Eleanor Rathbone Artwork Unveiling

Earlier inside the Walled Gardens of Greenbank Park in Liverpool, three quotes from Eleanor Rathbone were unveiled by the artist Lulu Quinn. The park was once part of the Rathbone Estate.  Eleanor grew up in a house just opposite the gardens, but is now part of Liverpool University.

Eleanor Florence Rathbone (1872 – 1946) was one of the 20th century’s greatest humanitarian activists, who throughout her working life sought to improve the lives of the underrepresented in society, regardless of race, religion or gender.

As a fearless and determined feminist, suffragist, pioneering social and welfare reformer and Independent MP from 1929, she followed her conscience and the family motto, ‘what ought to be done can be done’.

Most notably, her 25 year campaign for a universal benefit to be paid to mothers succeeded with the passing of the Family Allowance Act in 1945. Less well known is her relentless campaigning on behalf of refugees in and from Fascist and Nazi occupied Europe, before and during the Second World War, which earned her the soubriquet, especially amongst the Jewish refugee community, ‘MP for refugees’.

The quotations from Eleanor Rathbone on which the artwork is based are:

“..the overmastering desire of all these poor victims is to find some place where they can be allowed to settle down, to feel at home, to live the remnant of their wrecked lives in peace and safety.” 1945

“..the struggle for the right to become politicians in itself made women politicians.” 1931

“..the whole business of begetting, bearing and rearing children is the most essential of all the nation’s businesses.”  1924

The unveiling was attended by Cllr Malcolm Kennedy, Cllr Ann O’Byrne, Louise Ellman MP, Lesley Urbach from the Remembering Eleanor Rathbone Campaign, Lynn Collins secretary of the North West TUC, Cllr Laura Robertson Collins, Dr Susan Cohen, Lesley Woodbridge Liverpool City Council Public Art Officer amongst others.

The work has been created out of Corten steel sheets. Corten is used in shipbuilding -a reference to Eleanor’s family business .It is a material that will slowly age and deepen in colour gaining an attractive coppery patina. The current state of the artwork is it in its unfinished state, and will take approx 2-4 weeks to naturally change.

Greenbank Councillor Laura Robertson-Collins said: “Eleanor Rathbone was a towering and inspirational figure and we wanted to make sure her words lived on.”

For more information on Eleanor please visit the Wikipedia link below:-


For the photo’s of the unveling please visit the link below:-

Lulu Quinn with artwork

For a video of the speeches visit my You tube link below:-


Author: James O'Hanlon

Liverpool photographer and local history fan. I will attend events of varied types and post them on this blog.

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