Elsie Inglis: Edinburgh’s medical trailblazer Elsie Inglis to have long-awaited statue placed on Royal Mile after £50k raised

She is the Scottish medical trailblazer, war-time heroine and leading figure in the women’s suffrage movement.

By Gary Flockhart
Monday, 9th May 2022, 4:43 pm
Scottish doctor and suffragist Dr Elsie Inglis will be celebrated with a statue in her hometown of Edinburgh.
Scottish doctor and suffragist Dr Elsie Inglis will be celebrated with a statue in her hometown of Edinburgh.

Now Dr Elsie Inglis will be fully recognosed in her hometown of Edinburgh when a long-awaited statue is erected on the historic Royal Mile.

It comes after a huge effort by ‘Team Elsie’ to raise £50,000 succeeded.

The statue will be placed near where the doctor and surgeon, who set up 14 Scottish Women’s hospitals on the frontline in the First World War, established her first hospital, at 219 High Street.

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Team Elsie was assisted by various politicians, organisations and groups in trying to raise the funds. The likes of tennis coach Judy Murray and bestselling author Sara Sheridan also lent their support.

The £50,000 raised will go towards the cost of creating the statue and having a 'digital beacon' installed.

The ‘digital beacon’ will provide additional information on the history of Dr Inglis, the Scottish Women's Hospitals, and the achievements of the many pioneering women involved.

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There are more than 43 statues of men in Edinburgh city centre but only two statues of women – one of Queen Victoria at the Foot o' the Walk, and one of Helen Crummy, founder of the Craigmillar Festival Society.

Thea Laurie and Fiona Garwood co-founded the campaign ‘A statue for Elsie Inglis’ in 2020.

When the Covid-19 pandemic postponed a planned history trip to visit the sites across Europe where Dr Inglis is celebrated, they had the idea instead to make sure she is remembered in her hometown.

The Lord Provost, Frank Ross, had previously started fundraising for a statue in 2017, following the anniversary to mark 100 years after Dr Inglis had died.

Team Elsie then came to life.

Laurie, clearly delighted after all the hard work paid off, said: “We are staggered at the success of the crowdfunder bringing in the final amount.

“To everyone who has contributed – whether it was time, money or effort – a big thank you for getting us over the line.

“When we started this out, we were just two wee Edinburgh ladies who were very interested in history and felt there was this gap for statues for women and also a gap in the city recognising women.

“Edinburgh doesn’t have symbols of women, just old men sitting on horses, which means there are no female figures that our younger generation can look to emulate and admire.

“Dr Inglis is the perfect representative for women in Edinburgh.

“Her achievements in philanthropy and her efforts during World War One are just exceptional. She was a woman who would not be told to sit still and know her place.

“It is an absolutely brilliant achievement by everyone involved. From Jenny Minto MSP to Linda Bauld, Judy Murray, Sara Sheridan and the Lord Provost Frank Ross.

“In all honesty, every member of Team Elsie did their part and there are too many people to thank.

“I think Edinburgh has to say thank you to this woman as she is an outstanding person who did outstanding work for the people of Edinburgh.”