May Donoghue of snail in the bottle case to be commemorated with statue

May Donoghue

A Paisley artist is to commemorate a woman whose legal case gave rise to the modern law of negligence.

Mandy McIntosh will use the sole surviving photo of May Donoghue as inspiration for a bronze statue.

Mrs Donoghue found what is thought to have been a dead snail in a  bottle in Paisley Wellmeadow café in 1928.

She subsequently fell ill and successfully sued the manufacturer, incepting the modern law of negligence.

The House of Lords held that the manufacturer owed a duty of care to Mrs Donoghue, which was breached because it was reasonably foreseeable that the manufacturer’s failure to ensure the product’s safety would lead to harm being done to consumers.

Ms McIntosh said: “There are so few women commemorated in this way that it’s great to help redress the balance a bit. There are more statues of dogs in Edinburgh than there are of women so it’s very fitting that May’s legacy is celebrated in this way.

“When I first started work on the project my focus was on the snail, but then I realised that actually it’s all about May and what she represents.”

She added: “The statue shows May holding her twin granddaughters Elizabeth and May on their christening day in 1952, which is like the scales of justice, her holding these two equal weights.”

Leader of Renfrewshire Council, councillor Iain Nicolson said: “It’s great to see the legacy of the CHE fund continuing and to see more women represented in our public art.

“I look forward to seeing this project and many others come to fruition.”