Address: Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow, G1 3AH
Opening hours: Always open; almost always has a cone on his head
The Duke of Wellington statue, almost always with a bright orange traffic cone on his head, is a Glasgow icon. You can’t possibly visit Glasgow without taking a trip to see The Duke!
Standing outside the Gallery of Modern art in Royal Exchange Square, the Duke of Wellington statue in Glasgow is one of several iconic monuments built in honour of one of Britain’s most distinguished historical figures.
But this Duke of Wellington statue is not just another monument; in fact it is it is quite unlike others of it’s kind.
Some time during the 80’s, the Duke acquired a bright orange traffic cone, which he worn for most of the last 30 years. The unusual appendage is widely believed to have been the handiwork of a drunk student or two, but it’s presence has given the statue worldwide fame, and it is not listed in the Lonely Planet books as being amongst the world’s oddest monuments.
The Duke, as he is affectionately known, has come to symbolise the city itself, and the practice of placing a cone on the equestrian statue has become a long-standing tradition. The coned statue represents both the typical Glaswegian irreverent sense of humour, and a symbolic affront to authority and pomposity.
In 2012 the statue was adorned with a commemorative golden cone to mark Scottish athletes’ impressive medal haul during the London Olympics. However, over the last 30 years city authorities have made several attempts to condemn placing a cone on the statues head as an act of vandalism. The latest attempt in 2013 resulted in massive public outcry and Glasgow City Council withdrew plans to raise the statue in order to prevent The Duke being regularly ‘coned’!
As one of Glasgow’s most prominent icons and most photographed statues, a trip to Glasgow is never complete without seeing The Duke!