Glasgow statue famous for traffic cone ‘hat’ gets makeover for Ukraine

A cone with a crocheted cover in the colours of the Ukraine flag was placed on the Duke of Wellington statue in Royal Exchange Square.

07 March 2022

A traffic cone which famously adorns the head of a Glasgow statue has been given a Ukrainian makeover to show solidarity with people in the war torn country.

Pauline McWhirter decided to use her crocheting skills to create a cover for the cone in the yellow and blue of the Ukrainian flag, with sunflowers emerging from the top.

Her husband then climbed a ladder to place the marker on top of the statue of the Duke of Wellington outside the Gallery of Modern Art in the centre of Glasgow on Sunday night.

Mrs McWhirter, 55, from Glasgow, has previously crocheted decorations for post boxes and turned her hand to a traffic cone after her daughter suggested it.

Traffic cone hat
Pauline McWhirter crocheted the hat in a day (Andrew Milligan/PA)

She told the PA news agency: “Probably like all Glaswegians everybody is feeling a wee bit helpless in what can we do and how do we do it.

“For me the only thing that I had was a wee bit of power in crocheting in making a stand so I crocheted the hat and my husband put it up and it’s basically giving out a message saying we stand with Ukraine.

“I just did it in one day. It’s just awful seeing what is happening in Ukraine and everybody feels so helpless. People make Glasgow, that is just the truest saying anybody ever came up with.

“That cone is a very, very, very small gesture and it’s just something that as a family we came up with. It was my daughter Emma’s idea and my husband put it up, I only did the crochet work. As he was putting it up people passing by started cheering and clapping which was really nice.”

She added: “If we can send a message to one Ukrainian person residing in Glasgow then job done.”

Her daughter Emma Shearer tweeted a video of the cone being put up and wrote: “Proud of my mum for making this Ukraine themed cone and her husband @GarryMcwhirter doing the Glesga honours of placing it… on the duke’s heid.”

Garry McWhirter tweeted: “The iconic Duke of Wellington statue in Glasgow has a new hat” in a post which has drawn more than 29,000 likes.

It is not the first time the statue’s usual orange and white traffic cone hat has been replaced with themed headgear in a nod to current events.

On Brexit day in January 2020 the cone was decorated with an EU flag, while it was previously decorated with a rainbow flag during a Pride festival in the city.

Plans in 2013 to raise the statue to stop cones being placed on its head were withdrawn after a public outcry.

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