comprising the whole Salter family was unveiled on 30 November 2014. It replaced a previous group, of the same title also by Gorvin made for London Docklands in 1991. The statue of Dr. Salter, which was stolen from the earlier group in 2011, did not include a statue of Ada, but she is present in the new sculpture. This represents Alfred Salter in his old age sitting imagining happier times watching his wife, Ada, his daughter Joyce, who died at the age of eight and her cat. This replacement sculpture was erected by the Salter Campaign Group and Southwark Council.

Location: Bermondsey Wall East, Cherry Gardens, London SE16.

Dorothy L. Sayers

Photo: GeneralJohnsonJameson Wikimedia Commons

Sculptor: John Doubleday (b.1947)

Founder: Art Bronze Foundry

Materials: Bronze

Unveiled: 1994

Dorothy L. Sayers

Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957) was a crime writer, poet, essayist, literary critic, linguist and a Christian humanist. She is known for her creation of the fictional amateur sleuth, Peter Wimsey. She was fond of cats and the bronze statue, set on a low stone plinth, shows her accompanied by her cat, Blitz. Sayers lived for many years in Witham and the statue, which was commissioned by The Dorothy L Sayers Society, is sited opposite her house and the Library. It was unveiled in 1994.

Location: Newland Street, Witham, Essex.

Mary Seacole

Photo: Creative Commons CC.0

Sculptor: Martin Jennings (b.1957)

Founder: Pangolin Editions

Unveiled: 30 June 2016 by Baroness Floella Benjamin

Mary Seacole

Mary Seacole (1805-1881), nurse and businesswoman.  Her bronze statue was unveiled  in 2016, the result of a 12 year campaign by the Mary Seacole Statue Appeal. It was the first in the UK to honour a named black woman.

Location: outside St Thomas’ Hospital, SE1

Irena Sendler

Photo: © PSSA

Sculptor: Andrew Lilley

Materials: Bronze

Unveiled: Saturday 26 June 2021 by Air Chief Marshal Rt’d Sir Andrew Pulford and HE Arkady Rzegocki, Polish Ambassador.

Irena Sendler

Irena Sendler (1910–2008) social worker, nurse and humanitarian, was part of the Polish Underground Resistance during the Second World War. From 1935 to October 1943, she worked for the Department of Social Welfare and Public Health in Warsaw, using her position to covertly help rescue Jews. She participated in smuggling Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, providing them with false identity documents and finding them shelter with Polish families, orphanages or other care facilities such as convents. She saved over 2,500 children from the Holocaust. From October 1943 she headed the Żygota, the children’s section, of the Polish Council to Aid Jews, but was arrested by the Gestapo. She hid the names and locations of the Jewish children, however, preventing this information from falling into Gestapo hands. Although tortured, Sendler never revealed anything about her work or the location of the rescued children. She was sentenced to death but escaped on the day of her execution, because the Żygota bribed German officials to release her. Next day the Germans announced she had been shot and Sendler read the posters!

In 1965, she was recognised by the State of Israel as Righteous Among the Nations and she received many decorations including the Gold Cross of Merit (1946) for saving Jews. The Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest honour was awarded late in her life for her wartime humanitarian efforts. Sendler lived in Warsaw for the remainder of her life and is buried in Warsaw’s Powazki Cemetery.

The Institute of National Remembrance largely funded the statue and offered it to Newark-on-Trent because of its connections with Poland. Many Polish airmen were stationed there during the Second World War and it is home to a significant number of Polish war graves. Former Polish Prime Minister of Władysław Sikorski was also buried at Newark Cemetery for a time.

Location: Fountain Gardens, London Road, Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire.

Sculptor: Christopher Kelly

Materials: Bronze and wood

Unveiled: 3 October 2017

Mother Shipton, Ursula Sontheil

Mother Shipton, Ursula Sontheil (c.1488—1561 ) was a soothsayer and prophet. There are various legends surrounding her life. The child of an unmarried teenage mother, she was born and brought up for the first two years of her life in a cave on the banks of the river Nidd in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. There were rumours her mother, Agnes, was a witch and she was the child of the devil. The abbot of Beverley intervened and sent her mother to a convent, while Ursula went to live with a local family. She was born with crooked back and needed to use a stick, her nose was hooked and she had a very prominent chin, these deformities resulted in her being taunted and she spent a lot of time alone in the woods learning about plants and their healing properties. She married a local carpenter, called Tom Shipton in 1512. The couple were childless and when he died in 1521 she moved back to live in the cave and the woods. People went to her for spells, potions and remedies. In later life, she claimed she could see the future, began to make prophesies and became known as Mother Shipton.

Location: Market Place, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire HG5 8AL

Sarah Siddons

Photo: David Hawgood Wikimedia Commons

Sculptor: Léon Joseph Chavalliaud (1858-1919)

Materials: White marble on Portland stone pedestal.

Unveiled: 14 June 1897 by Sir Henry Irving

Sarah Siddons

Sarah Siddons (1755-1831), Welsh-born celebrated tragic actress,  dubbed ‘tragedy personified’ by the critic William Hazlitt. She worshipped at St Mary on Paddington Green and was buried in the churchyard. The statue was erected sixty six years later by fellow thespians, the actor, Sir Henry Irving setting up the fund for it.

