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Duke of Wellington and the cone debate reignited by new hotel design

GLASGOW’S most iconic and debated image – the Duke of Wellington with a traffic cone on his head – is now pride of place a new £7m city hotel development.

For decades revelers have climbed the monument to adorn the statue by Italian artist Carlo Marochetti with the controversial headgear.


The sample room featuring the Duke of Wellington statue with a traffic cone


But the Glasgweenian tradition has often come under fire – branded an act of vandalism.

In 2013 the city council attempted to raise the statue plinth in a bid to stop merry Weegies scaling its heights.

While the Sculptor in Ordinary to the Queen in Scotland compares it to acts of cultural destruction carried out by so called Islamic State.

Now the image Duke of Wellington statue, complete with traffic cone, has been hailed as part of “Glasgow humour” in a new ibis Styles Hotel in the Merchant City.


The bathroom also includes the traffic cone in its design


The chain, known for its unusual interior designs, has included a blown up image of the statute as a bedroom headboard and even included traffic cones on bathroom mirrors.

Dawn Campbell, one of the interior designers on the project, said the design was “based on the humour of Glasgow”.

She said: “ibis Styles were keen that guests can come in and see something humorous and fun.”

So far a sample design room has been completed but several of the 103 rooms as well as other parts of the hotel will feature the statue and traffic cone.

“We also have light fittings that are shaped like crains,” she said.


The £7m hotel development is still underway


“I think there will be four or five designs and there are 103 bedrooms.”

Talking about the image of the Duke of Wellington and the traffic cone she said: “It was one of the first things that stood out.”

She added: “I think the sample room has come out really well.”

Framed artworking featuring Billy Connolly’s banana boots, regularly worn on stage by the comedian in the 1970s, are also included in the initial interior design plans.


Plans also feature Billy Connolly’s banana boots, regularly worn on stage by the comedian in the 1970s


Other rooms may feature the running legs clock outside Buchanan Bus Station and familiar Weegie sights but have not yet been confirmed said Ms Campbell.

But the Wellington statue and traffic cone design has been described by Alexander Stoddart as “capitalising” on something that is “profoundly unfunny”.

The Sculptor in Ordinary to the Queen in Scotland said: “The coning of the Wellington statue is part of a general, modern and barbaric impulse encountered the world over today.

“In Glasgow the phenomenon is seen weakly. In the so called Islamic State we see the same phenomenon at full strength.”

A council spokesman said the cone is still removed from the statue when reported.

“We appreciate the affection that people have for the cone,” he said, “but the cones are heavy and are not fixed to the statue, so present a danger.

“Therefore, we take them down whenever they are reported to us.”

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