A new statue of the late prime minister was pelted with eggs by Jeremy Webster, deputy director of the Attenborough Arts Centre at the University of Leicester.
This controversial Margaret Thatcher statue, originally planned to stand in Parliament Square but whose final location ended up being the Tory politician’s hometown of Grantham in Lincolnshire, has been egged by an angry arts centre director.
Jeremy Webster is deputy director of the Attenborough Arts Centre at the University of Leicester, and he’s not happy with the lifeless memorial to the much-loved and much-maligned former PM. Webster decided to take it upon himself to vandalise the £300,000 effigy by pelting it with eggs, whilst apparently having organised for a photographer to take photos of him doing it.
It seems the statue didn’t escape assault after all, even despite the City of Westminster council snubbing it in 2018, (probably quite reasonably) following the advice of the Metropolitan Police, who pointed out that the statue “is likely to be a focus for protesters and vulnerable to criminal damage [and recommended] changes to the design of the plinth to deter climbing”. The council would likely be forced to pay cleaners to scrub off graffiti and other detritus launched at the statue by protesters on a regular basis.
It would’ve been the first statue of a woman to be erected in Parliament Square, but the honour was instead bestowed on the likeness and memory of suffragist Millicent Fawcett in a statue sculpted by artist Gillian Wearing.
The statue of Thatcher, around 20ft high, stands in Grantham’s Civic Quarter between statues of the physicist Isaac Newton and the 19th-century politician Frederick Tollemache. “She and her family have close ties with Grantham,” Kelham Cooke, the leader of South Kesteven District Council, told the BBC, “It is, therefore, appropriate that she is commemorated by her home town and that the debate that surrounds her legacy takes place here in Grantham.”
The bronze statue, which shows the politician in the regalia she wore to receive her membership of Order of the Garter in 1995, was commissioned by the Public Memorials Appeal and funded through public donations. The Grantham Community Heritage Association, the educational charity which manages Grantham Museum, also raised money for the memorial.
Thatcher, who was in post from 1979 to 1990, was the longest serving Prime Minister of the 20th century. “Nine years on from her death in April 2013, her social and economic legacy continues to divide opinion, with strong feelings on both sides of the debate,” says the council website. In 2002, another statue of Thatcher by the artist Neil Simmons on display at Guildhall Art Gallery in London was decapitated by Paul Kelleher.