London has unveiled the monument to the world’s first spaceman, Russia’s pride Yury Gagarin, in front of the British Council Mall headquarters on Thursday, July 14. It is planned that the statue will be on display in London just for one year.
The British Council and the Mayor of London’s Office decided to mark the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight and also the 50th anniversary of the cosmonaut’s visit to Britain.
The monument is a gift from the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos and after the display in London it will stay in the UK with its new location to be announced.
The statue of aluminum-zinc alloy on a white Portland stone pedestal was placed near a memorial to James Cook, the great British explorer. It is an exact replica of the monument created by Russian sculptor Anantoly Novikov in 1984 to celebrate the cosmonaut’s 50th birthday (he died in a plane crash in 1968 aged 34).
The original stands in Luyberty, Moscow Region where the first man in space studied at a technical school. The figure depicts the cosmonaut standing on a globe wearing his flight suit.
The ceremony comes as part of Yury Gagarin Week in London and was attended by a delegation from Russia, including Yury Gagarin’s daughter Elena Gagarina; cosmonaut Sergey Krikalyov, who spent a total of over 800 days in orbit; the new head of Roscosmos Vladimir Popovkin and Natalya Koroleva, the daughter of the Sergey Korolev, the Chief Constructor of the Vostok 3KA spaceship that secured Gagarin a successful flight and safe return to Earth. From the British side, the unveiling ceremony was attended by Prince Michael of Kent who represented the Queen, and the Chief Executive of the British Council Michael Davidson.
The delegation from Roscosmos is in London on an official visit and has already met representatives of the United Kingdom Space Agency, during which the two countries’ representatives discussed co-operation in space exploration.