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Members of the SFRS Heritage Group with Evelyn Gibson (centre left) and Jean Dallas (centre right) with the Wallace the Fire Dog sculpture.
Members of the SFRS Heritage Group with Evelyn Gibson (centre left) and Jean Dallas (centre right) with the Wallace the Fire Dog sculpture.

Press release -

Local Hero Wallace the Fire Dog Remembered in North Glasgow celebration

by Margaret Fraser, Together Leading Communities Ltd.

A local four-legged hero was remembered at a special celebration held at Saracen House, Possilpark on Wednesday 6 December. The celebration commemorated ‘Wallace the Fire Dog’, a local dog adopted by Glasgow fireman in 1894, who accompanied local fire engines on calls and who at the time was more widely known than Edinburgh’s Greyfriars Bobby.

The event marked the latest step in a campaign spearheaded by the local ‘Chancers’ community member Jean Dallas, to have ‘Wallace the Fire Dog’ recognised as part of Glasgow’s heritage.

A new sculpture of ‘Wallace the Fire Dog’ was officially unveiled during the event during a formal handover of the sculpture by the Scottish Prison Service and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service supported by ng homes and Together Leading Communities Ltd.

The story of Wallace first came to the attention of the group from Possilpark when they visited Greenock Fire Station Heritage Museum in 2016.

Touched by the story of Wallace, the Possilpark group were determined to bring recognition to this piece of Glasgow’s heritage. Working with former Headteacher Evelyn Gibson and staff at Saracen Primary School, stories, dances, and plays and a series of books have since been written about this famous dog and his adventures.

The campaign to see a sculpture of Wallace commissioned and placed in a prominent place within Glasgow has gathered support throughout the community including from ng homes’ Community Development team and the Scottish Prison Service at Barlinnie. Nearly £1,400 has been raised to date and will support plans to reinstate Wallace in a permanent home in Glasgow open to the public.

December’s event came about after the project was re-launched following the Covid-19 pandemic, again driven by Jean. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Croft project stepped in to help re-locate Wallace and bring him back to Glasgow. Margaret Muir from the Croft said: “It’s been a lovely journey helping to bring Wallace back to his rightful home here in the heart of Glasgow to Jean and the Chancers group! I look forward to hearing more about the adventures of Wallace ‘Our Wee Glesga Dug’.”

It was an emotional event as guests heard the interesting story of Wallace from Dave Adam, Chair of Heritage Trust. David said “Wallace the famous Fire Dog who was adopted by the Glasgow Fire Brigade over 120 years ago as their mascot, has entered Glasgow folklore. So much so that when he died in 1902 the Firemen of Glasgow had the dog preserved by a taxidermist and put on display at the Central Fire Station Glasgow.

“Wallace can now be seen at the Fire Museum and Heritage Centre in Greenock, where since the museum opening in 2012. […] The dog which is a prime exhibit is seen by many, including international tourists who come to the museum from the visiting cruise ships.

“The production of this statue, driven by a dedicated group of ladies in Glasgow will help keep the history and heritage of this famous dog alive for generations to come.”

Jean Dallas added “This wee dog was very famous in his day for his brave antics and there are books written on his adventures and he is well known throughout the world, yet many people in Glasgow don’t know about him. We always said that if Edinburgh has Greyfriars Bobby then ‘Wallace the Fire Dog’ should have his rightful place in history. We are so happy to see him back in Glasgow and we will now work with others to have his sculpture prominently placed in Glasgow.”


Notes to Editors - Wallace the Fire Dog

Wallace was adopted by Glasgow firemen 124 years ago before going on to save dozens of lives. It is said that Wallace followed a fire engine back to the fire station after a lifeboat procession in 1894 and was soon adopted by the men and made the Fire Service's mascot. Wallace was a cross between a collie and a setter and became a firm favourite with the firemen and ran along in front of the engines when they sped to attend fires.

The legend that Wallace instinctively knew the location of a fire and led the way was quashed when onlookers noticed that the driver of the leading vehicle would signal ahead to the dog which way to turn. Even so, Wallace was seen to embody the fire service motto, "Aye Ready". At the time, Wallace was even more famous than Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh and one local woman gifted him rubber boots after hearing the stones in the road made his feet hurt.

When Wallace died in 1902 his body was embalmed and placed in a glass case in the reception room of the Central Fire Station in Ingram Street. Such was his fame in Glasgow, his final illness was reported daily in both the Scotsman and Glasgow Herald newspapers and his obituary was also publicised. He is photographed below beside the special pair of rubber boots which a visitor made for him when she noticed that he had sore paws from his heroic efforts.




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