A new statue depicting the terrifying moment a polar bear escaped into Dundee High Street has been unveiled in the city centre.
The huge bear, named Bruin, ran through the streets in 1878, throwing the entire city into chaos as residents ran for their lives.
And now anyone walking the same cobbled paths will be able to see the dramatic moment for themselves thanks to a brand new bronze sculpture depicting the unbelievable moment.
Dundee City Council has commissioned the statue of Bruin the polar bear, which has been completed by sculptor David Annand and installed this week.
Mr Annand was also behind the Dear Leap at the Technology Park and Cats Poem Disturbed at Broughty Ferry Library.
The polar bear was one of two brought from Davis’ Straits by a local whaling ship and bought for exhibition in Commercial Street by a Mr Woods.
An Evening Telegraph article from November 7, 1878 explained how the bear had made its way onto the streets.
It read: “Great excitement was caused in the High Street and Commercial Street this forenoon by the escape a Polar bear.
“The bear was of one pair which were being transported from a cellar in Nethergate to a ‘show’ which has been erected on vacant space of ground in Commercial Street, top of Seagate.”
The article goes on to explain that the appearance of the bear soon “effected clearance on the street, parties flying about in all directions for safety.”
“One woman ran into the shop Messrs J. Jamieson & Co., clothiers, but her choice shelter did not prove to be at all fortunate, for immediately thereafter the bear came sniffing into the shop,” it continued.
Disaster was averted when Bruin, the hapless bear, caught sight of himself in a mirror and stopped to admire his significant proportions.
Eventually a noose was put round his neck and he was taken to safety.
‘It’s a crazy story…and brutal too’
The new statue depicts the bear chasing a man with a roll of material up an iceberg plinth onto its overhanging edge.
Sculptor, Mr Annand, said that in all the work had taken around a year – but there had been a lot of delays due to Covid.
He also had to put health and safety in place for the actual placing of the statue in Dundee.
“It’s a crazy story but kind of brutal too,” Mr Annand added.
“The idea of a polar bear being behind you in a shop in Dundee High Street is pretty terrifying.
“It was good to be asked to design the statue.”
Mark Flynn, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said:
“Public art is an important part of the way any city sees itself. It helps to tell interesting and significant stories for residents and visitors alike.
“The polar bear by David Annand is a great example of that.”