TWO of the three bronze sculptures which make up The Gorbals Boys, an iconic part of Glasgow history, have been stolen.

The Gorbals Boys sculpture, created by local resident Liz Peden and unveiled in 2008 by the then deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon, features three young lads trying on their mothers’ shoes.

Based on an image (below) captured by the famed Scots photographer Oscar Marzaroli in the 1960s, the three bronze figures each wore shoes of chrome.

However, two of the three sculptures have disappeared from their place in the Gorbals' Queen Elizabeth Gardens, outside the St Francis Community Centre.

The National:

“One of them looks like it’s been fairly cleanly cut off at the ankles, the other looks like one of the ankles has presented a problem because it’s got a steel rod through it,” Anthony ÓDoibhailein, a Gorbals resident, told The National.

“It looks like they’ve had to manipulate it off so it must have been a wee bit harder work than they anticipated. At that point I imagine they made too much noise and somebody must have seen something, somebody must have heard something, because they never took the third one.”

ÓDoibhailein said that many Gorbals residents had been noticing the apparent theft when he went past on Monday morning.

The National:

The National:

“[The sculptures] have got a resonance with most people in the area,” he said.

“It’s a wee bit of a connection back to the more recent history, the tenement lifestyle, the innocence of youth. I think people are quite fond of them. They’ve become a wee bit of a marker for people.

“The fact that they’ve not been abused by anyone – until they were stolen just now – I think people see them as being part of the area.”

A spokesperson for the New Gorbals Housing Association said they were "extremely disappointed" to learn of the theft, and confirmed that it had been reported to the police.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "Around 11.25am on Monday, 6 February, 2023, officers received a report of the theft of a sculpture from Cumberland Street, Glasgow. Enquiries are ongoing." 

Three young local lads – Lee Barton, Joe Ridge, and Nicky Giblin – were used by Peden as models for the sculptures.

Marzaroli’s original subjects had been unknown before fresh attention was cast on the image by the artwork.

Ian Docherty then came forward as one of the three kids from the picture, telling The Herald he did not realise he had been photographed by Marzaroli until he was in his thirties and his mother bought a postcard of the print from Kelvingrove Museum.

He told The Herald in 2008: "We used to live in Kidson Street next to the shop that is in the photograph. I remember it well. We just made use of what we had then. Those were the best days.

"I am over the moon with what has happened here. I feel like putting an alarm on the statue to protect it or setting up a watchtower. I think it is amazing that me just playing in the street has ended up with this."