1 Madge Easton Anderson is one of six trailblazing women from Scotland’s past to have been recognised with a Historic Environment Scotland (HES) Commemorative Plaque this month. The national scheme, which has been running since 2012, celebrates noteworthy individuals from Scottish public life, as nominated by the public, by erecting plaques on buildings with strong links to their life or work.

Glasgow Times:

2 Madge overcame discrimination to become the first female lawyer, not just in Scotland but in the UK, paving the way for generations of women, like Scotland’s first female Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini. She was also a partner in the first UK law firm to be run only by women, when she moved to London to set up in business with Englishwomen Edith Annie Berthen and Beatrice Honour Davy.

Glasgow Times:

3 Born in Glasgow in 1896 to a surgical instrument maker called Robert Easton Anderson and his wife Anne Catherine Chisholm, whose family were in the bookselling trade, she grew up in Pollokshields and was educated at Hutcheson’s Grammar School and Glasgow University. She began her working life as an apprentice law agent at Maclay Murray & Spens in 1917, at a time when it would not have been possible for her to qualify as a lawyer. It was only after the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act of 1919 that women could become lawyers for the first time.

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4 In December 1920, she became the first woman in the United Kingdom to qualify as a solicitor. Through the university’s settlement organisation, she also volunteered her time to offer free legal advice to those in the Anderston community of Glasgow. Records show that she acted as a ‘Poor Man’s Lawyer’ from 1920-1930.

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5 The HES plaque will be installed at The Stair Building, which houses the University of Glasgow’s School of Law.