How Glasgow was first to honour Sir Walter Scott

LAST week we looked at some of the many Glasgow connections of Sir Walter Scott, a writer who is mainly linked with Edinburgh and the Borders.

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There are several others still to be mentioned.

Crookston Castle, pictured, features in his novel, The Abbot, which states: "From the shadow of the adjacent Crookston yew, Mary, Queen of Scots views the defeat of her forces at the Battle of Langside, several miles away."

Unfortunately, from the novel's point of view, this could not have happened, as rising ground intrudes.

Scott, of course, is commemorated in the splendid statue that towers over George Square.

Completed in 1838, it stands on top of an 80ft-high column and was the first major municipal tribute to the writer.

In October 1837, the foundation stone was laid – and a huge crowd gathered to watch magistrates, university professors, sheriffs and represent-atives of civic bodies, flanked by soldiers from the 9th Lancers, take part in a procession up the Saltmarket to the square.

The Lord Provost, the Hon. William Mills, said: "We have performed an act which, while it honours the dead, at the same time honours the living.

"By erecting a monument to departed genius, we leave to our posterity a tangible proof that the generations among whom Sir Walter Scott lived were in so far worthy of him that they could appreciate his merits. We have been doing what more, perhaps, than any other act helps society forward in the road of social improvement. Every monument erected to a great and good man is an ever-fresh moral lesson to the public."

He added: "It may be pardoned us if we indulge in self-congratulation that while everywhere anxiety has been expressed to pay a tribute to Scott's memory, Glasgow has been the first to realise the honourable intention."

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