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: Nicholas Mutton Wikimedia Commons
Flora MacDonald (1722-1790) was a heroine of the Jacobite cause and helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape the Hanoverians after the Battle of Culloden (1746). Flora is depicted with her collie dog looking out over the valley of the River Ness. It is thought the statue was paid for by Capt. J. Henderson and the 78th Highlanders. The bronze statue, which stands on a granite pedestal, was erected in 1896.
Sculptor: Andrew Davidson (1841-1925)
Location: Castle Hill, Inverness, Scotland.
Photo: Jim Linwood Wikimedia Commons
Margaret MacDonald (1870-1911) was a feminist, social reformer, and wife of the first Labour Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald. They lived in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. MacDonald joined the Women’s Industrial Council in 1894. She helped establish trade schools for girls, was Chair of the National Union of Women Workers and founded the Women’s Labour League. She was a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. Her memorial, which was the first portrait statue of a non-royal in London, is a sculptural group in bronze, mounted above a public seat made of ship’s teak, which is within an alcove created from Scottish granite, unveiled 19 December 1914. Listed Grade II.
Sculptor: Richard Reginald Goulden (1836-1932)
Location: North side, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2.
Photo: © Louise Bell
Dame Sheila Marshall McKechnie, DBE (1948-2004) was a trade unionist, housing campaigner and consumer activist. She became director of Shelter in 1985 and then ten years’ later director of the Consumers’ Association (now known under the brand name ‘Which?’). Her partner, Alan Grant, helped set up the Sheila McKechnie Foundation after her death and commissioned this portrait bust. The bronze bust is mounted on a sandstone base, which is inscribed: Sheila McKechnie/born Camelon 1948/campaigner for/workers’ safety/the homeless/consumers’ rights/died London 2004/’she made a difference.’ Camelon is close to Falkirk, where the bust was unveiled in August 2005.
Sculptor: Susanna Robinson
Location: The walled garden, Dollar Park, Falkirk, Scotland.
Naomi Mitchison (1897-1999), best known as a novelist, she was also a poet. This bronze portrait bust, on Crossland Hill sandstone pillar, was unveiled on 1 July 2004. It forms part of a group of 12 Scottish poets, which are placed at intervals along the Lochside walkway. For further details see Ray McKenzie, Public Sculpture of Edinburgh, vol.1, LUP 2018, pp. 398-400.
Sculptor: Archie Forrest (b.1950)
Letter-cutter: Vincent Butler (1933-2017)
Founder: Powderhall Bronze
Location: Lochside Walkway, Edinburgh Park, South Gyle, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Angela Mortimer CBE (b.1932) was a tennis player, who won three Grand Slam championships: the French in 1955, the Australian in 1958 and Wimbledon in 1961. This bronze portrait bust of her was commissioned to be displayed at Wimbledon.
Sculptor: Ian Rank-Broadley (b.1952)
Location: All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon, London SW19.
Photo: Derek Harper Wikimedia Commons
Georgina, Baroness Mount-Temple (1822-1901) was a philanthropist, who spoke out passionately against cruelty and injustice. An animal rights campaigner, she was a founder of the Anti-Vivisection League and one of the first patrons of the RSPCA. She is depicted with a bird on her wrist and it is said fresh flowers have been put in her hands every day for over 100 years. Her bronze statue is on a fountain; the basin and fountain are of Trusham greenish-black basalt and the pedestal stands on a base of Ashburton marble, unveiled October 1903.
Sculptor: Arthur George Walker (1861-1939)
Location: Babbacombe Downs, Torquay, Devon.
Photo: ChrisO Wikimedia Commons
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), social reformer, celebrated for her nursing work and management during the Crimean War. She was the founder of modern nursing and instituted nurses’ training, particularly at St. Thomas’ Hospital, London, which houses her Museum. The idea for this memorial statue was promoted by St. Thomas’ Hospital. She is depicted as the ‘Lady with the Lamp’, walking through the wards of the Scutari Hospital, with her famous lamp in her hand. The statue is bronze, on a pedestal of polished and unpolished red granite. It was unveiled on 24 February 1915 and is listed Grade II. There is a copy of this statue by Victor Tozer inside St. Thomas’ Hospital. For full description and discussion see Philip Ward-Jackson, Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster, vol. 1, LUP 2011, pp. 401-03.
Sculptor: Arthur George Walker (1861-1939)
Designer of pedestal: Architect, T.H. Wyatt
Founder: G. Fiorini
Location: Waterloo Place, London SW1.
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), social reformer, celebrated for her nursing work and management during the Crimean War. She was the founder of modern nursing and instituted nurses’ training. She was active in Scotland. The director of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary asked Nightingale to get him trained nurses, which she did. Professional nursing in Glasgow Royal Infirmary started with Rebecca Strong, a ‘Nightingale nurse’, who had trained at St. Thomas’ Hospital. Nightingale’s part in providing trained nurses for the Infirmary is acknowledged by the fine marble statue of her in the vestibule.
Location: Vestibule, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Scotland.
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), a social reformer, was celebrated for her nursing work and management during the Crimean War. She was the founder of modern nursing and instituted nurses’ training. This statue stands above the front door of the former Nightingale Maternity Home (1904-1970s), which is now a Nightingale Macmillan Continuing Care Unit. The façade of the building is listed.
Location: Above the front door of the Nightingale Macmillan Continuing Care Unit, Trinity Street, Derby.
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) was celebrated for her nursing work during the Crimean War and was the founder of modern nursing. A statue of Nightingale features on a building of 1912 alongside historic figures from the city’s industrial past.
Location: On the corner of East Street and St Peter's Street, Derby.