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London Prepares for the Arrival of Another US President

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Sunday, 29 May 2011

London Prepares for the Arrival of Another US President

This little building site in the south-west corner of Grosvenor Square in Mayfair will be the site of a celebration on July 4th this year.



The footing for a new statue of Ronald Reagan looks to be complete. The new statue has been paid for by The Ronald Reagan Foundation and is not a US government initiative.

The unveiling is just one event marking the centenary of President Reagan's birth. Details of other events from the Foundation here. The festivities have been partly sponsored by GE.

The cost of the statue, including  a payment to Westminster City Council for maintenance, is expected to be around £250, 000.

The sculptor of the ten foot bronze is Chas Fagan, this will be his only London work. More, on his website, here.

The statue of President Reagan will join two other Presidents in the Square, Eisenhower and Franklin  D Roosevelt.


The magnificent Roosevelt statue, which dominates the centre of the Square, is the work of William Reid Dick and was unveiled in 1948. The audience for the unveiling by Eleanor Roosevelt and the dedication by U.S. Ambassador Lewis W. Douglas, included the Royal Family, PM Clement Attlee and Sir Winston Churchill.

The remarkable thing about the statue was the way it was funded. Individual members of the British public responded to a radio appeal. Such was the public grief in Britain over Roosevelt's death that 160,000 individuals purchased a small souvenir brochure for 5 Shillings, equivalent to 25p. It took just six days from the first appeal to raise all the funds and that in a country still on rationing.

I wonder, if the Reagan Foundation had adopted a similar fund-raising strategy, just how long it would have taken to raise the funds for their new memorial?

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