The statue’s pose is loosely based on the portrait, Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse (1789) by Sir Joshua Reynolds at Dulwich Picture Gallery. It is Grade II listed. The statue was vandalised in 2011. The face was badly damamged and the dagger broken off. It was subsequently repaired through a  restoration project arranged by Heritage of London Trust and London Stone Conservation with added funding from Westminster Council. This conservation work was completed in July 2019.

Location: Paddington Green, London, W2

Mary Slessor

Photo: courtesy of Matthew Jarron.

Sculptor: Roddy Mathieson (b. 1973)

Materials: Bronze and Aberdeen granite

Erected: 2015

Mary Slessor

Mary Slessor (1848-1915) was born in Aberdeen and moved to Dundee as a child, where she worked in a textile mill from the age of eleven. Deeply religious, she became interested in missionary work and applied to the United Presbyterian Church’s Foreign Mission Board. After training, she travelled to Calabar in Nigeria, where she spread Christianity, promoted women’s rights, protected native children and is famous for having stopped the common practice of infanticide of twins. There is a bust of her in the Hall of Heroes at the Wallace Monument in Stirling and various statues of her in Calabar. This monument, a bronze portrait relief together with bronze plaque set into a block of Aberdeen granite, was erected in 2015. It was commissioned by the Mary Slessor Foundation with support from Dundee City Council and other donors.

Location: Outside the Steeple Church, Nethergate, Dundee, Scotland.

Dame Ethel Smyth

Photo: Christine Charlesworth

Sculptor: Christine Charlesworth

Founder: Milwyn Casting, Molesey, Surrey

Materials: Bronze

Unveiled: 8 March 2022

Dame Ethel Smyth

Dame Ethel Mary Smyth DBE (1858-1944) was a British composer, conductor and author. Her musical compositions included lieder, chamber music, choral symphonies and opera. A suffragette, in 1911 she composed ‘The March of the Women’ which became the official anthem of The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). Sentenced to two months in Holloway Prison for breaking windows, she is remembered for conducting fellow suffragettes in their anthem with a toothbrush from her cell window. A keen sportwoman and radiographer stationed in Vichy during WWI, Smyth was a remarkable woman. She established an international reputation as a musician, but often regarded as just a ‘lady composer’, she was rather marginalised during her lifetime and after her death fell into obscurity. Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in her music which no longer suffers from old-fashioned gender bias. Her compositions are being performed again and she has won a Grammy for her last major work ‘The Prison’, a vocal symphony.

Smyth is depicted here wearing her habitual tweed skirt, enthusiastically conducting with the over-sized baton, which was presented to her by Emmeline Pankhurst at the Albert Hall. The sculptor describes ‘her arms beating out the time and her eyes full of concentration as she battles with her hearing loss, which went completely in her late 50s. In her pocket is a sheaf of paper, perhaps notes for a new book, she had 10 published.’

From 1910-44 Smyth lived near Woking in Surrey.

Location: Dukes Court Plaza, Woking, Surrey.

Helen Halyburton Symers

Photo: courtesy of Matthew Jarron

Designer: James Thomson (1852–1927) ; Maker: T.& E. Nicholls

Materials: Bronze

Unveiled: 1905

Helen Halyburton Symers

Helen Halyburton Symers (1831-1906) was a noted philanthropist in Dundee, who gave large sums to many local causes including St Paul’s United Free Church, University College Dundee, Royal Victoria Hospital, the Convalescent Home and the Salvation Army Rescue Home. She donated the site for the Arthurstone Branch Library and set up a Fund for Indigent Females with a donation of £10,000. She was also president of the Dundee Ladies’ Union, treasurer of the Female Society for Visiting & Relieving Aged Females in Distress, a member of the Industrial Schools Society and the Home for Reformation of Females. In 1899, she became only the third woman to be made a Burgess of Dundee. This bronze relief and the Arthurstone Library were designed by the Dundee architect, James Thomson. The relief is dated 1905 and it was unveiled in that year.

Location: Entrance to Arthurstone Library, Dundee, Scotland.

Violette Szabo

Photo: Ian S. geograph.org.uk

Sculptor: Karen Newman (b.1951)

Materials: Bust: Bronze; plinth: polished granite

Unveiled: 2009

Violette Szabo

Violette Szabo (1921-1945), British/French undercover agent, Special Operations Executive (SOE) during WWII. The SOE was a covert operation, known as ‘Churchill’s Secret Army’, which operated behind enemy lines. Szabo was captured on her second mission to France and shot at Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, she was 24 years’ old. She was posthumously awarded the George Cross in 1946, the French Croix de Guerre a year later and in 1973 the Médaille de la Résistance. The memorial consists of a bronze portrait bust on polished granite plinth. Bronze plaques on the front and back of the plinth commemorate the 407 SOE agents who worked on sabotage missions with the French Resistance.

Location: In front of Lambeth Palace, Albert Embankment, South Bank, London SE1.

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