Heroines of Scotland –
– marking their place in history
In 1886 – the marble busts of Robert Burns and King Robert the Bruce were unveiled in the gallery on the second floor of the Monument, the first sculptures in ‘The Hall of Heroes’. Donated by generous benefactors, these busts recognised the achievement of two of the most famous of all Scotsmen, who each had secured their own place in Scottish history.
Over the twenty years which followed – a further 14 busts of famous Scotsmen were added to the hall, from Sir Walter Scott to John Knox, creating the gallery which is now such a distinctive feature of the Monument.
Every one of the characters profiled in the gallery has reflected the spirit of William Wallace in their own individual way, through their commitment to liberty, through their opposition to discrimination and inequality, and by the lengths which they went to in order to improve the lives of other people.
It was only fitting that in 2014 the William Wallace Sword was given pride of place in the Hall of Heroes – as a symbol of the values through which Wallace came to be recognised as Scotland’s National Hero, and which are emulated in the lives of those who have also become heroes in their own right.
In 2017 – the Monument will be adding the first female figurehead to The Hall of Heroes – in a new development which will recognise the achievements and successes of famous Scottish women, and which will complement the well-known busts by illustrating the roles which so many women have played in the story of Scotland.
Choosing a Heroine for Scotland
Everyone can now select the heroine of their choice – by voting from the shortlist of fourteen.
In their own way, every one of the fourteen nominated women has made an outstanding contribution to the lives of countless men, women, and children, in Scotland, and in countries around the world. The shortlist features pioneering engineers Victoria Drummond and Dorothée Pullinger. It includes women who tirelessly campaigned for equality – such as Christian Maclagan – and those who were among the first females to attend university, including Sophia Jex-Blake and Chrystal Macmillan. Many others dedicated their lives to helping those in need, including Elsie Inglis, Maggie Keswick Jencks, Jane Haining and Mary Slessor. And whether it was their contribution to the arts – as seen in Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, Màiri Mhòr nan Òran and Jean Redpath – or their undeniable talent in their chosen field – as shown by Nancy Riach and Mary Somerville, they have all earned the right to be recognised as Scotland’s Heroines.
Selecting which woman should be the first Heroine to be commemorated in The Hall of Heroes will be a challenging task!