Jack Kane

1911 - 1999

Campaigning local politician who became the first Labour Lord Provost of Edinburgh. Born in Addiewell (West Lothian), the son of a shale-miner, Kane moved in his youth to nearby Stoneyburn and was educated at Bathgate Academy. In the 1930s, the family moved to Niddrie Mains in Edinburgh, where Kane and his brothers organised a tenants' defence league to oppose rent rises and evictions. Kane worked as a librarian (1936-55), interrupted by army service during the Second World War, and then as District Secretary for the Workers' Educational Association (1955-78).

However, it was as a local politician that Kane is best remembered. He served as a town councillor from 1938, initially representing Liberton and then Craigmillar (from 1949). He was instrumental in improving the lives of people in Craigmillar, bringing community facilities and involved in the foundation of the Craigmillar Festival Society in 1962. In 1972, he was elected as Edinburgh's first Labour Lord Provost and the last Provost before local government re-organisation in 1975, which saw Edinburgh subsumed into Lothian Region. Thereafter, he continued as a regional councillor but also served as Chairman of the Electricity Consultative Council for Scotland, the Board of Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland and Age Concern Scotland.

Kane was awarded an OBE in 1969 and an honorary degree by the University of Edinburgh in 1976. However, he respectfully declined a knighthood as Lord Provost, an honour which had previously been automatic for the holder of that office. He gave his name to the Jack Kane Centre in Niddrie.

He died in Edinburgh and was cremated at Warriston Crematorium.

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