Duke of Wellington Statue – Glasgow, Scotland - Atlas Obscura
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Glasgow, Scotland

Duke of Wellington Statue

This stately monument has been wearing a traffic cone hat for decades much to the delight of the locals. 

Maybe one of the most iconic locations in the architecturally rich city of Glasgow, the Duke of Wellington Statue has been harmlessly adorned with an unauthorized traffic cone chapeau since the 1980’s and has become so beloved that locals actively encourage the victimless vandalism.

The statue, located just outside of Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art and has graced the city’s urban center since its establishment in 1844. However sometime during the 1980’s, cheeky passersby began climbing the proud equestrian statue’s plinth and placing a traffic cone on the Duke’s head. No one is sure who started the tradition, but inebriated tricksters kept replacing the traffic cone each time the city would take it down. The image of the Duke with his bright orange hat became so common that most came to accept it as the standard look of the statue and it became a popular photo spot for visitors.

In 2013, the city of Glasgow began to work on a proposal that would have increased the height of the statue’s plinth in an attempt to discourage the practice. However the Glaswegian public was outraged and formed campaigns to put a stop to the proposal. Outcry against the upgrade was so strong that the city abandoned the plan altogether.   

The prankish practice does not seem to symbolize anything greater than the playful spirit of certain Glaswegians, but that seems to have been more than enough to make sure the Duke of Wellington’s head will not get cold anytime soon.