Soutar Flagstone Unveiled
8th May 2017
The 28 April 2017 marked not only the birthday of William Soutar (1898-1943) but also the unveiling of a commemorative flagstone at Makar’s Court in Edinburgh. Perth poet William Soutar is famous for his rhymes for children and other work in Scots, and also for the fact that he was bedridden with illness from 1930 onwards. The home his father built in Perth still stands and is known simply as ‘the Soutar Hoose’. At the beginning of the unveiling ceremony Councillor Richard Lewis, Convener for Culture and Sport at Edinburgh City Council, read a biography of the poet. He was followed by Iain Mackintosh, who is both Chairman of the Friends of William Soutar and a member of the Scots Language Centre council. Iain gave thanks to Edinburgh Council for their permission to lay down the Soutar flagstone which was carved by stonemason David Lindsay. Iain also praised the late Christine Davis who had done much to bring about the flagstone but had sadly died before completion.
Three Perthshire schoolchildren – Leah Menzies (Moncreiffe), Morgan Patterson (Strathallan) and Charlotte Roach (Viewlands) – all winners of the Bairnrhymes Competition, recited their Soutar poems for the gathered assembly. There were also speeches by Dr Joy Hendry (editor, Chapman) and Jim Carruthers (treasurer, Friends of Soutar). Janette Soutar, cousin of the poet, performed the unveiling ceremony assisted by Councillor Lewis when they lifted the Saltire that had been covering the flagstone. The flagstone reads:
‘William Soutar 1898-1943
I thocht the hale world was there
Sae sma in a sma room.’