SoSS Celebrates Mary Burtons bicentennial birthday!



Last week, our School celebrated the bicentennial birthday of Mary Burton with a tea party in the staff room! Colleagues from both professional services and faculty joined together to 'toast' this remarkable woman.

Burton has a building named after here in the School of Social Sciences and her story one of strength and compassion. She Mary Burton persuaded the then named 'Watt Institution and School of Arts to open its doors to female students in 1869 - 23 years before any other Scottish universities. Mary became the first female Director on the School's Board of Directors and a life Governor of Heriot-Watt College.

We are proud to be part of a University that recognises and celebrates women like Mary, a lesser known fact is that she also was a foster carer and fostered Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of Sherlock Holmes, from the ages of 7 to 9, when his own home life became chaotic due to parental alcoholism. Mary believed that men as well as women should be taught to sew, knit and cook for themselves. What a woman! Mary was a noted suffragist and when she died she bequeathed money to support a 'campaign for the admission of women to sit as members of parliament'. 

Heriot Watt has launched a new Mary Burton fund on her bicentennial year for women in STEM and this is open for applications now with a deadline of 4 March 2019. Applications are requested from students who wish to carry out an extra-curricular project that will further their career in STEM.