Elsie statue bid backed by city volunteer firm

Millicent Fawcett stands 8ft tall. Cast in bronze, she is the first statue of a woman in Parliament Square.

Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 6:00 am
Dr Elsie Inglis.
Dr Elsie Inglis.

And at the unveiling in London on April 24 – the world was watching.

With eyes and ears now tuned to the woeful lack of named women statues and the pursuit of increasing their number, Edinburgh’s moment is yet to come.

Still trailing behind the number of effigies of animals, the city has just two. And 
after asking readers who should be honoured, the Edinburgh Evening News launched a campaign to mark the impact of suffragist doctor Elsie Inglis – and re-address the balance in stone.

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And now the volunteer agency that Elsie once governed over 100 years ago is backing the campaign.

For ten years Elsie, known for setting up the Scottish Women’s Hospitals during the First World War, was also a member of the governing council of the then named Edinburgh Charity Organisation Society (ECOS).

And now Edinburgh Voluntary Organistions’ Council (EVOC) have announced their support in erecting a statue of the medical pioneer.

EVOC chief executive Ella Simpson said: “Elsie Inglis is an extraordinary figure in the history of Edinburgh and our city’s charities.

“In the process of uncovering EVOC’s heritage to mark our 150th anniversary, we have rediscovered our links with Elsie, who helped to improve conditions for Edinburgh’s poorest residents, especially mothers and their families.

“A statue of Elsie Inglis would not only be a fitting tribute, but a reminder for generations to come of the importance of what is now known as the third sector and the positive force for change that it can achieve.”

EVOC said that in the 1860s one in ten children didn’t live to see their fifth birthday.

As part of the governing council, Elsie would have brought her own expertise to the organisation and was able to help the drive to reduce infant and early childhood mortality.

On behalf of ECOS she also organised lectures for health visitors and for mothers.

The Lord Provost, Frank Ross, said: “Last year I called for businesses and citizens of Edinburgh to help us create a new tribute to Elsie Inglis as a statue to stand tall for at least another century to come. I’m delighted therefore that EVOC has publicly announced their support today and I would encourage others to follow their example.”