Thursday, 11 September 2014

Mary Lily Walker Building Opened

Last week saw the official opening of the new Mary Lily Walker Building.  Based at the High School of Dundee, the building will house their newly established nursery.  There could be no more fitting purpose for a building that bears her name, given that her key concern was the health of young children.

The ceremony marking the opening of the building took place on 1st September.  It was a grand affair, with approximately 75 people in attendance, amongst them the Lord Provost of Dundee, Bob Duncan.   He said, once again, how important and interesting that he thinks the story of Mary Lily Walker is for Dundee.  He is keen that it be known by all the residents of the city, and he is hopeful that the new nursery will be one more way of helping that to be achieved.

Mary Lily Walker was a pupil at the High School during the early 1880s.  Her years there were one of the experiences that helped to craft her very strong identity as a Dundonian.  It was this attachment to the city that would later led her to return to it after spending time in London.  Her strong bonds to the city led her to focus her efforts for reform on the city of her birth, rather than take up invitations to focus on other British cities that were also struggling with poverty and inequality.  It was precisely because she was a former pupil that the High School wanted to honour her memory formally.

Fascinated by the story of
Katie Morag, read by the author!
The speakers at the opening ceremony included John Halliday, Rector of the High School, as well as the guest of honour, Mairi Hedderwick, author of the classic Katie Morag series.  Along with treating the attendant children to a reading of her stories, Dr. Hedderwick expressed her personal interest in the story of Mary Lily Walker.  She was delighted to receive a copy of Mary Lily’s biography (written by author Eddie Small and published in 2013).

The photos in this blog show how chuffed the Mary Lily Walker Project Group was with the new plaques bearing her name, and how pleased they were to be amongst the many guests opening the new building.  We look forward to supporting the work of the new nursery team, led by Sarah Tosh.  We are very grateful to the High School for choosing to remember and commend the memory of their former pupil in this lasting way.

Team celebrations!

The launch gathering.

The new nursery team.

Unveiling the plaque