Nicola Sturgeon unveils Edinburgh Vennel plaque to honour ‘youngest suffragette’ Bessie Watson

Nicola Sturgeon unveiled a commemorative plaque to Bessie Watson Scotland's Youngest Suffragette. Picture: Contributed
Nicola Sturgeon unveiled a commemorative plaque to Bessie Watson Scotland's Youngest Suffragette. Picture: Contributed
0
Have your say

The youngest suffragette, bagpiping Bessie Watson, has been commemorated by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Edinburgh-born Bessie joined the suffragette movement aged just nine, playing the bagpipes across the country on marches campaigning for equality and the right for women to vote. She died aged 90 in 1992.

The present location of the 6VT Youth Cafe in The Vennel was once the site of Bessie's family home. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

The present location of the 6VT Youth Cafe in The Vennel was once the site of Bessie's family home. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Unveiling the “poignant” memorial plaque in the Vennel, opposite Edinburgh Castle, Ms Sturgeon said: “Bessie Watson was undoubtedly a very impressive and a very, very inspirational young woman. She took part in suffragette marches and pageants from the age of nine, which is quite incredible.

“To every women and girl here today and across the world today – we owe so much to people like Bessie Watson, because without their campaigning and the sacrifices they made, I certainly wouldn’t be standing here as First Minister and we wouldn’t have all the opportunities that we take for granted.”

The First Minister was joined on her walk down the Vennel’s steps by a female bagpipe player, while a large crowd of youth centre members and volunteers gathered to watch the plaque – covered by a Votes for Women banner – being revealed.

Recalling how the young campaigner used to play the bagpipes outside the former Calton jail, which is now home to the Scottish Government headquarters, an “emotional” Ms Sturgeon added: “I go into work in the morning to the place where Bessie would have played and knowing that I go in there now as the first woman to be First Minister of Scotland.”

Bessie Watson.

Bessie Watson.