Photograph: Fawcett frieze - 09, Despard
Erection date: 24/4/12018
Charlotte Despard, 1844 - 1939
Site: Millicent Fawcett statue (53 memorials)
SW1, Parliament Square
This statue of Millicent Fawcett is the first (and, 2021, still the only) statue of a woman in Parliament Square where there are 12 statues of men. This is also the first statue in the Square created by a woman. Erected following a campaign, to celebrate 100 years of voting rights for (some) women.
Around the top of the statue's plinth, on all four sides, is a continuous frieze consisting of 52 images of people who actively supported women’s suffrage. The people are drawn from both suffragist and suffragette groups. They come from the upper, middle and working classes, from all four nations, many from the north of England. A few are non-white, four are male and one is in a wheelchair. Truly diverse.
The frieze presents these people in birth year sequence so that is how we have numbered our photos, reading each side left to right: front (1-13), right side (14 -26), back (27-39), left side (40-52). We apologise for the poor quality of our photos - being low down and reflective these images are not easy to photograph, and some of them (especially those on the back) are already showing signs of weather-related distress.
Four of the photos show 2 people, and one of them shows 4 people (the Pankhursts). The total number of people represented is 59. Fawcett herself is not shown in the frieze but add her in and this statue with its frieze commemorates 60 people.
On one of our visits a gardener was planting out the flower beds either side of the statue. He kindly pointed out that the plants chosen provided the colours of the suffragists, to which Fawcett was affiliated: red, white and green. Not the colours of the suffragettes who had split off in order to continue their more militant campaign: purple white and green.