Famous Dundonians, chosen by Dundonians, to be honoured in Discovery Walk

Published

29th June 2015

Ten famous Dundonians, chosen by the public, will be the first to be immortalised in bronze in the \"Discovery Walk\" to be installed later this year in pavements at the heart of the city’s huge new Waterfront development. 

They include scientists, writers, social reformers and medical practitioners from the last 200 years, selected for having made a notable or influential discovery either in Dundee or clearly linked to the city.

The list includes philanthropist Mary Ann Baxter; social reformer Mary Lily Walker; medical practitioners Margaret Fairlie and James F Riley; writer and editor R D Low; and scientists Geoffrey Dutton, Alfred Ewing, D\'Arcy Thompson, and Walter Spear and Peter Le Comber (who will share a plaque for their joint discoveries).

The 10 were selected from a shortlist of 15 drawn up by the Discovery Walk steering group, comprising representatives of the local authority, both of the city\'s universities, cultural bodies and individuals.

Hundreds of people responded to an online public consultation exercise to help choose the first nine plaques.

In addition, local school children were canvassed for their views on which famous Dundonians should be selected.

Discovery Walk, which is supported by the Dundee Waterfront Project, is intended to highlight the fascinating stories of individuals whose discoveries and inventions have made many important and exciting contributions to modern life.

The criteria for selection are that the nominees must be deceased, and must have been born or spent much of their lives in Dundee.  They must have made a notable or influential discovery either in Dundee or clearly linked to the city.

It is hoped that the nine plaques will be the first of many to be installed throughout the open space area of the newly-named Slessor Gardens at the heart of the Waterfront development.

Working with finite resources, the steering group could only plan for nine plaques in the first phase, but additional sources of funding, perhaps involving crowd-funding, are being explored.

Discovery Walk is the brainchild of Kelly Marr, an Australian who has made Dundee her home.

Kelly commented:  “I was inspired by the famous Writers’ Walk around Sydney Harbour celebrating more than 50 writers either from or associated with Australia in some way.

“During the last 20 years I would hear about some of the great innovations that were made in Dundee, and I always felt that it was a great shame that such achievements were not celebrated publicly. Discovery Walk will ensure that this part of the city\'s heritage is never forgotten, and it will mean the city can take an enormous pride in the people that are celebrated.

\"I\'m bowled over by the response we\'ve had from the citizens and children of Dundee, and I hope that they will continue to be involved, contributing suggestions for how each plaque could be designed, and also contributing to future plaques to commemorate the many other wonderful individuals that Dundee has produced throughout history.\"

Dundee-based artist and illustrator Suzanne Scott, who works under the name WhimSicAL LusH, has been commissioned to design the first nine plaques.   Suzanne has exhibited all over Scotland and her unique illustrations have featured in widely sold prints, stationary, mugs and jewellery.

Suzanne said:  “I am beyond delighted to have been asked to be a part of this exciting and interesting project. To have my work be part of the Dundee Waterfront is such an honour. I was born in Dundee and came back to live here 15 years ago. It is a beautiful and inspiring city, which I am proud to live in.”

Suzanne is inviting people to get involved in the design of the plaques with their own comments and suggestions.  Visit http://whimsicallush.co.uk/discovery-walk/ to make your contribution.

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