A new statue of one of Britain’s most divisive prime ministers has been lowered into place – despite threats of eggs being chucked at it. The £300,000 statue of Baroness Margaret Thatcher is due to be unveiled in her home town of Grantham, Lincolnshire.
Baroness Thatcher, who died aged 87 in April 2013, was Britain’s first female prime minister and the country’s longest-serving in the 20th century, winning three general elections. But the Conservative’s legacy of ella is controversial-ella having overseen mass privatization and the decline of industry in many towns across the country.
The statue had originally been intended for Parliament Square in Westminster, but has now been lowered into place on a 10ft-high granite plinth in Grantham. Its unveiling has been delayed due to the pandemic, with the plans unanimously approved back in February 2019.
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Reports originally presented to South Kesteven District Council showed the statue was moved to the area due to fears of a ‘motivated far-left movement… who may be committed to public activism’. After a large-scale £100,000 unveiling ceremony was approved by the council in 2020, a Facebook group proposing an ‘egg-throwing contest’ at the event attracted interest from more than 13,000 people.
Around 2,400 others visited the Facebook page to say they would go to the event including ‘egg throwing … and potentially graffiti art’. A CCTV camera has been installed directly opposite the memorial to attempt to combat any threats of vandalism, the council says.
Before planning permission was given to the statue, the only marking of Baroness Thatcher in the town was a plaque on the corner of North Parade and Broad Street to show where she was born. A council spokesman said the Public Memorials Appeal, which funded the monument through donations, will host an official unveiling ceremony at a later date.
Leader of South Kesteven District Council Kelham Cooke said ‘we must never hide from our history’, adding it is ‘appropriate the debate that surrounds her legacy takes place here in Grantham’. He added: “This memorial statue of the late Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven will be a fitting tribute to a truly unique political figure.
“Margaret Thatcher will always be a significant part of Grantham’s heritage. She and her family de ella have close ties with Grantham. She was born, raised and went to school here.
“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. We must never hide from our history and this memorial will be a talking point for generations to come.”
The statue stands at just over 20ft high. It will be situated in between two existing statues of Sir Isaac Newton and Frederick Tollemache in the town’s Civic Quarter.
Mr Cooke added: “We hope that this memorial will encourage others to visit Grantham and to see where she lived and visit the exhibition of her life in Grantham Museum. This is about inspiring, educating and informing people about someone who represents a significant part of Grantham’s heritage.”
The Grantham Community Heritage Association (GCHA), an educational charity which manages the Grantham Museum, spent a number of years raising money for a permanent memorial to Baroness Thatcher. Graham Jeal, of the GCHA, said: “There has long been a conversation in Grantham about a more permanent memorial to the country’s first female prime minister who was an enormous political figure, both nationally and internationally.
“The delivery of the memorial has secured the museum for the next few years and has helped the museum finances survive the Covid pandemic. It is recognized that the full spectrum of views exist in Grantham about the legacy of Margaret Thatcher and an exhibition inside the museum illustrates this.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.