20th CENTURY TO PRESENT DAY
As the legal profession moved into the twentieth century, it began to change, and the Faculty changed with it. Find out about the first female members of the Faculty and some of the interesting items the Faculty acquired in the twentieth century. The Faculty continues to support members today, providing access to library resources and a Continuing Professional Development education programme.
Portrait photo of Muriel Isabelle Jeffrey, who was one of the first female lawyers in Scotland, and became the first female member of the Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow
As the Faculty moved into the 20th century, there were more changes to the legal profession in Scotland. In 1920, Madge Easton Anderson became the first woman in Scotland to qualify as a solicitor. Four years later, the Faculty admitted its first female member: Muriel Isabelle Jeffrey. Jeffrey was the fifth woman to qualify as a solicitor in Scotland, graduating from the University of Glasgow with a B.L. in 1924. Jeffrey went on to become a partner in the firm Grieve and Jeffrey, making her one of the first women to attain a partnership in a law firm.
The years after the First World War were a time of greatly expanded freedom for women, as more opportunities for work opened up to them. The campaign for full suffrage for women engaged more women in public life and the abolition of discriminatory laws made education and the professions more accessible to women, and, consequently, the number of female lawyers increased exponentially in the 20th century.
The Royal Faculty holds some items from more modern history, materials which reflect its status as an important part of the history of Glasgow. The Dean's gavel is made of oak which came from a roof beam of Glasgow Cathedral which was removed during renovation. The Faculty's mace was commissioned by the Dean in 1954. It is made of a narwhal horn, with a silver topper, which bears the Faculty's crest. The two stained glass windows in the library, one in the small library, and one above the main door, are recent additions, and both prominently feature St Mungo from the Faculty’s crest. Stained glass windows had been considered during the construction of the Royal Faculty building, and the German window-makers who were in Glasgow at the time working on the windows of Glasgow Cathedral were considered for the job, but the idea was ultimately rejected, with plain glass windows being installed instead.
Today, the RFPG is a body which supports the legal profession in Glasgow and the West of Scotland, and which continues to maintain a library for the use of its members. Additionally, the RFPG runs a CPD education programme, and offers the use of its hall for events. The building has been used as a filming location on several occasions, for both film and television. Along with several appearances as an interview location, the Royal Faculty building has been used as a location in the films 'Shallow Grave' and 'The Wife'.