The Guild was reportedly “flooded” by nominations, including one student who claimed to have suggested ‘Roomie McRoom Room’ as a suitable replacement. However, Guild staff and officers shortlisted 5 candidates who had “led real change, made a meaningful impact on the world and reflected the values of the Guild.”
After more than 1,400 votes were cast, it was local hero Kitty Wilkinson who captured Liverpool’s attention. Renowned as ‘Saint of the Slums’, Kitty was an Irish immigrant who, during the cholera outbreak of 1832, allowed the entire community to use her boiler – which was the only one in the neighbourhood. This simple act of kindness saved many lives, creating the first public washhouse in Liverpool. Kitty later became superintendent of the Public Baths and Wash House on Frederick Street – the first of its kind in the UK.
In 2012, a statue of Kitty was unveiled in St George’s Hall; she was the first woman to be given this honour.
Guild Vice President Yasmin Gasimova said: “I’m really glad that students had the opportunity to contribute to the name change. It was the right decision to change from Aung San Suu Kyi to instead recognise the work of a local Scouse hero.”
Unsuccessful shortlisted names included Liverpool-born transgender rights activist April Ashley, Sudanese activist and parliamentarian Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim, Pakistan’s ‘Angel of Mercy’ philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, and George (Theo) Brancker, who in 1960 became the first black President of the Liverpool Guild – or indeed of any British students’ union.