Parliament rooms honour Scottish icons at long last

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HEROES of history are finally being given their proper place in the Scottish Parliament – four years after MSPs agreed to honour them.

Holyrood’s six committee rooms were named in 2010 after famous Scots from Robert Burns to Adam Smith but, despite signs at the doors, parliament documents continued to refer to the rooms only by their numbers – and most people had no idea what the names were.

Now, however, agendas will feature the room names clearly spelled out with the room number in brackets afterwards.

The move comes after the Evening News highlighted the apparent snub to Scotland’s heroes earlier this year.

SNP MSP Kenny Gibson, who first proposed naming the rooms, said he was delighted the names were now being used properly, and pledged to campaign for all the parliament’s public rooms to be given names in addition to numbers.

He said: “I hope the exercise will continue so we can give the rooms in the parliament a bit more character and personality.

“It’s not as if we have any shortage of famous Scots. If there’s one thing we have it’s a rich history.”

Some 45 MSPs put forward a total of 170 suggestions for naming the committee rooms.

The rooms are named after national bard Robert Burns (Committee Room 1), women’s education pioneer Mary Fairfax Somerville (CR2), the man who discovered penicillin, Sir Alexander Fleming (CR3), physicist James Clerk Maxwell (CR4), economist and philosopher Adam Smith (CR5) and explorer and missionary David Livingstone (CR6).

Mr Gibson said a similar system should be followed to choose what other rooms should be called.

But Lothian Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale was less than enthusiastic about a wholesale redesignation of rooms.

She said: “The whole building is steeped in history and we have pictures on the walls. Ten years into the parliament, this just further complicates things.

“Numbers might be dull, but at least they are practical. This is asking everyone to relearn what is essentially a code for finding places.”

A Holyrood spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Parliament was delighted to name our committee rooms after six great Scots. These names are already widely used in our events and exhibitions materials and will also now feature on our committee agendas.”

iswanson@edinburghnews.com