Mary King’s Close Creates First Women’s History Tours

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The hour-long story experience (Her) brings to life stories of women often missing from the history books, from those who were persecuted as witches to others who fought for access to the ‘education.

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Mary King’s Close’s was once “a haven for independent women”, with 45% of properties having a female head of household, which was highly unusual for the time.

Visitors can meet Mary King in (Her) story tours

The award-winning site has partnered with Strut Safe for Special Tours, a local, volunteer-run charity set up following the murder of Sarah Everard in March 2021.

During the special tours, visitors will meet characters including Mary King as she reveals how she won the right to vote in the city nearly 300 years ahead of her time.

It comes as the city is holding a special program of events to raise money for a statue in memory of war hero and pioneering doctor Elsie Inglis.

Visitors to History (Her) tours will hear about powerful women who shaped Edinburgh’s history between the 16th and 19th centuries and discover the impact they had on our lives today.

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Katie Scott, Guest Experience Manager at The Real Mary King’s Close, said: ‘On our regular visits we talk to some of the women who lived nearby, but it’s hard to get

in more detail. Our new (Her)story tours allow us to properly tell the stories of women who have lived in Edinburgh and understand what their lives would have been like. I have learned

so much about women’s history while researching the scripts.

His guided tours will delve into the story of Mary Queen of Scots, one of the most famous figures in Scottish history who spent her last night at Stewart’s Close.

The special tours will also feature the real life story of Euphane Maccalzean who was put to death after being accused of witchcraft.

Emilie Lumineau, Marketing Manager, said: “The tours really bring to life what women’s lives were like. I don’t think a lot of people know that. It is as if they had remained invisible in the

stories that we often hear about. One of the stories told in ours is of the Edinburgh Seven who fought hard to study medicine. Another is from Euphanius, who was executed

after fighting for his rights. She was accused of being a witch. She was a women’s rights advocate, who kept her maiden name after her marriage. It was very unusual for

this time. After his death, his daughters fought and reclaimed his land.

On International Women’s Day, tours will be followed by talks and cocktails at The Copper Still, located on the Royal Mile.

Strut Safe volunteers will join guides from The Real Mary King’s Close to discuss women’s history and ongoing efforts to address systemic violence against women.

The (Her)story Tours are also available on Friday 11 and Saturday 12 March. A £1 donation will be given to Strut Safe with every (Her)story Tour ticket purchased.

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