A lassies' loo where Scots made a wee bit of history

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The ladies’ lavatory of Bella Italia in Central Edinburgh has three cubicles, the wall tiles are white with diagonal green stripes and the ceiling is grey chipboard. There is little to suggest that the site was of importance in the unification of England and Scotland and, even yesterday, few visitors were engaged upon pilgrimages.

But, according to Richard Finlay, of the University of Strathclyde, it was there, 300 years ago yesterday, that leaders of the old Scottish Parliament signed the Act of Union.

“They were processing along the Royal Mile towards Parliament,” Professor Finlay told The Times. “In the streets there was an angry mob, hounding the politicians who had betrayed the nation, so they took refuge in a cellar. And that’s the spot where it was signed.”

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