Street art tribute to suffragette martyr may not be created in centenary year

Emily Davidson Pic: Wikipedia

A mural commemorating the centenary of universal suffrage and funded by Ladywell Assembly may not be painted within the anniversary year because of delays to the repairs of the site.

The black and white mural of suffragette Emily Davison – famous for throwing herself under the King’s  horse at the Derby – was due to be painted under a bridge on Elmira Street in Ladywell but has been delayed while Network Rail makes repairs to the wall on which the mural was due to be created by local street artists.

Emily Davidson Pic: Wikipedia

A spokesperson for Network Rail said: “We have scheduled these into our programme of work to take place by the end of January 2019 at the latest. We are fully behind the idea for a mural to commemorate the Suffrage movement.”

Ladywell Street Art, the organisation behind the project, was commissioned by the Ladywell Assembly over a year ago to create the mural in line with the centenary year of women’s suffrage.

Vicky Foxcroft, MP for Lewisham Deptford, said: “It is very disappointing that repairs may not be completed within the centenary year, especially as this was approved by the local community at the Ladywell Assembly.”

Suffragette mural in Ladywell Pic: Lisa Henderson 

She continued: “I can assure you that I will continue to push Network Rail to assure the repairs happen as soon as possible and the mural can be completed.”

Ladywell Street Art was earlier granted funding from the Assembly to produce the “Welcome to Ladywell” mural on the other side of Elmira Street under the bridge.

They were granted license by Network Rail to paint the sign under the bridge and encouraged other artists to get in touch with them about their ideas.

However, Network Rail has been forced to prioritise repairs: “Our maintenance budgets have to be spent on priority cases, especially repairs which are needed for safety reasons. Unfortunately, the guttering work does not fall into that category therefore, it will be completed within our standard 16-week target.”

Emily Davison was born not far from Ladywell in Blackheath, in 1872. She joined the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), founded by Emmeline Pankhurst, in 1906.

During her time in the suffrage movement, she was frequently arrested for acts ranging from burning post boxes to causing public disturbances. However, she was most renowned for throwing herself in front of the King’s horse in the Epsom Derby, in 1913. She was trampled on and died on June 8 from her injuries. This year marks 100 years of female suffrage.

Mural under the bridge on Elmira Street. Pic: Lisa Henderson

Leave a Reply