Mystery as plaque commemorating writer Edgar Allan Poe vanishes from Scottish town

American Gothic writer Edgar Allan Poe photographed in 1904. Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
American Gothic writer Edgar Allan Poe photographed in 1904. Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Share this article
Have your say

Mystery surrounds the disappearance of a blue plaque commemorating American Gothic writer Edgar Allan Poe, from the Scots town where he lived as a schoolboy.

The writer, credited with inventing the modern detective novel, was educated at grammar school in Irvine, North Ayrshire, in 1815 - where his adoptive father John Allan had been born.

Little Edgar would have only been six years old when he lived in Scotland, and moved down south the following year.

In 1820 he returned to America and soon embarked on a writing career which would inspire episodes of The Simpsons centuries after his death.

In a bid to celebrate the author's life, North Ayrshire Council arranged for a blue plaque to be displayed at the family's former home.

It was said to be put on a wall behind a fruit stall in Rivergate Shopping Centre - but has since vanished, with questions being raised about whether it had ever been installed at all.

Local history enthusiast Billy Kerr said: "I live directly behind the fruit stall in Rivergate and have never seen a plaque for Poe.

"That's not to say North Ayrshire Council didn't install one there, it may well have been removed shortly after being installed by a trophy hunter...which goes to prove Poe's popularity.

"It is correct that the fruit stall location is approximately where Poe stayed in an Allan-owned property that once stood there.

"I'm pleased that NAC are planning to reinstate the plaque soon, at least it's something."

A spokesman for North Ayrshire Council said: "We are aware that the plaque is no longer there and are looking into this.

"If necessary, we will look to replace the plaque when we are putting up others in North Ayrshire later in the year.

"In the meantime, the online information on Edgar Allan Poe that forms part of the North Ayrshire Heritage Trail will remain."

Namechecked in The Beatles song I Am The Walrus, Allan Poe is also among several dozen notable figures and celebrities depicted on the sleeve of the Fab Four's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

For unlimited access to Scotland’s best news, sport and expert analysis, SUBSCRIBE to The Scotsman website here