History of the Lunch

The Women of Scotland Lunch was founded in 1958 by Bill and May Hamp-Hamilton – he a newspaper and shipping executive, she a teacher – the Women of Scotland Luncheon, as it was then called, was designed to draw together a cross-section of influential women in Scotland ‘to celebrate their success in many and varied endeavours’ which in those days was very often in the face of traditional disapproval.

Nowadays our guests still continue to be just that – ladies who are achievers in their own field or who have special qualities or talents. May continued to be involved in the lunch for the next 35 years until she and Bill were tragically killed in a car accident.

We have supported a wide range of charities, often medically associated and most of them touching the lives of us all in some way. It is good to know that our support for each charity has not only been financial, but has also helped to raise awareness of their work.

Over the years our guest speakers have educated and inspired us with their vast range of life experiences. We have welcomed ladies as diverse as Ruth Davidson, Dame Sue Black, Ena and Audrey Baxter, Winnie Ewing, Mamie and Sally Magnusson, The Calendar Girls, Jean Muir CBE, Kirsty Wark, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, The Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini QC and Muriel Gray.

We have listened with rapt attention to experts from the worlds of academia, haute cuisine, the judiciary, cosmetics, the Salvation Army, pathology, pharmaceuticals, fashion, politics, interior design, show jumping, fine art, the armed and prison services, nursing and medical, the arts and atomic energy, to list but a few.

The themes for our speakers are often challenging and have included ‘In a man’s world’, ‘Go for It’, ‘Achieving and Living’, Responding to Responsibility’, ‘A Degree of Tension’, ‘The Challenge of Change’, and ‘Expectations of Reality’.

The programme has changed little since it was first thought of some 60 years ago but our guests enjoy the opportunity of creating new and interesting companionships and always create a convivial atmosphere.

We would love our lunch to continue to grow in popularity and impact as a tribute to all the inspirational women who have contributed to it.

Full lists of past: Charities, Speakers, and Guest chairs