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 You are in: Special Report: 1999: 06/99: Scottish Parliament opening  
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EDITIONS
Scottish Parliament opening Thursday, 1 July, 1999, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK
Kirk's home hosts moment of history
Assembly Hall
The parliament is temporarily housed in the Assembly Hall
After a brief ceremony in the Assembly Hall on 1 July, the Queen declared Scotland's parliament open.

Normally the venue for the General Assembly Hall of the Church of Scotland, the Assembly Hall was selected as the temporary home of the parliament until construction of the permanent building at Holyrood is completed in 2001.

It was seen as fitting that the new parliament should begin its life in a venue positioned at the top of the Royal Mile.

Glasgow complaints

But the decision did not find favour everywhere, with council leaders in Glasgow complaining that it had plenty of suitable venues available and should have been allowed to share, at least briefly, in the reshaping of the Scottish political landscape.

With that row forgotten a new one arose over whether or not MSPs should move from the Assembly Hall to the new Holyrood site after all.

The Mound
The Mound: Preferred by some MSPs
This was fuelled partly by cost concerns but also by fondness of some MSPs for the Kirk's building on The Mound - a building seen as more in keeping than a modern structure with the solemn task of government.

It was designed by William Playfair and built in the mid-19th century as a church and theological college for the Free Church.

Following the union of the Church of Scotland and United Free Church it became the home of the General Assembly.

It will return to Kirk usage in 2001 but before that it played host to the climax of events marking the parliament's opening.

Crown of Scotland

The Queen, preceded by the Crown of Scotland, entered the Chamber to a fanfare and, after brief formalities, was welcomed by the Presiding Officer Sir David Steel.

She declaree the parliament open and, in celebration of Scotland's history and tradition, music, poetry and the spoken word welcomed in the new era.

Within half an hour the proceedings were over but the Assembly Hall - rather than the future Holyrood site - staged that most memorable of occasions.

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