Moves to Honour Women with Civic Statues

It is great to see the Amy Johnson project being used as a ‘Result’ and encouraging to see other projects underway. Read the latest inVISIBLEewomen article for more results of moves to honour women with civic statues.

“Believe Nothing to be Impossible”

inVISIBLEwomen has been running for one year and aviator Amy Johnson’s words “believe nothing to be impossible” begin to ring true; we are witnessing a change in attitudes to civic statues. And this is not before time, given that 85% of civic statues are of men and arguably form the UK’s oldest subliminal ad-campaign for the patriarchy.

There is a quiet, persistent power in a civic statue

Support for this shift has come from such diverse people as Prime Minister Theresa May and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, both approving, across the party divide, of the statue of Millicent Fawcett to be erected in Parliament Square, an all-male preserve since 1832; the most prominent ‘gentleman’s club’ in the capital.

This campaign for a female statue began with an open letter from Caroline Criado Perez followed by an online petition with over 70,000 signatures and has shown the weight of approval behind this kind of long overdue public recognition.

Progress – the status quo is shifting

This year new statues to women have been erected around the country, honouring both historical and present day figures, beginning to rebalance who we are “looking up to” in our city squares and public places. Two statues were erected of aviator Amy Johnson, in Herne Bay and Hull. They were the result of a fast, dynamic campaign run by Jane Priston, who harnessed local interest, goodwill and funding, and even went as far as posing for the sculptor to speed the process along!

Amy on the seafront at Herne Bay and the “Women of Steel” who kept the steel factories running during the war, are now commemorated in a beautiful memorial in Sheffield resulting from a campaign using “Just Giving” to raise funds; a cause so popular that it raised more than was needed for the statue.

Another route to success was taken by the sons of Cylla Black who funded this memorial to their mother. This lively likeness of the singer, entertainer and household name now stands in Liverpool where she launched her career.

A singer from another era, Gracie Fields, described as “the Madonna of her day” was honoured in Rochdale, with funds raised by the town’s Rotary Clubs.

Mary Seacole, a pioneering nurse in the Crimea, is at last commemorated outside St Thomas Hospital in London. The long campaign has been ultimately victorious despite meeting with some resistance, surprisingly from the Florence Nightingale Association.

The achievements of real women must not be airbrushed out of history. Gender equality in civic statues is possible. It really is time for more Plinths for Women!

Find out more about current campaigns and how you can get involved.

Schools science competition launch for 2017

The project founder and manager Jane Priston was delighted to be at Discovery Park, Sandwich, Kent for the launch of the next KM Bright Sparks school science competition last week. Jane is the first KM Bright Sparks ambassador and invited the 2016 winners, Tonbridge grammar school, to the unveiling of the Amy Johnson bronze statue in September. The girls were thrilled to meet HRH Prince Michael of Kent and engineers and pilots and were so inspired by the day they are all committed to a career in STEM. So let’s get sharing for next years competition. Selective and non selective schools and primary too. The next generation may be young but their minds are full of fantastic ideas! Science students to take on dragons.

Modelling of Amy Johnson in Clay – Time-lapse film

Amy Johnson Bronze

Amy Johnson Bronze

Meltdowns who created the Amy Johnson bronze statue have created this fabulous time lapse film and blog.

Amy Johnson statue unveiling – ITV news video clip

View the ITV news clip of the unveiling of the Amy Johnson statue in Herne Bay on Saturday 17 September 2016.

Herne Bay Amy Johnson Bronze Unveiling details

Amy bronze maquette

Amy Johnson bronze maquette

Our special day is nearly here and this silhouette picture of the maquette will soon be a reality as the sun sets on Herne Bay seafront on Saturday evening.  The bronze statue will be unveiled at midday between the bandstand and the pier (bandstand end).   We are very proud to have HRH Prince Michael of Kent and modern day aviatrix Tracey Curtis-Taylor in attendance along with over 100 invited guests and sponsors.  We are also delighted to announce an exciting last minute addition to the event.  Champion aerobatics pilot and regular to Herne Bay skies, Lauren Richardson will be flying her stunning Pitts Special biplane in a breath taking solo display to honour the woman who inspired her to fly.  This is scheduled to take place at 12.15pm and Lauren will return to the seafront and be in the bandstand Makcaris for a ‘meet the pilot’ session at around 4pm.  A real treat for everyone and the icing on the cake for what looks to be a truly memorable day for the town and for Amy’s memory.

Amy Johnson bronze to be unveiled 17 September 2016

We are delighted to announce the Amy Johnson bronze statue is near completion, planning has been approved and the royal unveiling set for Saturday 17 September.  More details to follow soon. Read the KM article

Herne Bay commemorates Amy Johnson

Today we saw Herne Bay come together again to make another very memorable event. Thank you to Makcaris Herne Bay for sponsoring the event and providing refreshments for our guests. Thank you Wild Daisy Florist for the beautiful wreath. Thank you to everyone who attended the service, some of whom came a very long way to be with us. Thank you to MHWcreative for capturing the event on film. And thank you to Mike McLaughlin Photography for taking the lovely pictures which you can access through the Facebook link: Facebook

STEM Ambassador

Project manager Jane Priston has joined the 30,000 volunteers who give their time illuminating futures by becoming a STEM Ambassador through STEMNET. She will be working with more schools in 2016 inspriring young people into STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) through Amy’s story.


BBC Radio Kent interview

Herne Bay Amy Johnson bronze statue: here’s a recording of BBC Radio Kent talking to Jane Priston and Simon Woollett from the Canterbury Divers this afternoon. There has been great interest in the project today following the piece in yesterday’s Sunday Express. Radio interview

The Amy Johnson Memorial Air Show – on the ground

The airshow is fast approaching and we are delighted to announce the list of exhibitors who will be with us on our special day.

CTC Aviation, a global airline pilot training and resourcing company – attending in partnership with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Easyjet. The Royal Aeronautical Society Careers and Education Team along with their Schools-Build-a-Plane Team will be joining us as well as retired Vulcan pilot, Paddy Langdown. The Women’s Engineering Society – Amy Johnson was president of WES between 1935-1937 and Croydon Airport Society – Amy Johnson took off from Croydon Airport on her epic flight to Australia in May 1930.  We are delighted to have Aerobility – a registered charity founded in 1993 offering disabled people, without exception, the opportunity to fly an aeroplane join us.  Please visit TG Arrows Scholarship, an inspirational local flying scholarship who are supporting young people who wish to learn to fly.  They will be selling raffle tickets for a flight in their Boeing Stearman, the same type of plane Tracey Curtis-Taylor will fly to Australia this year.  A highlight will be the chance to talk to the Red Arrows ground support team known as The Blues and buy a memento of the day from an Official Red Arrows merchandise outlet.

Project Manager, Jane Priston will be on site with Rick Welton from the Amy Johnson Festival and other team members.  Please come along to talk to us about the project and see Amy’s 1933 Standard Avon car, meet the Canterbury Divers and talk to them about the search for the wreckage of the plane and see the portfolio of drawings produced by Meltdowns, the fine art studio and foundry who are creating a full size bronze statue of Amy to mark the 75th anniversary of her death next year. Read more