Mystery of statue on new council buildings is solved

Helen 2The mystery of a strange new face in Helensburgh can now be solved – it’s Lady Helen Colquhoun, after whom the town was named.Helen1

Speculation has been rife on social media since the large face appeared on Friday on the wall of the new Argyll and Bute Council offices on East Clyde Street, with suggestions to its identity including politicians and Camilla Parker Bowles.

But today (Tuesday) a council spokesperson said: “The artwork is intended to represent Lady Helen, after whom Helensburgh was named, with the town’s skyline along the bottom, although like any piece of art it is open to interpretation.”

The work was designed by John McKenna, a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, who has completed many well-known public artworks including statues of Jock Stein at Celtic Park and Jimmy Johnstone in the memorial garden named after the Scotland great, as well as The Miner of Auchengeich in Moodiesburn.

The work was paid for by a £15,000 donation from the Templeton Fund.

Sir James Colquhoun of Luss named Helensburgh after his wife, Lady Helen, in 1777 – she was daughter of William, Lord Strathnaver, son of John, 19th Earl of Sutherland.

The new building is part of a multi-million redevelopment of the B-Listed Clyde Street school, which has lain empty for many years; council staff will be located into the new facility, with other council buildings in and around Helensburgh being put on the market.

Pictures courtesy of Jim Chestnut.


  1. Council buildings -what a waste! Money would’ve been better spent replacing the existing swimming baths -an eyesore for all visitors to witness on the front.

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