Support for calls to repair Elsie Inglis’ grave

Elsie Inglis' grave in the Dean Cemetery can go largely unnoticed. Picture: Greg Macvean
Elsie Inglis' grave in the Dean Cemetery can go largely unnoticed. Picture: Greg Macvean
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SUPPORT has flooded in backing calls to see the grave of Edinburgh’s most famous daughter restored to its former glory.

We revealed yesterday how campaigners are aghast at the faded state of historical heroine Elsie Inglis’ headstone.

Today more voices backed calls for the headstone to be restored – with some even calling for Inglis to be commemorated with a statue.

Margaret Watt, of the Scottish Patient Association, said the medical pioneer deserves a place in history.

She said: “We should always honour the people who have gone before us, especially when she has achieved so much. More people need to know about what Elsie Inglis achieved and learn about her story.

“Inglis is one of our heroes and I think there should be money set aside and also have a statute of her in Edinburgh.

“We’re coming up to the Commonwealth Games and it would be nice if she could be honoured in time for tourists arriving so that people all over the world can learn about her achievements.

“She’s a forgotten lady and she should be brought to the fore – a lady of great prestige.”

Kate Joester, 35, from Granton, has been campaigning to see more statues of women erected across the Capital. Although there are hundreds of such monuments in Edinburgh only two are women – the statue of Queen Victoria at the bottom of Leith Walk, erected in 1907, and Anne Davidson’s anonymous African Woman and Child, unveiled in Festival Square in 1986.

Ms Joester said: “In Edinburgh. We have these amazing women to commemorate and we don’t do it – we are missing all these opportunities to celebrate women.

“With no information about Elsie Inglis out there, and with many schoolchildren not knowing who she is or what she achieved, she still came in at number two of the Edinburgh Evening News top 100 people.

“At the very least she should have a proper gravestone – and I think she deserves a statue.”

Pioneering doctor and suffragist Elsie Inglis – named the second greatest city citizen by the Evening News – risked her life to save those of countless soldiers on the battlefields of First World Europe.

But today, the name of the Capital’s greatest heroine is barely legible on her headstone in Dean Cemetery and the citation listing her achievements has been completely worn away.

Born in India, Inglis was 14 when her parents came to the Capital, where she established the George Square Nursing Home in 18909, which eventually merged with the Bruntsfield Hospital to provide a completely women’s health service in the city for the first time.

In the First World War, Inglis made sure that the injured and the dying received the basic medical care they would otherwise have been left without.

Tens of thousands were helped by field hospitals she set up in Serbia, Ukraine and Romania, acting with the support of the French and Serbian governments.

Her heroism, said Winston Churchill, would “shine forever in history”, while in Serbia she is a national hero.