Location: Rochdale, Greater Manchester
Artist: Sean Hedges-Quinn
A life-sized sculpture of entertainer Gracie Fields, the world’s highest-paid female actor in the 1930s, was unveiled outside Rochdale’s Town Hall Square on 18 September 2016. It was the first statue of a woman to be erected in Greater Manchester in more than 100 years. The statue was made by sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn, who based the statue on the global icon’s look during the 1940s.
Gracie Fields was born above a Rochdale fish and chip shop in 1898, often performed to crowds on her many return visits to the town during her travelling performances for the troops during the second world war. Gracie preferred the stage to the screen, so Sean wanted to depict her on stage. He further wanted to capture her energy and mannerisms, such as the fact that she swished her skirt a lot when she was performing.