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Statue of George Orwell facts for kids

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George Orwell
Orwell McBeath.jpg
Artist Martin Jennings
Year 2017; 4 years ago (2017)
Type Bronze
Location London, W1
United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°31′08″N 0°08′34″W / 51.5188°N 0.1429°W / 51.5188; -0.1429Coordinates: 51°31′08″N 0°08′34″W / 51.5188°N 0.1429°W / 51.5188; -0.1429

A statue of George Orwell by the British sculptor Martin Jennings was unveiled on 7 November 2017 outside Broadcasting House, the headquarters of the BBC, in London.

The wall behind the statue is inscribed with Orwell's words "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear", from an unused preface to Animal Farm. The head of BBC history, Robert Seatter, said of Orwell and the statue that "He reputedly based his notorious Room 101 from Nineteen Eighty-Four on a room he had worked in whilst at the BBC, but here he will stand in the fresh air reminding people of the value of journalism in holding authority to account".

Creation

The statue was funded by a trust established by the Labour MP Ben Whitaker, with all funds coming from private donors. Notable donors to the trust included Ian McEwan, Andrew Marr, Ken Follett, Rowan Atkinson, Neil and Glenys Kinnock, Tom Stoppard, David Hare and Michael Frayn. In 2012 the BBC had rejected the offer of the statue, reportedly due to the opposition of the then Director-General, Mark Thompson. The project was revived under the current director-general, Tony Hall. Whitaker died in 2014 and the project was continued by his wife, Janet Whitaker, Baroness Whitaker.

Jennings was chosen as the sculptor because Whitaker admired his sculptures of John Betjeman at St Pancras station and Philip Larkin in Hull. Jennings said that Orwell was "...an ideal subject for a sculptor: loomingly tall, skinny as a rake, forever [with] Cigarette in hand, body leaning in to make a point. He wore the kind of clothes that might have spent their off-duty hours hanging from a nail in the potting shed".

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