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The Scotsman

The Scotsman
Type Daily newspaper
Format Compact
Owner(s) Johnston Press
Editor Ian Stewart[1]
Founded 1817
Headquarters Edinburgh
Circulation 27,208 (2014)[2]
Sister newspapers Scotland on Sunday
ISSN 0307-5850
OCLC number Template:OCLC search link

The Scotsman is a Scottish compact newspaper published from Edinburgh. It was a broadsheet until 16 August 2004. The Scotsman Publications Ltd also issues the Edinburgh Evening News and the Herald & Post series of free newspapers in Edinburgh, Fife, and West Lothian.

As of 2014, it had an audited print circulation of 27,208,[2] down from 35,949 in 2012 (Jan - Aug average) and 42,581 in August 2011.[3] websites, including the news site, job site, property site, mobile site and others have an average of 119,672 visitors a day.[4]


File:Scotsman Office 1860 by Peddie and Kinnear.jpg
Scotsman Office 1860 by Peddie and Kinnear
File:Scotsman Buildings as seen from below.JPG
Scotsman Buildings as seen from below
File:Apex of the Scotsman Offices of 1899.jpg
Apex of the Scotsman Offices of 1899
File:Barclay House.JPG
Barclay House, former home of The Scotsman's offices in Edinburgh

The Scotsman was launched[5] in 1817 as a liberal weekly newspaper by lawyer William Ritchie and customs official Charles Maclaren in response to the "unblushing subservience" of competing newspapers to the Edinburgh establishment. The paper was pledged to "impartiality, firmness and independence". After the abolition of newspaper stamp tax in Scotland in 1850, The Scotsman was relaunched as a daily newspaper priced at 1d and a circulation of 6,000 copies.

In 1860 they obtained a purpose built office on Cockburn Street in Edinburgh designed in the Scots baronial style by the architects Peddie & Kinnear.[6] The building bears the initials "JR" for John Ritchie the founder of the company. In 1902 they moved to huge new offices at the top of the street, facing onto North Bridge, designed by Dunn & Findlay (Findlay being the son of the then owner). This huge building had taken three years to build and also had connected printworks on Market Street (now the City Art Centre). The printworks connected below road level direct to Waverley Station in a highly efficient production line.

In 1953 the newspaper was bought by Canadian millionaire Roy Thomson who was in the process of building a large media group. The paper was bought in 1995 by David and Frederick Barclay for £85 million. They moved the newspaper from its Edinburgh office on North Bridge, which is now an upmarket hotel, to modern offices in Holyrood Road designed by Edinburgh architects CDA, near the subsequent location of the Scottish Parliament Building. The daily was awarded by the Society for News Design (SND) the World’s Best Designed Newspaper™ for 1994.[7]

In December 2005, The Scotsman was acquired, in a £160 million deal, by its present owners Johnston Press a company founded in Scotland and now one of the top three largest local newspaper publishers in the UK. Ian Stewart has been the editor since June 2012, after a reshuffle of senior management in April 2012 during which John McLellan who was the paper's editor-in-chief was dismissed. Ian Stewart was previously editor of Edinburgh Evening News and remains as the editor of Scotland on Sunday.

In 2012, The Scotsman was named Newspaper of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.[8]

In 2006 Barclay Brothers sold Barclay House to Irish property magnate Lochlann Quinn and in 2013 Scottish video games maker Rockstar North, of Grand Theft Auto fame, signed the lease causing Johnston Press group to move out in June 2014.[9][10] Johnson Press have downsized to refurbished premises at Orchard Brae House in Queensferry Road, Edinburgh, a move which was quoted as saving the group £1million per annum in rent.[11]

Political stance

In the run up to the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum former Scotsman journalist, Derek Bateman, published an open letter to The Scotsman. The highly critical letter included, "In my view you have done nothing to further the cause of democracy in Scotland, you have slavishly pursued a Westminster agenda, misled readers, treated Yes and the 40 per cent of the Scots who support it with contempt and along with the rest of the old media, let down the country at a crucial moment in its history. The contrast with the paper I joined in 1968 and the role it played in Scottish life and more precisely in the movement for devolution under men of integrity in Alastair Dunnett and Eric B Mackay, couldn’t be more marked."[12]

The newspaper backed a 'No' vote in the referendum on Scottish independence.[13]


1817: William Ritchie
1817: Charles Maclaren
1818: John Ramsay McCulloch
1843: John Hill Burton (acting)
1846: Alexander Russel
1876: Robert Wallace
1880: Charles Alfred Cooper[14]
1905: John Pettigrew Croal[15]
1924: George A. Waters
1944: James Murray Watson
1955: John Buchanan (acting)
1956: Alastair Dunnett
1972: Eric MacKay
1985: Chris Baur
1988: Magnus Linklater
1994: Andrew Jaspan
1995: James Seaton
1997: Martin Clarke
1998: Alan Ruddock
2000: Tim Luckhurst
2000: Rebecca Hardy
2001: Iain Martin
2004: John McGurk
2006: Mike Gilson
2009: John McLellan
2012: Ian Stewart

Source: The Scotsman Digital Archive[dead link]

Since 1998, The Scotsman has had an internet portal that features the latest news, sports, business, property, motors and sport in different sections of the site. It has had live webcams and panoramas around Scotland. It also has sections for other Scotsman Publications including Scotland on Sunday and the Evening News.

See also


  1. ^ "New man in the editor’s chair at The Scotsman". The Scotsman (UK). 12 June 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Scottish newspaper see sales slump". 7 December 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Lambourne, Helen (14 September 2012). "Circulation down 12pc at flagship Scottish daily". Hold the Front Page (UK). Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "". 
  5. ^ "The Scotsman Archive: Search date = 25 January 1817". The Scotsman Digital Archive. UK. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Dictionary of Scottish Architects: Peddie & Kinnear
  7. ^ "World’s Best-Designed winners (2006)". Society for News Design. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "John McLellan collects newspaper of the year award". Press Gazette (UK). 20 April 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  9. ^ Lambourne, Helen. "Regional daily ‘to seek new headquarters’". Hold the Front Page. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "Nostalgia: Evening News on the move". Edinburgh Evening News. 21 June 2014. 
  11. ^ Greenslade, Roy. "Johnston Press saves £1m a year with office move for The Scotsman". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "To The Editor", Derek Bateman, 9 August 2014
  13. ^ "Scotlands decision - The Scotsmans Verdict". The Scotsman. 10 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "Cooper, Charles Alfred". Who's Who, 59: p. 380. 1907. 
  15. ^ "Croal, J. P.". Who's Who, 59: p. 413. 1907. 

External links