Glasgow Gin

The Duke

The man beneath the cone

For more than 140 years, the statue of the Duke of Wellington and his faithful steed Copenhagen was just another Glasgow monument.

But after staring out from Royal Exchange Square undisturbed since 1844, a traffic cone suddenly and mysteriously started appearing on his noble napper in the mid-1980s.

As fast as it was removed, the orange ornament was returned – and it soon became a battle of wits between the pranksters and the powers-that-be.

The Duke of Wellington

Duke’s a hazard

Since its first appearance, various jobsworths have tried to stop the ducal decor in the name of health and safety, but in Glasgow, you may as well try to stop the rain from falling.

Plans to raise his plinth or install CCTV to deter the Duke’s comical coronation were loudly opposed, with a ‘keep the cone’ campaign launched to preserve his hallowed headwear.

Unlike Wellington, the council eventually admitted defeat and the cone has been a permanent fixture ever since, proving that Glasgow spirit will always prevail.

Downlo on the Duke

  • Fact 1

    Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, born 1 May 1769, Dublin

  • Fact 2

    Commissioned as an ensign in the British Army in 1787

  • Fact 3

    Rose through the ranks to become a field marshal

  • Fact 4

    Renowned for his stern character and strict discipline

  • Fact 5

    Took part in 60 battles during his military career

  • Fact 6

    Defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815

  • Fact 7

    Served as British Prime Minister in 1834 and 1828-1830

  • Fact 8

    Designed his own military boot, nicknamed ‘Wellingtons’

  • Fact 9

    Died 14 September 1852 in Walmer Castle, Kent

  • Fact 10

    Buried in St Paul’s Cathedral, London

  • Fact 11

    Capital city of New Zealand was named in his honour

  • Fact 12

    Gave his name to 10 other towns and cities in Canada and Australia

  • Fact 13

    His horse, Copenhagen, has a monument at his grave in Hampshire

  • Fact 14

    Statue in Glasgow designed by Italian sculptor Carlo Marochetti

Wellington beaut

Today the Duke and his conical crown are one of the most instantly recognisable and most-loved landmarks in the world.

Edinburgh may have its castle, and Big Ben may be a big shot south of the border, but nothing sums up a city like the celebrated soldier and his bizarre bunnet.  

Playful, unique and instantly recognisable, it’s Glasgow through and through – just like the gin that bears its name.

  • Duke Portrait 1000 02
  • Duke Portrait 1000