Gallus Glasgow V: Victoria

Twelve statues stand in George Square in the centre of Glasgow. Only one is of a woman – Queen Victoria. I imagine most British cities have at least one of her. At least ours is a youngish, lively Victoria, sitting side-saddle on her horse, and not the unamused elderly widow (although you can see a version of her on the façade of the Royal Infirmary).

But only one statue of a woman in George Square? Shocking! Not only that, there are only three in the whole city, and of those just one is a native Glaswegian. Isabella Elder sits in Elder Park, which she donated to the people of Govan, and Spanish Civil War heroine La Pasionaria (Dolores Ibárruri) raises her arms by the Clyde.

Perhaps this will change soon. There is a campaign to raise a statue to Mary Barbour, heroine of the 1915 rent strikes, which could take our total to four. It’s progress.

A Queen today – in W tomorrow, we meet a Duke.


30 thoughts on “Gallus Glasgow V: Victoria

  1. Alex Hurst April 25, 2015 / 12:02

    That is a very small amount of women statues… but I think that may be true the world over. I know Kyoto only has a couple. One for an author, one for the inventor of Kabuki (yeah, it started as an all-female art!), and one for a poet.


    • Anabel Marsh April 25, 2015 / 12:58

      It’s shameful! There is a project in Scotland called Mapping Memorials which is tracing monuments to women.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah Ferguson April 25, 2015 / 13:57

    I live in a state where our capital has a woman standing atop it (and, come to think of it, went to Notre Dame for law school, where a woman stands atop a building and looks out over the whole campus!). While there are more statues of men, we do have a few prominent ones that aren’t!


    • Anabel Marsh April 25, 2015 / 14:26

      Is she a named woman? We have quite a few on public buildings which are idealised classical statues, the kind that represent Justice etc, but only the 3 “real” women.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sarah Ferguson April 26, 2015 / 18:58

        She is one of the representatives – Miss Forward (actually, I think she has some other name or isn’t named, but that’s what everyone calls her).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Nadine Feldman (@Nadine_Feldman) April 25, 2015 / 17:47

    Women sometimes get lost to history because their lives aren’t honored, even when they have made achievements that would cause men to be honored. (If that makes any sense.) Some years ago, when I returned to school and was writing a paper, discovered, some horrific sexism in the field of cosmology. The great work of women was routinely being ignored, minimized, or credited to a guy.


    • Anabel Marsh April 25, 2015 / 17:50

      That makes total sense, and is why I love volunteering with Glasgow Women’s Library so much. They are bringing the hidden histories out from the shadows.


  4. vannillarock April 25, 2015 / 18:17

    I love that you have la pasionaria statue. I features it and other Glasgow shots in a blog a long time ago (when my tagging was even worse than it is now – ie nonexistent !)
    Have a great weekend.


  5. Fee April 25, 2015 / 18:21

    Great post, as per! I absolutely adore that statue of Queen Victoria.


  6. Birgit April 26, 2015 / 00:00

    Glad Victoria looks so young and regal and not her usual “We are not amused” look. Men always decided the statues so I am not surprised but hopefully women will be noticed as they should be


  7. Donna April 26, 2015 / 04:35

    I wonder how many statues of Queen Victoria exist. We were surprised to see one when we were in Malta. At least Glasgow has statues of real women. The only statues of a women I know of in Minneapolis are the statue of Mary Richards (fictional character – from the Mary Tyler Moore show) downtown and the statue of Hiawatha carrying Minnehaha (based on the poem) in Minnehaha Park. I almost forgot, there’s at least a couple of the 105 commissioned 5 foot tall statues of Lucy Van Pelt (from the Peanuts comic strip) around town.


    • Anabel Marsh April 26, 2015 / 09:42

      Oh well, it sounds as if we are enlightened in comparison!


  8. Eli April 26, 2015 / 07:43

    That looks great Anabel. And i guess it is like that in many countries- few statues of women


    • Anabel Marsh April 26, 2015 / 09:46

      Far too few! Slowly being rectified – very slowly.


  9. jazzfeathers April 26, 2015 / 08:59

    In my city (Verona – Italy) there are two statues of women in one of the main squres (Piazza Erbe)… but they are unnamed women…


  10. clicksclan April 26, 2015 / 11:39

    I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never really paid much attention to the statues on George Square. I’ll have to actually look up next time I’m there!

    Cait @ Click’s Clan


  11. Celine Jeanjean April 28, 2015 / 00:48

    This reminds me of when they tried to remove women (other than the current queen) from bank notes, do you remember? There was a petition and now we have Jane Austen. It’s quite shocking really! I hope they add another statue of a woman some time soon…


    • Anabel Marsh April 28, 2015 / 07:27

      Yes, I do and I remember the abuse the woman who organised the banknote petition got too. Sir Alex Ferguson has just donated £5000 to the Mary Barbour statue fund so that should help – he comes from Govan in Glasgow, as she did.


  12. cassam101 April 28, 2015 / 16:04

    When I was young I was fascinated by the statues in George Sq. My aunt used to tell me stories about them and I now know she made most of them up.


  13. Sue Archer April 29, 2015 / 02:15

    There are so few statues of women – it’s pathetic! Offhand I can’t think of any near where I live. (Of course, we don’t have a lot of statues in general.) Love the statue of the Spanish Civil War heroine – such a different style!


    • Anabel Marsh May 12, 2015 / 19:27

      I’ll check that out later. I’ve just got on a train. Answering all your comments has been a nice way to pass the wait for it to arrive!


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