Hawick statue could soon be on move again

Hawick's James Wilson statue.
Hawick's James Wilson statue.

A new home is being sought in Hawick for a statue of one of the town’s most famous sons, James Wilson, founder of the Economist magazine.

A marble tribute to Wilson, alive from 1805 to 1860, was created by Edinburgh sculptor John Steell in 1865 and until last year stood in the Economist’s old head office in London.

The 12ft-high sculpture was gifted to Hawick after the magazine moved office, and it arrived in town amid much fanfare in August last year, taking up a place of honour outside Tower Knowe.

However, in December the statue was damaged, with two fingertips from its right hand found to be missing.

Despite the police being contacted, it was not established if the damage was accidental or down to vandalism.

A second concern over the long-term viability of it remaining in the open air is the potential for further damage due to inclement weather.

Those concerns have led the trustees of Hawick’s common good fund to look at moving it inside a secure building.

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer said it is important to preserve the structure for future generations to view.

He said: “The common good trustees have asked council officers to explore possible options for removing the James Wilson statue from its current location to a more secure home within suitable premises in the town.

“The statue has been subject to some minor damage, and the recent poor weather has increased the potential to cause further problems to a structure that has spent most of its life in India or within the Economist offices in London.

“The trustees were honoured to have been donated a fine statue of a famous son of Hawick, and it is our intention to make sure it remains in good condition for townsfolk and visitors to view.

“It is hoped that a suitable building with appropriate public access can be found in the near future.

“Plans are already in progress to repair the minor damage. However, that will take place once the statue has been moved to a new home”.