Bessie Braddock (1899–1970) was a member of Liverpool Borough Council 1930-61, British Labour Party politician and MP for Liverpool Exchange 1945-70. She campaigned on social issues, housing and public health. Known among her constituents as ‘Battling Bessie’, her oratory was colourful. Her statue is part of an ensemble with a further bronze statue of the Liverpool comedian Ken Dodd, whom she appears to meet. The sculpture entitled Chance Meeting was commissioned by Merseytravel.
Location: Concourse, Lime Street Station, Liverpool.
Vera Brittain (1893–1970) was a feminist and socialist. In WWI she was an English Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse, her wartime experiences and subsequent pacifism are recounted in her moving memoir Testament of Youth (1933). Mother of the politician, Baroness Shirley Williams, Vera Brittain was born at Newcastle-under-Lyme, where this sculpture is located. Entitled The Lady in the Park, it was commissioned by Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and funded by the charity Realise to mark the WWI centenary. Made from a mixture of recycled metal and 200 pieces of sheet steel, it was then treated to resemble bronze.
Location: Brampton Park, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.
The Bronte sisters
The Bronte sisters, this bronze group represents the three sisters, Charlotte (1816–1855), Emily (1818–1848) and Anne (1820–1849), who were all novelists and poets. They first published under the androgenous pseudonyms of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, because the prejudices of the time would have disapproved of the publication of their works had they been known to be women. Once they achieved success they admitted to the pseudonyms. In this sculture the sisters are shown walking together and now appear to do so in the garden at the Haworth Parsonage, where they lived together with their father, who was perpetual curate of the parish. Commissioned in 1950, the sculpture is dated the following year. It was previously housed at Leeds City Art Gallery.
Location: Outside the Parsonage Museum, Haworth, West Yorkshire.
Betty Campbell MBE (1934–2017) was born to a Barbadian mother and Jamacian father in Butetown, the Cardiff docklands (Tiger Bay). After gaining a scholarship to high school, she trained as a teacher and for 28 years taught at Mount Stuart Primary School, Butetown, where she became the first black headteacher in Wales. Inspired by Harriet Taubman on a trip to the US, Campbell became a campaigner for the teaching of black history, helping establish Black History Month. She was a county councillor for Butetown ward, sat on the Race Relations Board 1972-76, and served as a member both of the Home Office’s race advisory committee and the Commission for Racial Equality.
This statue was erected as the result of the Hidden Heroines campaign organised by the Monumental Welsh Women group. Campbell was chosen by public vote as the subject of Cardiff’s first outdoor public statue of a named non-fictional woman, which is also thought to be the first in Wales. In this huge memorial Campbell’s head is placed atop a tree of life surrounded by ten children and items from the schoolroom.
Location: Central Square, Cardiff.
Amy Beatrice Carmichael
Amy Beatrice Carmichael (1867–1951) born in Millisle, Co. Down to a devout Christian family, Carmichael became a missionary moving to Japan, then in November 1895 to South India and never returned. Here she rescued hundreds of children from being sold into prostitution. A disasterous fall in 1931 left her bed-bound for the rest of her life. The idea for the bronze statue came from a conversation between the evangelist, Derek Bingham and the sculptor. Carmichael is depicted in her tenth year, Ross commented that it ‘celebrates the childhood beginnings and spiritual inspiration’ of Carmichael, which he hoped would inspire future generations. The sculpture was unveiled by Margaret Bingham on Saturday 16 December 2017, the 150th anniversary of Carmichael’s birth. The plinth is inscribed ‘Amy Carmichael /1867–1951/ A life and legacy of grace’.
Location: Grounds of Presbyterian Church, Hamilton Street, Bangor, Northern Ireland.
Barbara Castle (1910–2002) was the Labour Party Member of Parliament for Blackburn from 1945-1979, becoming one of the longest serving female MPs. During this time she held five cabinet posts; as Secretary of State for Employment she is famous for introducing the Equal Pay Act of 1970 and as Minister of Transport her achievements included legislating for the fitting of seat belts in new cars and the breathalyser test and introducing the 70mph speed limit, which was the first speed restriction on British roads. As Secretary of State for Health and Social Services she introduced the Carer’s Allowance and oversaw the passing of the Child Benefit Act, a universal welfare payment to every child which replaced the Family Allowance. Following her career as an MP, she became a Euro-MP and in 1990, having been granted a life peerage, entered the House of Lords as Baroness Castle of Blackburn.
This statue pictured here with its sculptor, Sam Holland, depicts Castle, a champion of women’s rights, in her 40s, striding forward carrying a copy of the Equal Pay Act. The campaign to erect this statue was led by Blackburn Councillor, Maureen Bateson, who had worked closely with Castle.
Location: Jubilee Square, Blakely Moor, Ewood,. Blackburn, Lancashire.
Edith Cavell (1865-1915) was a WWI nurse, arrested by the German authorities in Belgium in August 1915 for helping French and British soldiers and civilians, she was tried and shot on 12 October 1915 . Her white marble statue stands on a Cornish grey granite pedestal against a pylon, topped with a statue of a mother and child and cross, all of granite. The memorial was unveiled on 17 March 1920. For full description and discussion see Philip Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster, vol. 1, LUP 2011, pp. 245-48.
Location: On island in road between the National Portrait Gallery and St. Martin-in-the-Fields, St. Martin's Place, London WC2.
Edith Louisa Cavell (1865–1915), nurse, bronze memorial bust, stone plinth, designed 1915, unveiled 1918. The memorial was moved a few yards to its current location in 1993. It had originally formed the centre of a small roundabout at the junction of Tombland, Wensum Street and Palace Street, opposite the Maids Head Hotel.
Location: Grounds of Norwich Cathedral, Norwich, Norfolk.
Dame Agatha Christie, DBE (1890-1976) was the author of short stories and 66 detective novels, featuring her two sleuths Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Also a playwright, she was responsible for the world’s longest running play The Mousetrap. Christie was born in Torquay and her portrait bust by the Dutch sculptor, Carol Van Den Boom-Cairns, which is a unique bronze cast, was commissioned to be placed there to celebrate her centenary. It stands on the Torquay seafront on the ‘Agatha Christie Mile’ and is placed where her first husband proposed.
Location: Promenade, Palk Street, Torquay, Devon.
Dame Agatha Christie, DBE (1890-1976) was the author of short stories and 66 detective novels, featuring her two sleuths Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Also a playwright, she was responsible for the world’s longest running play The Mousetrap. This memorial commemorates her contribution to the theatre, the only female playwright to have three West End plays running at the same time. It was unveiled on 25 November 2012 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of The Mousetrap. The bronze is a large relief sculpture of a book with the titles of some of her works and a portrait bust of Christie in the centre, lit from inside and beneath. The idea for the memorial came from Christie’s grandson and was implemented together with Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen, current producer of The Mousetrap.
Location: Corner of Great Newport Street and Cranbourn Street, Covent Garden, London WC2.