Scotland

Statue of Greyfriars Bobby undergoes 'nose job' restoration

Worker with statue
Image caption Greyfriars Bobby's snout had lost its dark colour over the years

Work has started to restore the nose on one of Edinburgh's most famous public statues.

The dark colour on Greyfriars Bobby's snout had been worn off by people rubbing the nose "for luck".

Restoration specialists Powderhall Bronze have been commissioned to clean, re-patinate and wax the affected area.

The wear to the statue had been highlighted in a Facebook campaign called "Stop People Rubbing Greyfriars Bobby's Nose - It is not a Tradition".

Edinburgh city council's culture convener, Councillor Richard Lewis, said: "Although Bobby has never been in any immediate danger, it was highlighted to us that the practice of rubbing his nose was starting to make him look a little scruffy.

"As one of the most famous - and most popular - statues in the capital, it's only right that he looks his best at all times.

"Once we became aware of the local concern it was clear that we had to act and I'm delighted we've been able to get specialists in to restore Greyfriars Bobby to his former glory."

Traditionally, the story of the real Bobby is that the dog had been the pet of Edinburgh constable John Grey, who died of tuberculosis in 1858.

Bobby is said to have stayed close to where his master was buried.

The dog's period of mourning reputedly lasted until Bobby's own death in 1872.

Not true

However, a historian at Cardiff University believes he has uncovered evidence that the story is not true.

Dr Jan Bondeson said there were distinct differences in photos and paintings of Bobby, which fell into two groups, those before 1867 and those after.

The Facebook campaign to restore the commemorative statue was started by local resident Becky Thomson.

She said: "This campaign started out as a bit of fun and I was amazed by how many people supported the page. We discussed ways we could address the problem as ordinary members of the public - by asking tour guides to discourage it or maybe using anti-climb paint.

"Given that this is a world-famous statue in a World Heritage site it now makes sense the council are involved.

"Now it is up to anybody who is passing just to keep an eye open and politely ask people to keep their paws off Bobby's nose so it doesn't happen again."

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