Dewar Monument – Edinburgh, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

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Dewar Monument

A controversial cenotaph dedicated to a local physician with an unscrupulous past. 


In a small park just off the promenade of Edinburgh’s seaside suburb of Portobello stands a plinth inscribed with the words:

“This fountain has been erected in remembrance of Dr Hugh Dewar, Portobello, by his grateful patients and numerous friends, who deplore the loss in the prime of manhood of a kind friend and skillful and beloved physician. His quiet charity was known to the needy. 1866-1914”

However, recent research has uncovered a more sinister backstory than this epitaph would lead many to believe. During the winter of 1914, a young woman named Jane Anderson went to Dewar to have her baby delivered. However, the procedure was botched and the 25-year-old died after an agonizing ordeal.

The incident provoked an inquest. Suspicion fell on the physician that he improperly handled the routine operation. A case of malpractice was brought forth and Dewar was charged with culpable homicide. But before Dewar could stand trial, he fell ill and died; it’s believed he ingested poison. His passing was not made public, nor was his autopsy certified.

Still under a cloud of misgiving, money was collected and a monument was erected in his honor. If it weren’t for the efforts of a handful of individuals, modern society may not be aware of this memorial’s questionable past.

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