Glasgow is blessed with a monument, an icon, which few other cities can boast. Its importance to the international face of the Glasgow is such that you’ll notice it amongst the mosaic of views that sits at the top of the city’s Wikipedia entry, charming visitors from around the world, on postcards and t-shirts, and in graphic panels in the top department stores. Natives and tourists alike love the traffic cone that has been occupying the head of the equestrian statue of Wellington in Queen Street for nearly thirty years.

Many other cities which share Glasgow’s level of confidence, vitality and outward-looking aspirations, would dearly love to have acquired an icon with such obvious character. For what makes the Wellington cone (and its cult) unique is that it is not a city-symbol commissioned and executed by the dead hand of the institutional. It is not something bequeathed by committee from above – it is something that has risen organically from below, and it says more (by the simple juxtaposition of two otherwise unconnected objects) about the ingenuity, vitality, boldness and humour of Glasgow’s citizens than any amount of introspective displays in the city’s museums or sanctioned artwork could ever hope to. A better, more succinct representation of the word ‘gallus’ would be impossible to imagine.

We recognise that there are structural and preservation issues that need to be addressed around the Wellington Statue. We also recognise that constant removal of the cone is a financial burden for Glasgow City Council. But we do not believe that the appearance of the cone constitutes ‘vandalism’ in any substantial, destructive or irreversible way. There must be another route to take than removing the cone and reconfiguring the plinth in such a way that it can never return.

We are presently considering what form our campaign to have the issue reconsidered will take, and will update here as matters develop. In the meantime, we would like to hear suggestions from those here, and the wider public, as to what the way ahead should be for the Iron Duke and his cone.

Sometimes citizens create their own city icons, and sometimes they are imposed on them. Glasgow is lucky to have this thing – let’s not let it go.

(more info at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-24901596)

Update: in one of the most speedy about-turns we can remember, Glasgow City Council has ditched the relevant planning application. End of story...?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-24907190

Update 2: For a more informed insight into the original rationale for the proposed GCC conservation works, the report (as linked) below is worth reading.

http://www.andywightman.com/docs/13_02572_DC-DEIGN_BUSUNESS-3032322.pdf

Question: How do you safely secure a plastic cone to a Listed Bronze sculpture without either permanently damaging the sculpture or encouraging people to climb on the horse and cause further damage?