Council to recruit specialists to dismantle and conserve George Square statues

The statues will be removed while redevelopment work is carried out, their future position in the square will be decided once the project is completed.
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The revamp of Glasgow’s George Square has taken a step forward with the city council seeking specialists on the restoration of the square’s 11 landmark statues. The experts will ensure the authority has the necessary knowledge for the dismantling, transportation, storage and conservation of the bronze monuments, several of which are A-listed. 

An announcement stated: “After this market engagement exercise, the council will then look to recruit the contractors to carry out the restoration work, a key stage in the wider regeneration of the Glasgow’s main civic space.

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“The notice for the statue experts has now been issued and is the next stage in the project’s progress, with the transformational plans now approaching their final planning hurdle.”

As part of the redevelopment, the statues currently situated in George Square will be carefully removed from the stone plinths, protected, and transported to a workshop or secure storage facility.

All statues, except for the Sir Walter Scott statue and the cenotaph, would be removed: When introducing the plans for George Square, the council said: “The final placement of the statues will be considered in the next design stage.”

It is expected that the removal of the statues into storage will begin in early 2025, with the conservation work beginning next Spring and the statues being reinstalled in the refurbished square in 2027.

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“Given the highly specialised nature of bronze conservation, the experts being sought will help the council drill down into the required expertise of organisations bidding for the different areas of the work including their professional credentials, the suitability of storage space they are offering, and the type of community benefits that could be delivered” a council statement said.

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “This is very niche, highly specialised and painstaking work, so we need to ensure we’ve the right level of expertise on board from the get-go.  To get that level of expertise, it’s clear we need specialists to help us find the right contractors for the job.

“These are A and B-listed monuments and for many people are a key part of the experience of visiting Glasgow’s main public space. It’s critical we get this right.

“But it’s genuinely exciting to be reaching the point where we’re now on our way to the quality civic space Glaswegians have long asked for."

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