Over 100 public statues of women can be found in the UK. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, 8 March 2021, the PSSA launched a database of these multifarious sculptures representing women of achievement from past and present. The database includes many well-known figures with a range of attainments: nurses such as Edith Cavell, Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole, the pilot Amy Johnson, writers such as Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf and George Eliot, performers such as Gracie Fields, Margot Fonteyn, Amy Winehouse and Victoria Wood, activists such as Mary Barbour, Millicent Fawcett and Emmeline Pankhurst, and countless others. These exceptional women lived full and extraordinary lives. The sculptures embody their achievements for posterity, works of art in bronze or stone to commemorate them and further our understanding of their contributions to our own lives and history. The database excludes royal personages, as well as mythological or allegorical female figures, which are in a different category from these representations of people whose successes stemmed from their own endeavours.
We would welcome contributions to the database, if you know of any other statues of women not included here, or if you wish to add information, such as further dates, about the statues on the list. Please use the form to the right. We are aware this is an evolving resource which will expand as time goes on.
There are 117 statues recorded in the database.
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Photo: John Bradley CC BY-SA 3.0
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 in bronze 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 and unveiled in June 2009.
Sculptor: Tom Murphy (b.1949)
Location: Lime Street Station, Liverpool.
Photo: © Jonathan Hutchins CC BY-SA2.0
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. The statue was unveiled in November 2014.
Artist: Andy Edwards
Artist: Phil Brown
Artworks apprentice: Callum Marchese
Location: Brampton Park, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.
Photo: RichTea Wikimedia Commons
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.
Sculptor: Jocelyn Horner (1902–1973)
Location: Outside the Parsonage Museum, Haworth, West Yorkshire.
Photo:14GTR, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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. 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. This huge bronze memorial was unveiled on 29 September 2021. Campbell’s head is placed atop a tree of life surrounded by ten children and items from the schoolroom.
Sculptor: Eve Shepherd
Location: Central Square, Cardiff
Photo: Leonie Summers
Memorial to 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. Listed Grade I. For full description and discussion see Philip Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster, vol. 1, LUP 2011, pp. 245-48.
Sculptor: Sir George Frampton (1860-1928)
Location: On island in road between the National Portrait Gallery and St. Martin-in-the-Fields, St. Martin's Place, London WC2.
Photo: public domain
Edith Cavell (1865-1915), nurse, bronze memorial bust, stone plinth, designed 1915, unveiled 1918.
Sculptor: Henry Alfred Pegram RA (1862-1937)
Location: Grounds of Norwich Cathedral, Norwich, Norfolk. (Moved to current location 1993) from where?
Photo: Jaggery Wikimedia Commons
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. It was unveiled in 1990 by her daughter.
Sculptor: Carol Van Den Boom-Cairns (b.1941)
Location: Promenade, Palk Street, Torquay, Devon.
Photo: Diagram Lajard Wikimedia Commons
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.
Designer: Ben Twiston-Davies (b.1971)
Location: Corner of Great Newport Street and Cranbourn Street, Covent Garden, London WC2.
Photo: Gaius Cornelius Wikimedia Commons
Clementine Churchill, Baroness Spencer-Churchill GBE(1885-1977), the wife of Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) was a life peer in her own right. Their marriage was close in spite of the stress of politics. The sculptor of this work, Oscar Nemon, is known for his series of sculptures of Sir Winston and both the Churchills admired his talent for portraiture. The wording around its base records that it was ‘Presented by Contributors to the Churchill Statue Fund to mark the 50th Anniversary of his becoming Prime Minister in 1940 and the 25th Anniversary of his death. Unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, President of The National Trust, on 13 November 1990.’
Sculptor: Oscar Nemon (1906-1985)
Location: Chartwell, Kent.
Photo: © Frank Gordon
Lady Anne Clifford, Countess of Dorset, Pembroke and Montgomery, suo jure 14th Baroness de Clifford (1590–1676), the last member of an important medieval dynasty, she fought for 40 years to inherit her father’s estates. She was responsible for the restoration of a series of castles from Skipton to Brougham, near Penrith. A patron of literature, she provided schools, churches and alms houses. The sculpture entitled Lady Anne’s Way shows her walking along with characteristic energy, it is sited on the route of the long distance path of the same name through old Westmorland and Yorkshire. Rooted in history, the sculptor feels the statue is significant for local people, who are concerned about their loss of identity. Many Kirkby Stephen inhabitants descend from ancient Westmorland families, who have lived in the area for generations. The bronze statue was unveiled on 24 September 2020.
Sculptor: Diane Lawrenson
Founder: Powderhall Bronze
Location: Upper Eden Visitor Centre, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria (formerly Westmorland).