On stage at the theatre of state : the monuments and memorials in Parliament Square, London
This thesis concerns Parliament Square in the City of Westminster, London. It is situated to the west of the Houses of Parliament (or New Palace at Westminster) and to the north of St. Margaret’s Church and Westminster Abbey. This urban space was first cleared at the start of the nineteenth-century and became a “square” in the 1860s according to designs by Edward Middleton Barry (1830-80). It was replanned by George Grey Wornum (1888-1957) in association with the Festival of Britain (1951). In 1998 Norman Foster and Partners drew up an (as yet) unrealised scheme to pedestrianise the south side closest to the Abbey. From the outset it was intended to erect statues of statesmen (sic) in this locale. The text examines processes of commissioning, execution, inauguration and reaction to memorials in this vicinity. These include: George Canning (Richard Westmacott, 1832), Richard I (Carlo Marochetti, 1851-66), Sir Robert Peel (Marochetti, 1853-67; Matthew Noble, 1876), Thomas Fowell Buxton (Samuel Sanders Teulon, 1865), fourteenth Earl of Derby (Matthew Noble, 1874), third Viscount Palmerston (Thomas Woolner, 1876), Benjamin Disraeli (Mario Raggi, 1883), Oliver Cromwell (William Hamo Thornycroft, 1899), Abraham Lincoln (Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1887/1920), Emmeline Pankhurst (Arthur George Walker, 1930), Jan Christian Smuts (Jacob Epstein, 1956) and Winston Churchill (Ivor Roberts-Jones, 1973) as well as possible future commemorations to David Lloyd George and Margaret Thatcher. Parliament Square has consistently been characterised as a “sacred”, memory-laden site. It is analogous to a public park. In the thesis it is envisioned as a ‘stage at the theatre of state’ and dramatic moments of authorized celebration and unsanctioned behaviour are narrated throughout the text. Occasions of official rite and ritual are accordingly paralleled by irreverent irruptions, concluding with the ‘Reclaim the Streets’ protests of 1 May 2000.