City centre sculpture to honour LGBT icon Edward Carpenter

The LGBT ‘pioneer’ Edward Carpenter is to be honoured with a sculpture in Sheffield city centre marking his 175th birthday.

Contemporary artist Maggi Hambling will create the piece which will serve as a permanent memorial to the city’s LGBT pioneer Edward Carpenter. The Friends of Edward Carpenter has secured backing from Sheffield council, and is attempting to raise £175,000 to commission the artwork and have it installed.

Known affectionately as the ‘gay godfather of the left’, Edward was credited for the liberation movement of the 20th century. He also advocated feminism, nudism, vegetarianism, birth control, recycling and railed against air pollution.

Edward, who was born in Sussex, moved to Sheffield and founded the Sheffield Socialist Society whilst working on a number of projects which highlighted the poor living conditions of industrial workers in the city.

Maggi said of the project: “My sculpture will respond to Carpenter’s brave and ceaseless campaign for the emancipation of men and women regardless of background, sex or sexuality. I hope it will provide a presence that encourages a conversation and continuing enquiry into the seminal work of the sculpture’s subject.”

Chief executive of LGBT+ youth charity SAYiT Steve Slack said: “Sheffield never gave Edward Carpenter any civic recognition despite several attempts to do so. We are delighted that Maggi Hambling will enable us to provide the memorial in the city he deserves. It is especially poignant given that year is the 175th anniversary of his birth.

“How fantastic that we have such a fabulous artist working with us. We are determined to make this happen and when the sculpture is unveiled, it will be a day of celebration and pride for our city.”

The location of the sculpture is under wraps for now. Check back in with Exposed for updates.

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