Statue of historic Teri gifted to town

A statue of the Hawick-born founder of the Economist magazine has been given to the town.

Thursday, 29th June 2017, 5:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:20 am
James Wilson, painted by Sir John Wilson Gordon, 1859.

The gift comes as the London-based Economist Group relocates from its St James Street office of 50 years to the Adelphi Building on London’s Victoria Embankment.

The 12ft-high marble statue of James Wilson, created by Edinburgh-based sculptor John Steell in 1865, has been owned by the group for the last 30 years, taking pride of place in its office reception area.

Now, the company is offering the statue to Hawick, as well as to cover all transportation costs.

The statue of James Wilson could be erected in Hawick.

Hawick’s common good fund sub-committee agreed last week to pay for a plinth costing up to £2,000.

A date for delivery of the statue and a location for it are yet to be decided.

Wilson, born in Hawick in 1805, was a businessman and politician. He founded the Economist in 1843, as well as the now-defunct Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China in 1853.

He was later sent by Queen Victoria to India to establish a new paper currency and remodel India’s finance system following the Indian rebellion of 1857. He died a year later in Calcutta at the age of 55.

The statue of James Wilson could be erected in Hawick.

Town provost Watson McAteer welcomed the offer and told the Hawick News: “James Wilson was a son of Hawick who made a significant contribution in the world of finance and politics in the mid-19th century.

“The president of the Economist Group, a publication founded by James Wilson, has been in contact with elected members in Hawick and has offered to repatriate a statue of Wilson to his home town, and I know we are all excited and desperate to make that happen.

“James Wilson was a world-wide inspirational figure, and we are honoured to see the memory of a great Hawick man returned to be settled among his ain folk.”

Paul Rossi, president of the Economist Group’s media businesses, said: “Not only is Hawick James Wilson’s birthplace, but it’s also the where he started out in the hat-making business.

“A man of many talents, he didn’t stop there as in 1843, he created a weekly newspaper and later started an international bank.

“His statue has been a towering presence in our St James’s Street offices for around 30 years, but sadly we can’t take him with us to our new offices.

“We want him to go to a good home, and Hawick is where it all started for a man who went on to influence the world.

“We hope the people of Hawick agree

Alastair Redpath, honorary secretary of Hawick Archaeological Society, said: “The society believes that the James Wilson statue will be a great addition to Wilton Lodge Park.”