Search collection
Advanced search

'Westminster Hall and St Stephen's Porch'
Illustrated London News, 1853
WOA 5275

Charles Barry’s richly decorated Victorian Gothic building made the search for an appropriate site for a new artwork no easy task. However, Branson kept returning to one location – a large, arched compartment in St Stephen’s Porch at the southern end of Westminster Hall.

The St Stephen's Porch site, 2015
Photo: Grant Wakefield

Branson’s chosen space sits above the entrance to St Stephen’s Hall in an area closely associated with women’s suffrage campaigning and protests.  Despite occupying a prominent location on the public route through the building, the site had remained empty and overlooked since its completion in the 1850s.

Women's suffrage postcard published by the Suffrage Atelier, c.1909-14
From LSE Library's collections, TWL.2002.226

By illuminating a previously shadowy space, Branson wants New Dawn to bring light to the dark just as the fight for voting rights for women sought to replace prejudice with equality.

The artist sketching in St Stephen's Hall, 2014
Photo: UK Parliament/Liz Otto

"I kept on gravitating to this area, which is the entrance to the corridor where many of the suffragette protests took place – it was like a corridor of power." Mary Branson