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Why are there so few statues of women in Aberdeen?

Why is there just one female statues in the heart of Aberdeen?  Supplied by Clarke Cooper, Design team
Why is there just one female statues in the heart of Aberdeen? Supplied by Clarke Cooper, Design team

As a city famed for its connection to granite, it’s fitting that Aberdeen chooses to immortalise so many worthy figures in stone.

William Wallace, Robert The Bruce and Robert Burns are among those whose likeness can be found in the city centre.

Other royal, military and literary figures have received the honour, towering over passers-by from on high.

Workers return the statue of Edward VII as part of the refurbishment of Union Terrace Gardens. Picture by Paul Glendell.

And they have now been joined by statues of football greats Denis Law and Alex Ferguson.

Nobody is disputing that either legendary sporting stalwart is worthy of such a tribute.

But the sculptures add to a gender imbalance that is right under our nose – and rarely mentioned.

How many of us have noticed that a solemn Queen Victoria, at Queen’s Cross, is the only famous female we have on public view in the heart of Aberdeen?

Use our interactive map to explore the city’s statues for yourself 

  • There is a second Queen Victoria statue inside the council’s Town House. It was moved indoors to prevent it from being damaged by the weather.

What do Aberdeen statues say about the city?

The way society chooses to remember certain figures is now under increasing scrutiny.

One particular ripple effect of the Black Lives Matter movement is the re-evaluation of just who should be honoured.

The debate quickly caught fire, with some statues being torn down and others coming under fresh examination.

So, is it time the Granite City looks afresh at its portfolio of public sculptures – and asks if they are truly representative of those who made a lasting mark on the north-east?

The statue of Alex Ferguson unveiled in Aberdeen on Friday. Supplied by Clarke Cooper, Design Team

‘Hidden heroines’

We have spoken to Aberdeen Women’s Alliance, two local academics, a mother and daughter duo and a playwright as part of our investigation.

And you can have your say by letting us know who you think the Granite City should be next to honour.

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