If you’ve ever examined the stately statues in Parliament Square, London – and you better book one of our tours quick sharp if you haven’t – you’d be forgiven for thinking the square is a bit of an old boy’s club.
Where: Parliament Square, Westminster, London, SW1P 3JX
Nearest tube station: Westminster
After all, it’s a top tourist sightseeing spot, where you’ll find the magisterial Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. And it’s also home to some of the most famous men in the world. Or rather, their statues. There’s Winston Churchill, hand in pocket, showing just a hint of his famous stoop. Over on the south-western edge stands Nelson Mandela, his hands open and accommodating. Here’s Gandhi dressed in his robes and sandals, facing parliament and looking perfectly pensive…
But you may wonder: where are all the statues of women?
Well, there weren’t any!
But all that changed yesterday.
And London Tailored Tours was, of course, on hand as the first ever statue of a woman in Parliament Square was unveiled. It’s a bronze casting of the British feminist campaigner Millicent Fawcett (1847-1929).
Newsflash: Not So Militant Fawcett Unveiled in Parliament Square!
Fawcett was tireless in her fight for female rights in the early twentieth century, at a time when women were denied the vote. She was a suffragist – not a suffragette – which meant she preferred non-violent means of protest. It was partly through the efforts of Fawcett that the way was paved for women to even be Prime Minister – as current PM Theresa May herself acknowledged at the unveiling.
Not everyone was happy for Fawcett to have been given prime position in Parliament Square. Lots of people feel Fawcett and her group weren’t militant enough, comparing her moderate views to the better-known radical feminists (and some say terrorists!) called the Suffragettes.
In order to avoid being too stony-faced about the whole affair, you’ll have to join London Tailored Tours on our next jaunt round Parliament Square and decide for yourselves…
Or you could book the Girls’ Day Out and hear much, much more about the history of women making change in London.
Tour Guide Tip: If it’s sunny avoid the crowds at Westminster Underground and take a scenic walk to Parliament Square from Green Park Underground instead – the perfect excuse for an ice-cream en route!
This is the first blog post by our great new guide Ruby Tuke. Keep your eyes peeled for more of her work…