Statue of Peter Pan

Statue of Peter Pan

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The Story of the Peter Pan Statue

The bronze statue of Peter Pan was produced by Alexander Proudfoot (1878 – 1957), seen in this picture at work on a scale model of the Peter Pan statue.  Proudfoot was born in Liverpool of Scottish parents. He also produced war memorials at Bearsden, Cambuslang and Greenock.

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Construction

The statue stood on a stone plinth inscribed with a dedication to Dr Wilson:

IN MEMORY
OF
DR. JOHN A. WILSON O.B.E.
FIRST SUPERINTENDENT OF
MEARNSKIRK HOSPITAL 1928 - 1946
ERECTED BY
A. L. ELLSWORTH AND HIS FRIENDS

 

Around the base were four brass panels, also designed by Alexander Proudfoot, depicting scenes from Peter Pan:

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The Panels

The first panel shows some of the pirates with Smee and Captain Hook in the middle and Cecco the Italian listening with his ear to the ground, Indian style. The second panel shows the children, Wendy, Michael and John, flying after Peter to the Never Never Land, Tinker Bell, with her light, leading the way. On the beach in the foreground the crocodile lies in wait for Captain Hook and mermaids sun themselves.

Panel 1
Panel 1
Panel 2
Panel 2

The third panel shows the animals from the jungle, a lion leading the way. They are chasing the Indians and a pair of rabbits is pushing the lion forward. Peter is seated on the back of a kangaroo which is making a flying leap over the elephant who is throwing a shower of water from his trunk towards the Indians. Two wolves and a pair of monkeys are also seen and two imps of mischief. The fourth panel shows the Indians in Indian file. They are in their war-paint and with their various weapons are hot on the trail of the Pirates; at the same time they keep a watch at the rear for the animals of the jungle.

Panel 3
Panel 3
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Panel 4

 

The Unveiling Ceremony

The statue was unveiled by Arthur Bromfield on July 3rd 1949. Young patients were joined by the Kirkintilloch Junior Choir and the Springburn Pipe Band around the statue. To add to the excitement of the ceremony, the children were given gifts, and a van from Ellsworth Confectioners delivered sweets and toys to the young patients.

In recognition of his central role in the erection of the statue, a watercolour of the statue, painted by Wilfred Appleby was presented to Alf Ellsworth on behalf of the children of Mearnskirk. The day’s events were filmed by Elder Film Productions and the film is now held in Scottish Screen’s Film and Television Archive.

Amongst others, the unveiling ceremony was attended by Harry Lauder, and his daughter Greta, family friends of Alf Ellsworth.

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Peter Pan on the Move

Mearnskirk Hospital had originally been opened in 1930 to cater for children with tuberculosis. During the war it was used as an emergency medical services unit, primarily for naval personnel and post war was reclassified as a general hospital. By the late 1980’s many of the services had been centralised and large parts of the site were disused and neglected. The future of Mearnskirk was in doubt.

Around 1991 Charles Lewis Ellsworth, son of Alf, became aware of the theft of two of the four bronze engraved storyline panels described above. He began correspondence with Greater Glasgow Health Board regarding preservation of the statue. In doing so he expressed a willingness to finance replacement of the missing panels.

Whilst discussions continued the Peter Pan statue was dismantled and removed from its original site. Around this time the remaining two engraved panels went missing and the original design plans were not readily available.

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With the re-development of the Mearnskirk site for housing the statue was eventually relocated to its present position in front of the renovated care home for the elderly. A plaque which replicates the dedication to Dr Wilson engraved in the original stone of the lower pedestal was financed by Charles Ellsworth.

 

A Mystery Partly Solved

In 2006 one of the four missing bronze engraved storyline panels was found. The panel was originally the second in the sequence designed by Alex Proudfoot. It was decided that this panel should be returned to Mearnskirk and in July 2007 the panel was placed on the wall to the right of the doorway of Hazeldene Nursery, Mearnskirk  - originally the Administration Building for Mearnskirk Hospital - and was officially unveiled at on July 3rd 2007, the fifty eighth anniversary of the unveiling of the original statue.

Fred Ellsworth, grandson of Alf  unveils	the restored panel
Fred Ellsworth, grandson of Alf  unveils the restored panel
The Restored Panel
The Restored Panel

 

 


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