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Hamish Henderson

Born. 1919 Blairgowrie, Angus, Scotland to a single mother.

Lived in an orphanage in London after her death, having won a scholarship to Dulwich School in London.

Studied Modern Languages at Downing College, Cambridge.

WW2 -ran messages for a Quaker organization aiding the German resistance and helped rescue Jews. Received a commission in the Intelligence Corps. Took part in the Desert War.

His 1948 poetry book about his experiences in the war, Elegies for the Dead in Cyrenaica, received the Somerset Maugham Award.

Instrumental in bringing about the Edinburgh People’s Festival Ceilidh in 1951, which placed traditionally performed Scottish folk music on the public stage for the first time. However, the People’s Festival, of which it was part, was planned as a left-wing competitor to the Edinburgh Festival and was was deeply controversial which led to the Labour Party declaring it a “Proscribed Organisation and it being  permanently cancelled.

1955-1987 he was on the staff of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Scottish Studies which he co-founded

Henderson was a socialist a campaigner for Sctottish Home Rule, openly bisexual, and vocal about gay rights and acceptance.

Died 8 March 2002 aged 82.

Survived by his wife Kätzel and their daughters, Janet and Christine Henderson.