Donald Dewar Room

The Donald Dewar Room is on the Canongate level of Queensberry House. The rooms were once the bedroom and dressing room of the second Duke of Queensberry.  It now houses the collection of books and other memorabilia gifted to the Parliament by the family of Donald Dewar, Scotland's first First Minister who died in October 2000.

The Dewar Collection contains around 1800 items. Most are books, including family owned items, gifts, titles reviewed by Donald Dewar along with his notes and corresponding newspaper reviews, and some rare and important antiquarian material. There are also photographs, election material, newspaper cuttings and events programmes. In addition, the family gifted a portrait of Donald Dewar by Anne Mackintosh and Iain Leckie donated a series of 9 caricatures.

The room also contains a grandfather clock which belonged to Keir Hardie, founder of the Independent Labour Party. It was made by Laing the Jeweller and the company has loaned the clock to the Parliament for 10 years.

The room is a quiet study room for MSPs but is open to the public by appointment on Mondays and Fridays throughout the year.

Design Features

Oak Table

In the centre of the room is an oak table designed by Enric Miralles, made by Angus Johnston at Ben Dawson Furniture, and gifted to the Parliament by the architects. It is composed of several moveable sections and also contains inbuilt storage compartments. The table and the shelving reflect designs used by Enric Miralles in his home and office.

Lighting

The Artichoke lights in the Dewar Room are manufactured by Louis Poulsen. This classic design by Poul Henningsen was first produced in the 1950s.

Quotation

On the threshold of the room is a quotation cut in Caithness stone:

"People in Scotland want a degree of government for themselves.  It is not beyond the wit of man to devise the institutions to meet these demands."

This is from a speech that John P Mackintosh made to the House of Commons during the Scotland and Wales Bill in 1976. John P Mackintosh was a former parliamentary colleague of Donald Dewar, and a strong proponent of devolution.

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