North Berwick want to kidnap Stevenson’s history with statue


By Michael MacLeod

SEASIDERS from a Scots town want to honour Robert Louis Stevenson with a statue – because he went there on holiday as a child.

The world-famous writer was born in Edinburgh and has various memorials across the city.

But locals in North Berwick are keen to commemorate the fact he holidayed there as a child.

They hope to drive up tourism in the East Lothian town by highlighting the belief it inspired his classic 1886 novel, Kidnapped.

They have written to East Lothian Council outlining plans for a sculpture of the author as a ten-year-old boy with his faithful Skye terrier.


Kit Lovie, a committee member of Edinburgh’s One o’Clock Gun Association, came up with the idea.

She said: “There has been a lot written about his childhood holidays to North Berwick, so we wanted to celebrate this in the town.”

Stevenson, who died in 1894, visited North Berwick throughout his youth.

His father and grandfather were involved in building lighthouses along the shore and the family were frequent visitors to the town.

And the island of Fidra, in the River Forth, is said to have been the inspiration for Treasure Island.

The statue bid is backed by North Berwick Community Council, who said it would be a good tourist attraction.

George Robinson, secretary of the association, said: “We’ve had a really enthusiastic response to the idea and hopefully we should be able to get the funding for it.

“We haven’t got the design for it yet, but it would be of Stevenson as a child.

“There are some great pictures of him on a seaside donkey, or with his Skye terrier, Coolin.”

The group hopes to apply for funding to organisations such as the National Lottery and the Northern Lighthouse Board’s charity to realise the project.


The town already has a Robert Louis Stevenson festival and there are plans for a plaque on the seaside house where he stayed.

Community council chairwoman Pat Burton said they would be discussing the plans in more detail at a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday).

She said: “We would like to see some sort of commemoration for him.

“His family used to take a house along the sea front in the summer.

“The Robert Louis Stevenson festival was very popular, but it would be lovely to have something permanent.”