Eye Spy Glasgow: why Doctor Wilson's a familiar face around Ibrox

The Glasgow weather and the city's birds are no respecters of the great and the good, especially those immortalised in stone.

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Thousands regularly pass the drinking fountain statue in honour of Dr James Wilson as they make their way to nearby Ibrox stadium.

It is a striking memorial but what did the good doctor do to deserve all the attention his granite statue receives.

Bird droppings and weather corrosion are bad enough.

But it is also a favourite target of graffiti vandals and revellers with a traffic cone to spare.

So how many of the pedestrians who pass the statue at the corner of Edmiston Drive and Hinshelwood Drive know who Dr Wilson was?

Born in Glasgow in 1852, he studied the Arts at Glasgow University before switching to medicine and graduating in 1884.

After that he spent his entire working life as a GP in Govan, treating the people of the town, including the thousands of shipyard workers.

He also served on Govan Town Council before it became part of Glasgow in 1912.

Dr Wilson lived in Walmer Crescent in Ibrox and died at home after suffering a stroke at the relatively young age of 54.

So respected was he that money was raised by public subscription to pay for the statue which was unveiled in 1907, a year after his death.

The fountain was the work of Glasgow sculptor John P Main and comprises a bronze bust on a pedestal of pink granite.

Three inscriptions sum up the contribution of the good doctor to the area.

One reads: "James Wilson MA BSC MBCM, a distinguished scholar of Glasgow University and for twenty-one years an eminent medical practitioner in Govan."

On the south face the inscription reads: "Born 1852 died 1906. Honoured and esteemed for his devotion to duty, zeal for the public good and his generous sympathy and help to the suffering and distressed."

Finally: "Erected 1907 by public subscription as attribute to his worth and in appreciation of his life and work."

All of which speak volumes of the man and his unstinting service on behalf of the people of Govan.

It would be good if the weather, the birds and the vandals would now leave the poor fellow in peace.


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