Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Co-operative
Monumental Services
Monumental sculptors based at Bogmoor Road, Govan; the present firm is a decendant of the many branches of the Co-Operative Wholesale Society which existed in and around Glasgow from 1865, and which pursued self-sufficiency and economy through using its own craftsmen and other trades to sustain and service its empire and its operations.

Long famous for their work as funeral undertakers, the 'CO-Op' also produced a range of gravestones and other monuments and fountains throughout Scotland.

In 1914, The Pollokshaws Co-Operative Wholesale Society erected a Classical-style, grey granite drinking fountain on Well Green, Pollokshaws, to celebrate their Golden Jubilee, which was probably built to their own design and execution.

The fountain was crowned with a domed tempietto with a ball finial, and was granted a free water supply by Glasgow Corporation on 18th May, 1914. Although long gone, the fountain can be seen in a photograph published in George Rowntree's Old Pollokshaws (p. 37, photo: c. 1920) but, by the 1950s, it had been partially demolished.

More recently, they produced the plaque for the Lobey Dosser statue in Woodlands Road, Glasgow, by Tony Morrow and Nick Gillon, which includes an engraved portrait of Bud Neill, the creator of the comic strip characters who surmount the pedestal: Lobey Dosser, the Sheriff of Calton Creek; El Fideldo ('Elfie'), his trusty two-legged steed; and Rank Bajin, Calton Creek's 'resident villain' and Lobey's arch rival (1992).

They also executed the granite Normandy Veterans Memorial in Kelvingrove Park (1994) and a smaller version for The Close, Paisley (1996); as well as the pedestal for John McArthur's Daphne Disaster Memorial in Elder Park, Govan, and its copy in Victoria Park, Whiteinch (1997).

One of the firm's most recent works in Glasgow is the Stillbirth Monument at the Necropolis gates (1999), which was followed by further Stillbirth memorials at the Linn Cemetery (2003) and Hawkhead Cemetery, Paisley (2004).

Their other cemetery monuments are to be found throughout Scotland.

Sources:

  • McKenzie (1999) ;
  • Williamson et al. ;
  • McKean et al. ;
  • Sunday Mail, Garden tribute to lost little ones (Linn Cemetery), 29th June, 2003, p. 8 (ill.);
  • GCA : C13.51(C0-Op fountain);
  • G. Barclay Robertson, The Dividend Days, The Scots Magazine, vol. 149, no. 1, July 1998, pp. 69-72 (ill.);
  • George Rowntree (2002), Old Pollokshaws, p. 37 (ill.);
  • Information from firm.
 
Works in our Database:
#352 1: Woodlands Road (West End),
At the junction of Woodlands Gate
Lobey Dosser (1992)
Sculptors: T Morrow and N Gillon;
Foundry: Powderhall Bronze;
Plaque: Co-operative Monumental Services
 
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