Culture

On Scotland's neglect of its past

THESE fine, or not so fine, spring mornings have found me walking in Kelvingrove Park for constitutional purposes, and I have stopped once or twice to admire the splendid fountain, by the architect James Sellars and the sculptor John Mossman, erected in 1871-2 to commemorate the inauguration of the Loch Katrine water scheme.

It is richly carved in Scottish Gothic and since its restoration a couple of years ago it spouts voluptuous jets of water behind which can be glimpsed the bright pink blossom of the Japanese cherry trees. Much of the detail piously commemorates Lord Provost Stewart, whose civic genius created the water scheme, but its crowning inspiration is Sir Walter Scott's Lady of the Lake.

With my shoe I clean the inscription set in the ground and think it apt that Sir Walter's name should be covered with mud. The neglect not only of Sir Walter Scott but of its own history is a striking aspect of contemporary Scotland. There can be few other countries that are now so cut off from their own past as is Scotland, so forgetful and so careless of it.


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