Mary Clarke Statue Appeal




On Tuesday 23rd June 2020, on a lovely sunny day as lock-down was just beginning to ease, the new Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Councillor Alan Robins, in full mayoral robes, visited us at the Royal Pavilion Gardens near the entrance to the Museum.
He was there to show his support for the proposed statue for Mary Clarke and was accompanied by the Mayoral Consort Val Cawley. We have the all-party support of the City Council, but we are particularly grateful to Cllr Robins, the former Chair of the Tourism, Development and Culture Committee, who has backed this initiative from the start.

The Pavilion Estate has deep historic ties with the suffrage movement. In 2018 the Dome was declared a site of National Suffrage Interest by Historic England, because so many meetings had taken place there. We know that Mary herself chaired and spoke at a large meeting there in May 1910, seven months before she died. However, we also know that suffrage meetings took place in the Pavilion itself and in the tea rooms adjacent to the Pavilion (almost certainly on the site of the present Pavilion shop). Mary’s memorial service in January 2011 was held in the Pavilion. At least one suffrage meeting took place in the Chapel Royal and we have been informed (though we do not yet have written evidence) that fundraising teas took place in the Gardens.
Our aim is to place Mary’s statue in the Gardens, as close as possible to the entrance to Brighton Museum, where it can be linked to educational displays in the Museum. We hope that every school child, adult resident and visitor will see and recognise the statue as a symbol of the city’s ongoing commitment to democracy, equality and women’s rights.


Jenny Engledow is well known in Brighton as a human rights and peace campaigner. What is less well known is that she is an excellent seamstress and embroiderer and has made beautiful banners for a range of causes. Many local people will have seen the beautiful banner Jenny made to celebrate the 2018 Centenary of women’s partial achievement of the Vote. It was based on a contemporary design prepared for the Brighton Branch of the WSPU.
Now she has agreed to make a banner for Mary Clarke. The design is her own, based upon contemporary photographs, but the style echoes the beautiful ‘pennant’ banners  carried in procession by the suffragettes. They were designed to represent various women’s crafts and professions, but there were also individual banners to honour individual women of note. A huge amount of work has gone into the banner and despite COVID-related problems in supply of embroidery materials, Jenny is forging ahead.
We thought you might like to see her at work. We are so grateful to her for this wonderful gift of her time and creativity. Once completed, the banner will be placed on public display and also taken out on procession. Our hope is that eventually, on key dates such as International Women's Day or Human Rights Day (which is just before Mary’s birthday) the people of the city will be able to process to the statue with this and other banners. 


Terri Bell Halliwell spear heads a national Brighton-based campaign to get more statues for women. She has been an inspiration to use and a consistent supporter from the start. She writes as follows:
"Mary Clarke is one of the great band of wonderful  women who have been ignored by the powers that select those suitable for public commemoration. Civic statues in the UK - and worldwide - are so heavily biased in favour of men that any woman, no matter how significant, is unlikely to enter into consideration, let alone achieve selection.
At the last count 85% of UK civic statues were of men and, of the remaining 15%, most were angels, nymphs or allegorical figures; maternal, saintly or sexualised. The vanishingly few real, named women honoured for their achievements, amounted to less than 3%. That’s 3% to stand for 50% of the population. One cannot help but wonder how this gross inequality arose? 

Given that statues have been erected since earliest history we must assume that they have value to those who put them up. They require both finance and power over the use of public sites, so the ability to erect them has fallen almost exclusively to the ruling political or regal powers. In short, in a patriarchy, it has been a choice in the hands of men. The statistical evidence tells us they have chosen to mirror their own great deeds and their own agendas, wilfully overlooking the great deeds, achievements and contributions of women.

A civic statue has a quiet persistent power, that retains influence over decades, even centuries. We have only to consider the current rightful protests about the civic glorification of abhorrent slave owners for evidence of that power and its real ongoing effects.

Now is the time for us all to re-consider exactly who it is that we choose to honour in our towns and cities, to ask who it is that we want to see immortalised and passed down to future generations to stand as symbols of what we truly value. 

Who are our heroes now? More to the point, who are our heroines? Surely, Mary Clarke is one of those heroines, of whom Brighton can be justly proud."


Our sculptor Denise Dutton is hard at work on the maquette, doing the delicate work on facial features - a challenging task, given we have so few photographs and many of those we do have are of poor quality.

One of Mary’s most endearing qualities was her lack of egoism and consequent quiet refusal to promote herself. However, this is causing real difficulties for those wishing to commemorate her.

Denise has sent us a photograph of herself with the maquette. She is wearing a headset with magnifying lenses in it to assist the modelling of fine detail.  She says “As you may notice at present she has no hair, or hat, and I've removed her arms to enable easier access to model the portrait and skirt.” 

We look forward to seeing more and will keep supporters updated.


Please keep an eye on the website and send us news or comments. Help us get out our message by publicising the information on the website and following us on Facebook and Twitter. ‘Like’ us or retweet whenever and as often as you can!

If you can help with social media please let us know. Please follow us on our website; on twitter @mary_statue; and on Facebook


We thank all our donors large and small. Work on the maquette is in process. Our Fundraising Target now is to raise £60,000 for the costs of the statue. 

Please note the Appeal is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) number 1185845.
Copyright © 2019 Mary Clarke Statue Appeal - Registered Charity Number 1185845. 
All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
c/o Regency Town House, 13 Brunswick Square, Hove, BN3 1EH

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