John McLellan: Elsie Inglis statue fund needs donations

Dr Elsie Inglis, who died in 1917
Dr Elsie Inglis, who died in 1917
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There has been a suggestion that an abstract cycling sculpture be erected on the widened pavement at the new Meadowbank Terrace junction, and I also suggested it might be a suitable home for a recently proposed statue of boxer Ken Buchanan who trained across the road.

But a constituent, Mrs Reid of Ulster Crescent, wrote to suggest that a statue of pioneering medic and Suffragette leader Dr Elsie Inglis would be appropriate, given the proximity of the old Elsie Inglis Memorial Maternity Hospital on Spring Gardens.

There is agreement that in the centenary of Votes for Women there should be a proper memorial for someone who did so much for equality and women’s health, as well as her extensive humanitarian work during World War One, and the Evening News launched a campaign last year to raise £50,000 through the One City Trust.

READ MORE: Meadowbank set to get £22,000 cycling sculpture

Despite support in the Scottish Parliament two months ago, the fund has so far only reached £1,300.

Expectation is a site on the High Street, near where her original maternity unit was established in 1904, but even though the memorial hospital didn’t open until seven years after Dr Inglis’s death in 1917, the prominent site on London Road would create a much-needed focal point for the area and help create a sense of civic pride as well.

But as another memorial was unveiled for a male military figure, the airport statue of test pilot Captain Eric Brown, if the money for an Elsie Inglis statue isn’t raised there won’t be one anywhere.

READ MORE: John McLellan: Cyclist statue may be too pricey