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 a statue 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.


  1. 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!


  2. 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…


    • 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.