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New head office named after champion of the disadvantaged

A painted portrait of Agnes Husband

A suffragette who championed the disadvantaged, women’s rights and the unemployed , whilst also campaigning for education for the poor, is the inspiration behind the name of our new head office in Dundee.

Agnes Husband House has been selected as the title of the soon-to-open building at the city’s waterfront after nominations were invited from across the organisation and an external panel. Before shortlisting suggestions, guidance and advice was taken from local historians, such as Mary Henderson, the author of Dundee Women’s Trail.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security Shirley-Anne Somerville announced the former city councillor’s name as the preferred choice from nominations, which contained a range of notable people from history, names relating to Dundee and Social Security Scotland’s values.

Ms 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.”

David Wallace, chief executive of Social Security Scotland, said: “Agnes Husband House will be an important building for Social Security Scotland. As the organisation continues to grow, we will play an increasingly prominent role in delivering support to people throughout Scotland.

“Every day colleagues will see the name of a person who dedicated her life to improving the lives of others and I hope it acts as a continual inspiration and reminder to us all.”

Mrs Henderson 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.”

Who was Agnes Husband?

  • Born in 1852, Agnes 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.
  • She was President of the Women's Freedom League, and involved in the Suffragette Movement in Dundee.
  • Agnes became the fifth woman to be given the Freedom of the City of Dundee in 1924 in recognition of her tireless commitment to the rights of women and the poor. She died in 1929. There is a plaque at Dundee City Chambers and a portrait in Dundee’s McManus Galleries in her memory.

Three members of staff suggested Agnes Husband’s name. One of the nominators, Client Experience Adviser Andy Wood, said: “In time, more people will become aware of her inspiring story and 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 work being located in the heart of Agnes Husband’s city and the role we are playing in carrying on some of that work now and in the future.”

Social Security Scotland has signed a 20-year lease and will be the latest high-profile tenant in the regenerated area. Lockdown rules permitting, the first employees will be able to start working from the building from early summer 2021.

Agnes Husband House, when fitted out and ready for occupation, will be our main office location in Dundee. In addition, we also have a second operational site in Glasgow city centre and a staff presence in every local authority across Scotland.

New head office in Dundee - Agnes Husband House
New head office in Dundee - Agnes Husband House

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