Time to honour Preston suffragette Edith Rigby with statue

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She’s Preston’s most high profile suffragette, but over the years Edith Rigby has frequently been forgotten.

Now, on the 100th anniversary of women gaining the vote, that could be about to change, as a campaign launches to build a statue to her.

Edith Rigby, second left, with fellow suffragette Eleanor Beatrice Higgginson, third from left. Both women spent time in Holloway Prison

Edith Rigby, second left, with fellow suffragette Eleanor Beatrice Higgginson, third from left. Both women spent time in Holloway Prison

Businessman Michael Conlon of Conlon Construction wants to see the suffragette honoured.

Michael said: “I came up with the idea a couple of years ago. I’ve been banging on about it for years.

“It seemed obvious to me. We’ve got a centenary, we’ve got a famous women in Preston and it seemed fitting that a statue was erected of Edith Rigby.

“I’m a father of two daughters and in this day and age we need to make amends.

“Out of 925 statues in the UK only 158 are of solitary women. Of these 25 are of historical non-royal women in contrast to 498 statues of men – 43 statues in the UK are of men called John.”

Preston mayoress Trisha Rollo held a meeting on Monday to discuss the idea for a memorial to Edith Rigby.

As a result of the meeting a committee to make the vision a reality is up and running and a bank account is to be set up.

The mayoress told the Post that at their initial gathering participants discussed what they hoped the statue might look like.

“What would potentially be nice is a bench where she is sitting down and you can sit next to her,” she said. “If it does go ahead we would need lots of pictures of Edith Rigby from lots of different angles.

“We want to do everything as local as possible so we would like a local artist to design it, local people to build it and local stone if it is going to be made of stone.”

Michael said: “This about being proud of our heritage as Prestonians.

“The controversy comes as to where it should be placed. I think there’s an obvious place – she lived for most of her life on Winckley Square.

“We already have a statue there of Sir Robert Peel on one side looking up Cross Street and wouldn’t it be nice to reflect that on the other side of the park with a historical women - Edith Rigby looking down Garden Street.”

Michael has committed to donating the first £1,000 to the crowdfunder.

He would like to see a statue created within the year but says there will be a lot to do to make it happen.

“Once we know where the statue should go and we know how we want it to look artistically you then normally invite artists to submit bids. Once these are in the committee would then look at the bids for their artistic merit before they decide.”