By indexer
109 days ago

La Delivrance: a statue in North London

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It is always a good idea for drivers to keep their eyes on the road, but sometimes that is not so easy. One such distraction in North London is offered by a 16-foot-high bronze statue of a naked woman standing on tiptoe with arms outstretched, holding a sword that points straight upwards. It stands on a small patch of grass close to the junction of Regent’s Park Road and the North Circular Road.

Known locally simply as “the naked lady” its proper title is “La Délivrance”. It was the work of French sculptor Emile Guillaume (1867-1942) and commemorates the victory of Allied forces against Germany at the First Battle of the Marne in September 1914. This battle saved Paris from being overrun by the Germans but led to four years of costly trench warfare in north-east France and Belgium.

So what is a memorial to a battle near Paris doing in leafy Finchley?

The bronze is actually one of eleven that were originally cast in France in 1919 with the intention that one should stand in each of the cities worst affected by the German occupation. However, the nudity of the statue caused problems and not every city was willing to accept the offering.

The sculptor exhibited a copy in Paris, where it was seen and bought by Harold Harmsworth, the first Lord Rothermere and co-founder of the “Daily Mail” newspaper. He wanted to present it to the Urban District of Finchley. There was considerable disagreement over where it should be sited, and the current location, right on the edge of Finchley, was Lord Rothermere’s choice, as it was on the route he followed when going to visit his mother.

The statue was unveiled by David Lloyd George, former Prime Minister, on 20th October 1927. It raised a few eyebrows and led to much condemnation in the editorials and letters pages of the local press, as being thought inappropriate for a genteel North London suburb, but nobody could challenge the will of a powerful press baron such as Lord Rothermere.

So there the statue remains to this day, plonked down on a road junction many miles from the site of a battle in which British troops played only a minor part. It would not be there at all were it not for a sudden whim on the part of a newspaper magnate.
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carmen3521 nice.. good content
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fjclemente Interesante información
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dorageorg 😃😃😃
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AnceAne Very beautiful article and usefull, never been there before but maybe one day I will visit it
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Shavkat It is a very informative article.
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Nevena83 nice information
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