Deeds, not words

A statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in Parliament Square near to the Houses of Parliament has been rejected at appeal, the inspector finding no exceptionally good reason to locate the statue in an area identified in a supplementary planning document as a monument saturation zone (DCS Number 400-023-176).

The inspector noted that there was already a smaller statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in the vicinity and a statue of Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square. He reasoned, accordingly, “that the suffragette movement and the suffragist movement are both commemorated, and the suffrage cause is therefore twice commemorated, by statues close to the Houses of Parliament.” He acknowledged that Emmeline Pankhurst is certainly an important figure in the nation’s history, accepting that the existing statue might not properly reflect her importance, but held that there was no justification for her to be commemorated again in the vicinity of Parliament by the erection of the proposed statue. Furthermore, he continued,  “locations for commemorative statues are a finite resource in Parliament Square and allowing the appeal would deny the opportunity for commemorating a worthy person, who is not already commemorated, in the future.”

With the greatest respect to the senior inspector who determined this appeal, it occurs to the DCP Blog that he might have stepped outside his remit in taking the identity of the person represented by the statue into his reckoning. The effect on the street scene? Definitely. The scale, design and materials of the plinth and statue? Certainly. But the identity of the person? Hmm.

Further appeal examples relating to public art can be found at section 17.437 of DCP Online.