Glasgow’s suffragette tree voted Scotland’s most-loved

An oak tree planted in Glasgow nearly a century ago as a tribute to the struggle faced by Scottish suffragettes has been named the best-loved tree north of the border.

The Suffragette Oak, Kelvin Way, Glasgow,Scottish Tree of the Year 2015

The Suffragette Oak, in Kelvingrove Park, came out favourite in a public vote from six historical trees that were short-listed in the contest.

Contenders included a giant redwood said to have been visited by Rob Roy MacGregor and William Wallace, a survivor of the ancient forest made famous by William Shakespeare in “The Scottish Play” and the oldest plant in Edinburgh’s botanic gardens.

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The ancient oak was planted on 20 April 1918 by a number of suffrage organisations to celebrate women being granted the right to vote earlier that year.

The Suffragette Oak.

It was nominated to take part in the competition by Glasgow Women’s Library, a charity-run information resource based on feminist principles.

The tree will go forward alongside finalists from England, Wales and Northern Ireland to vie against trees from 15 European countries for the title of European Tree of the Year in 2016.

Representatives from the library were presented with the Scottish Tree of the Year trophy by broadcaster Euan McIlwraith at a prize-giving reception in the Scottish Parliament last night.

Receiving the award, librarian Wendy Kirk said: “We’re thrilled that the Suffragette Oak has been chosen by the public to be Scotland’s Tree of the Year.

“This beautiful tree is part of the rich fabric of Glasgow’s social and political history, and also women’s history.

“Being part of the competition has been a fantastic and fun-filled opportunity to celebrate, champion and raise awareness of the world-changing achievements of women.

“I’m sure that the suffragettes would have been delighted to know that nearly 100 years on the tiny sapling they planted has become the Scottish Tree of the Year.”

Carol Evans, director of contest organiser Woodland Trust Scotland, said: “I would like to congratulate all of the finalists in Scottish Tree of the Year for taking part in the competition to raise awareness and harness local pride around the trees that are special to them, and especially Glasgow Women’s Library for organising such a successful campaign.

“One of the reasons for holding the competition is to uncover the hidden history that many trees represent, and to encourage people to value and care for them. It’s all too easy to walk by trees such as the Suffragette Oak without stopping to discover their heritage.”

Scottish tree of the year 2015

1 Suffragette Oak, Kelvingrove, Glasgow. Nominated by Glasgow Women’s Library

2 Benmore’s Giant Redwood, near Dunoon. Nominated by Benmore Botanic Garden.

3 Clachan Oak, Balfron, nominated by Derek Townsend.

4 Bibby Tree, Edinburgh. Nominated by Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

5 Birnam Oak, Perthshire. Nominated by Christene Leiper.

6 Poker Tree, Aberfoyle. Nominated by Fergus Wood.