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Joseph Sturge

The statue of Joseph Sturge stands in front of the Swallow Hotel at Five Ways. It was unveiled before a crowd of 12,000 on 4 June 1862. The sculptor John Thomas was not one of them, having left the work unfinished at his death.

Joseph Sturge (1793-1859) was one of Birmingham's greatest radicals. A Quaker, he campaigned tirelessly for peace, even visiting St. Petersburg in an attempt to avert the Crimean War. He was also an important member of the movement to obtain universal suffrage, at a time when the vote was limited to only a few (male) citizens. However, it was as a campaigner against slavery for which he is most fondly remembered. His family were much involved with trade in the Caribbean and Sturge knew only too well the continuing injustice of slavery.

Sturge's hand rests on a Bible. At his feet sit two female figures representing peace (holding an olive branch and a lamb) and charity (comforting a "slave" child). They, Sturge and their pedestal are of Portland stone and are Grade II listed.