PROJECTJJR Macleod Monument
Professor John Macleod deservers the highest accolades for his part in the medical breakthrough discovery of Insulin.
The memorial statue of JJR Macleod is sited in a prime position “Macleods Corner” over looking Duthie Park’s common Green, in Aberdeen his hometown. John McKenna’s statue depicts a seated bronze figure of John “Jack” Macleod on an iconic Royal Parks bench, a folded newspaper at his side with a headline referring to his 1923 Nobel Prize for the 1922 discovery of insulin. It is worth pointing out the situation as regards diabetes and the search for a treatment at this time. There were no useful drugs available. Those developing the severe form of the condition (known nowadays as Type 1 diabetes) were typically children and young adults. The diagnosis was effectively a death sentence with survival in terms of a few weeks to, at most, a few years. The only treatment, a very sparse diet amounting to near starvation, was for many worse than the disease. Since the discovery of Insulin by Macleod’s team, millions of lives have been saved over decades as a resuly of their medical breakthrough.
This man certainly deserves a statue monument. The statue is on a specially designed terrace of Aberdeen granite featuring pavers inscribed with sponsors’ names.
Nearby, mounted bronze plaques present Macleod’s name, key dates, his role in the discovery of insulin and a replica of his 1923 Nobel Prize for Medicine medal inset in stone.
Despite his prestigious Nobel recognition, Macleod was effectively airbrushed from history for nearly 50 years. It wasn’t until 1982, when historian Michael Bliss published the untold story behind the development of the world’s first clinically useful insulin, that Macleod’s vital contribution to this miracle drug was revealed.
This project was inspired by Professor Bliss’s tireless 30+ year campaign to give Jack Macleod’s scientific legacy the global acclaim it so rightfully deserves.
John Otto and Kimberlie Hamilton who reside in Aberdeen, orchestrated a huge campaign to raise the funds for Macleod’s monument and brought many generous sponsors into the project to make the Macleod monument a reality.
Professor Macleod’s family members were among a crowd of 300 guests in attendance at the Duthie Park event on the 12th October 2023, where the ceremonial ribbon was cut by the Lord Provost of Aberdeen, David Cameron. They were joined by academics, members of Clan Macleod, pupils from Aberdeen Grammar, Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire Sandy Manson and Britain’s only surviving Victoria Cross recipient, John Cruickshank. Aberdeen piper Ian Dallas and the Granite City Pipes & Drums also performed an original tune composed especially for the event, “Macleod’s Theme”.
The statue is cast bronze and is Scotland’s first ‘Talking Statues’ where actor David Rintoul did a voice over for Macleod speaking activated by an QR code app that calls observers of the statue on their phone to hear “Macleod” telling a little of his life story.