November 27, 2020 5.40 pm This story is over 42 months old

Council to spend £100k on Thatcher statue unveiling

Bronze statue will honour Iron Lady

South Kesteven District Council leaders will approve a £100,000 spend on an event to unveil the new Margaret Thatcher statue in Grantham.

The £300,000 bronze statue of the Iron Lady was brought to the town by Grantham Museum, SKDC and a Public Memorials Appeal.

It was originally destined for display in London but it will now be on a 10ft plinth on St Peter’s Hill Green in the Lincolnshire town.

The £100,000 unveiling event, said documents, will be used to promote “inspirational women of South Kesteven” — including the first female police officer Edith Smith and Duke of Wellington friend and advisor Harriet Arbuthnot.

“The statue is expected to attract many visitors to the area which will increase Grantham and South Kesteven’s status as a destination for tourism with the associated benefits that brings,” said the report.

“An increase in visitor numbers to the area will boost the local economy and benefit our local shops and businesses.

“The interest from visitors to the area will support Grantham Museum and enable them to develop their permanent Margaret Thatcher exhibition which already attracts thousands of people each year.”

Sculptor Douglas Jennings applying the finishing touches to the statue when it was created.

The costs of holding “an event of this scale” said officers were “balanced against the potential benefit of commemorating one of the most famous people to have come from Grantham, and the opportunity for the statue and unveiling event to attract global attention”.

They said not holding an event would be a missed opportunity due to the attention expected.

Once unveiled the council will take on ownership and maintenance of the statue.

The statue was approved in February 2019, despite concerns she would be targeted by “politically-motivated” vandals.

Recommendations at the time said it should be placed on a “sufficiently high plinth” and in easy view, in a bid to avoid it being attacked.

According to reports the statue would be placed on a 3.2 metre high plinth, making it over 6.4 metres tall in total.

| Photo: Getty Images

Margaret Thatcher (nee Roberts) was born and raised in Grantham and attended Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School, before gaining a scholarship to study at Oxford University.

Her father Alfred, a grocer, was mayor from 1945 to 1946. She entered the House of Lords in 1992. She was Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990.

Plans to build the statue on Parliament Square, in London, were previously rejected by Westminster Council due to the fear of it being targeted by protestors.