A YEAR of celebrations began today to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Mary Lily Walker, Dundee’s “forgotten heroine.”
Miss Walker, the daughter of a wealthy solicitor, was a leading social reformer who established a women’s hospital in the city, a pioneering restaurant for nursing mothers, and an invalid school.
She also founded Scotland’s first infant health service and was the first to gather evidence on the appalling housing conditions and the health of women working in Dundee’s jute factories.
An organising committee, established to mark the centenary of her death, is beginning a series of events tonight with a special talk on the life and legacy of Miss Walker at the Grey Lodge Settlement, the community centre she established in the city.
A spokesman for the committee said: “Mary Lily Walker is one of Dundee’s forgotten heroines. She founded Scotland’s first infant health service and first nursing mothers’ restaurant. The community centre that she established, Grey Lodge Settlement, still serves families living in the city. Yet her commitment to Dundee, and the many achievements that came from that, have been forgotten over time. The anniversary of her death marks the perfect time to renew her memory.”
The events being planned include a civic reception on 27 June at Dundee City Chambers, hosted by Lord Provost Bob Duncan, walking tours, a charity ball and a conference on the “Early Years Movement” in which she played pivotal role.
The committee spokesman said: “The conference will bring together some of the UK’s most inspiring early years champions, while also shining a light on some innovative projects on the ground in Dundee.”