Scotland’s Dundee-based social security headquarters will be named after city suffragette Agnes Husband.
Born in 1852, Miss Husband was elected in 1901 as one of the first two women on Dundee Council.
In 1905 she was elected to the school board where she championed education and resources for the poor. This included providing books, meals and nursery education to children in high levels of poverty.
Miss Husband became the fifth woman given the Freedom of the City of Dundee in 1924, in recognition of her commitment to the rights of women and the poor.
She was president of the Women’s Freedom League, a UK group that campaigned for votes for women in the early 20th Century.
The waterfront building, heavily criticised during its construction, was previously known as the Earl Grey Building or Site Six.
Quiet but firm
Local historian Mary Henderson, author of Dundee Women’s Trail, advised the new government agency before it settled on the name.
She said: “Miss Husband had an emphasis on respect, for women and for the disadvantaged.
“She was quiet but firm, and dedicated so much of her life to helping the poor and oppressed, especially children.
“Her achievements as a councillor clearly deserve to be honoured and her legacy lives on.
“I know those who work here will be proud to follow in her footsteps.”
Officials chose Agnes Husband House as the name of the soon-to-open building after nominations from staff and an external panel.
Client experience adviser Andy Wood, one of those who suggested the name, said: “In time, more people will become aware of her inspiring story.
“They will learn more about her and the important work she did. It also makes me hopeful that people will take pride in our organisation and the work we do in the heart of Agnes Husband’s city.”
There is a plaque at Dundee City Chambers and a portrait in Dundee’s McManus Galleries in Miss Husband’s memory.
Site Six and Earl Grey no more
Social Security Scotland previously signed a 20-year lease.
Lockdown rules permitting, the first employees will start work from the building from early summer 2021.
Scottish Government social security secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “With dignity, fairness and respect at the core of Social Security Scotland’s work, it is fitting that Agnes Husband’s name will be associated with its home.
“As the organisation takes on responsibility for more benefits, people will see that the service is there to support everyone when they need it.
“This is in keeping with what we know about Agnes and everything she stood for.”