Pictures: Yuri Gagarin spaceman statue unveiled in London

13:28 14 July 2011

A statue of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin has been unveiled in London 50 years from when the Russian met the Queen

A statue of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin has been unveiled in London 50 years from when the Russian met the Queen

Archant

A statue of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, has been unveiled in London.

The statue outside the British Council’s headquarters in the Mall, Westminster, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight.

Its unveiling by Prince Michael of Kent and the cosmonaut’s daughter Elena Gagarina comes 50 years to the day after Gagarin met with Queen as part of his visit to the UK in 1961.

A gift from the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos), the statue shows Gagarin standing on a globe in his space suit and is a copy of an original 1984 work which is located in Russia.

The statue will stand in the Mall for the next 12 months, the site having been chosen to reflect Gagarin’s achievement. It faces the statue of Captain Cook on the opposite side of the Mall and is close to the statue of Navigation in the wall of Admiralty Arch.

Martin Davidson, chief executive of the British Council, said: “We are delighted to welcome this statue of Yuri Gagarin to London and to celebrate what was an extraordinary breakthrough for mankind.

“Russia and the UK are at their best when working together culturally and economically. Placing this statue in London is just one example of the goodwill and co-operation that exists between our countries.”

Elena Gagarina said: “I am very proud to be unveiling a statue to my father in a city that welcomed him so warmly 50 years ago; and delighted that the spirit of adventure and the imaginative leap into the unknown which his flight exemplified are being honoured by Londoners today.”

Universities and science minister David Willetts said: “The statue unveiled today is a fitting memorial to a true pioneer of our time, and also serves as an emblem to the greater collaboration with the Russian space agency agreed during my visit to Moscow earlier this year.

“The UK Russia Year of Space will see our countries working together on exciting research and education projects, and I hope this statue further inspires our next generation of space scientists.”

Yuri Gagarin was 27 when he went into space on board Vostok 1, his space capsule travelling at 27,400 kilometres per hour and orbiting the Earth in 108 minutes.

On landing, he became the most famous man on the planet but died in a plane crash aged just 34.

In addition to the statue, the British Council is showing an exhibition, entitled Gagarin in Britain, on the cosmonaut’s life and the early Soviet space programme.

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
A body is removed from Picardy house on Cedar Road in Enfield (Sophie Halle-Richards/PA Wire)

A man who was shot dead by police in Enfield after allegedly wielding a firearm in a block of flats has been named as James Fox.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Do you recognise this man? (Photo: Metropolitan Police)

Detectives are looking for the man in this CCTV picture after a man was viciously attacked with a belt on Brick Lane.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
A naval vessel outside the ExCeL exhibition centre at an earlier Defence and Security Exhibition in 2011.  Other exhibits included an F16 fighter jet (Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

One of the world’s biggest arms fairs is coming to the ExCel centre in east London later this month, and more than 1,000 protestors are already planning to oppose it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Flowers and tributes left at Bank junction where a cyclist suffered a  fatal collision with a HGV earlier this year (Photo: Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has today announced a whole raft of new safety measures designed to protect cyclists and pedestrians from heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and said the Safer Lorry Scheme could go even further, and stop them from taking dangerous left turns.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Trains to and from Waterloo could be delayed by up to half an hour (Picture: Carl Court/Getty)

South West trains may be delayed, cancelled or disrupted after a person was hit by a train between Twickenham and Feltham this morning.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Shop till you drop!

Home to top name brands at great prices, TK Maxx is more like a treasure hunt than a shop. Perfect for grabbing a bargain or some hidden gems, you arm yourself with a trolley and go wild.

Read more
Scones, jam and a cup of Earl Grey anyone?

Luxury boutique hotel Flemings Mayfair has recently launched The Drawing Room, London’s most stylish location for afternoon tea.

Read more
Free weekly shop? Yes please!

Win £200 to spend at Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets. Asda prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here.

Read more