A statue of eminent women’s rights activist Emily Wilding Davison will be unveiled in Surrey town where she was killed by a horse.
Davison, a suffragette who campaigned for the right for women to vote, was arrested nine times and went on hunger strike seven times.
Relatives of Davison, local activists, residents and politicians will assemble in Epsom on Tuesday to see the statue of Davison be revealed.
The campaigner hurled herself in front of King George V’s horse Anmer who was galloping at full speed at the Epsom Derby on 4 June 1913. She lost consciousness and tragically died four days later.
Christine Charlesworth, the Surrey artist who made the statue, said: “Emily was an extremely intelligent woman and gained two first-class university degrees although, being a woman, she was not allowed to graduate.
“She felt that joining the suffragette movement gave a whole new meaning to her life and she was often the first to think up ideas to bring the movement to public attention. I imagine her to have been a very loving, caring, quite feisty woman with a great sense of humour.”
Davison, who was a member of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), was routinely arrested for her militant direct action.
Philippa Bilton, a distant relative of the famed Suffragette, said: “The statue has finally come to fruition.
“I know she will bring people to the town to interact with her in the marketplace. It is inspiring that Epsom has finally got a lasting memorial to Emily’s remarkable life. I am delighted and hope she is relished for years to come.”
Emily Davison Memorial Project, a group of residents, have been campaigning for years to raise money for the statue.
Sarah Dewing, the group’s founder and chair, said: “It is time that Emily Wilding Davison is properly recognised for the part she played in bringing about the Governments’ decision to give women the right to vote.
“It is due to her sacrifice and that of many others that women today have equal rights in law and opportunities to fulfil their potential that Emily’s generation could only dream of.”
The new statue is one of the very few public memorials to women. In 2018, the BBC calculated that 174 of 828 statues recorded by the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association were female — roughly one in five. And only 80 were named after women, in comparison to 422 of the male statues.
Emily Thornberry, a Labour MP who is Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, said: “As someone who led the campaign for a monument to Emily Davison in parliament, I am truly delighted to see this statue unveiled in Epsom today, capturing the vibrancy and passion of this extraordinary woman.
“All my congratulations go to the campaigners, the fundraisers and the artist who have provided this permanent memorial to the spirit of female rebellion, and to the woman who forever embodies that spirit.”