A tale of two treaties: Scottish Parliament marks 1707 Act of Union

15/01/2007

A unique opportunity to view the two historical documents that officially joined Scotland and England together will form part of the Scottish Parliament’s commemoration of the 1707 Act of Union, it was revealed today.

Announced on the eve of the 300th anniversary of when the treaty was ratified by the first Scottish Parliament, this is the first time that the Scottish and English copies of the treaty have been displayed side by side in Scotland since they were signed 300 years ago.

The treaties will be displayed as part of a free public exhibition, entitled ‘Making the Act of Union 1707’, and will run in Holyrood’s main hall from Friday 21 September to Sunday 18 November.

The exhibition, which is a joint initiative between the Scottish Parliament, the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the National Archives of Scotland, will explore the events that led to the union of Scotland and England and alongside the two treaties, will also feature an illuminated copy of the Act of Union gifted by Queen Anne in 1707.

Other events scheduled for the year include an educational project for schools entitled “A’ Union for a’ that” to be run in conjunction with the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, the National Archives of Scotland, Historic Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and the Law Society of Scotland.

Workshops will be hosted at Edinburgh Castle and at Holyrood from September to November and will be linked by a walking tour of the Royal Mile.

Presiding Officer George Reid MSP said:

"As a significant event in Scotland’s history the Scottish Parliament along with many other UK and Scottish organisations will mark the 1707 Act of Union which saw the creation of the United Kingdom as we know it today.

"The events planned will offer the opportunity for people from throughout Scotland to learn about their history and about today’s Parliament and the changes that devolution has brought to Scotland as a nation within the Union.”

Confirmed events

16 January

The Presiding Officer will attend a reception in Dover House hosted by Chancellor of the Exchequer and Master of the Royal Mint Gordon Brown MP and Secretary of State for Scotland Douglas Alexander MP. The Reception will mark the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of the Union and launches the Royal Mint commemorative £2 coin.

18 June

The Parliament will host a sixth year conference for Edinburgh schools which will include debates on the history and future of the Union.

August

The Parliament’s Festival of Politics is scheduled to have a number of events exploring the history of the United Kingdom.

September to November

“A’ Union for a’ that” educational events with workshops at Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood. A CD Rom and booklet will accompany this initiative.

7 September

International Commission for the History of Representative and Parliamentary Institutions 2007 Conference.

Conference of leading academics: this prominent international forum which promotes research in all periods into the origins growth and development of representative and parliamentary institutions throughout the world.

The theme of the 2007 conference will be ‘Parliaments and Political Unions’. The 1707 Act of Union will play an important part of this.

21 September to 18 November

“Making the Act of Union” exhibition on display at Holyrood. The House of Lords will host the exhibition during summer 2007.

October 2007

Scottish Parliament Project reception to launch website hosting digitised acts of the pre-1707 Scottish Parliament in the Main Hall at Holyrood.

The Scottish Parliament Project [SPP], based at the University of St Andrews , was established in 1997 with funding from the Scottish Office. Its objective is to create a new digital edition of the acts of the Scottish Parliament, between its earliest known proceedings in 1235 and the Union of 1707.

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