From Here to Mthothta
From Here to Mthothta
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The former site of the Rottenrow Maternity Hospital, where many of Glasgow’s older residents would have been born, was bought by neighbouring Strathclyde University in 2001 after the the old Victorian building was deemed not fit for purpose, with it failing just about all and every modern health and safety regulations, and then some.


Strathclyde Uni redeveloped the land – and when they inherited many of the works of Glasgow-born artist George Wyllie, in a tip of the hat to its sterling services to the city, in 2004 they permanently placed his giant safety pin directly on the site of the former maternity unit. Although known locally as the “Monument to Maternity,” the official title for the seven-meter-tall stainless steel nappy pin (with the little sculpted bird perched on top) is Mhtothta, the Greek word for maternity.


Wyllie is famous for his many wonderful whimsical works, such as the running clock, that featured in a previous blog entry, Running Late – and this is just another classic Wyllie sculpture. He also wrote a poem about Walter Hunt, who had invented the modern safety-pin in New York. Hunt sold the copyright, making very little money from his invention.


In 1849 in New York City
Walter Hunt was a figure of pity
destitute – without a cent
couldn’t buy food or pay the rent
stomach empty, body thin,
he made the very first Safety-Pin
for poverty was the great incentive
which encouraged him to be inventive.


Walter’s finances were extremely tight
and he had to sell the copyright
for a hundred dollars – a meager sum
to save him from becoming a bum
but the buyer made a fortune quicker
for that is the way of the city slicker
to be financially manipulative
and exploit the brains of the innovative.

 – George Wyllie


Leica M6 Classic & 90mm Elmarit
Kodak Tri-X (200)
HC-110 (Dil.H – 1:63 @ 7:30 minutes – 75 degrees)
Plustek 7600i & Vuescan