A pioneering politician: Jenny Coutts MBE
News cuttings books, 1958-1977 (GD246)
To mark Local History Week and International Women's Day in March our featured archive collection is that of a pioneering female politician. In 1958 Jenny (Janet) Coutts of Heath Avenue, Lenzie was elected as Kirkintilloch Town Council's first female Councillor. She later went on to become the town's first female Provost in 1964.
Jenny kept news cuttings relating to local politics, pasting them into a series of hardback volumes. The volumes are a fascinating record of Jenny's civic career.
Janet Maxwell Barclay was born in 1909 in Carnwath, South Lanarkshire, the daughter of Gavin and Janet Barclay. After leaving Lanark Grammar school she completed a secretarial course and worked in offices at Bath Street, Glasgow. She later met her husband Willie through the International Club. The couple moved to Lenzie in 1949 with their two sons and Jenny quickly became a part of the community. Jenny devoted her life to helping others, working tirelessly for the community as a councillor, charity worker and campaigner.
For twenty years she served the Lenzie ward as in independent councillor, becoming the first female Provost of Kirkintilloch in 1964. She was awarded an MBE for her contribution to social work in 1973, and was a Justice of the Peace.
Jenny Coutts believed passionately in community spirit, often saying: “It’s not what you can do for me, but what I can do for you.”
Jenny Coutts was one of Kirkintilloch’s longest serving council members. She died on March 18th 2008 at the age of 98. An environmentally friendly service was held at Langfaulds Cemetery, Bearden. Over 150 people attended the memorial service at Lenzie Union Parish Church to pay their respects to this remarkable woman.
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