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The Scotsman is a Scottish compact newspaper and daily news website headquartered in Edinburgh. First established as a radical political paper in 1817, it began daily publication in 1855 and remained a broadsheet until August 2004. Its parent company, JPIMedia, also publishes the Edinburgh Evening News. It had an audited print circulation of 16,349 for July to December 2018.[citation needed] Its website,, had an average of 138,000 unique visitors a day as of 2017.[3] The title celebrated its bicentenary on 25 January 2017.

The Scotsman
The Scotsman cover (11 May 2011)
TypeDaily newspaper
EditorFrank O'Donnell[1]
Political alignmentCentrist
HeadquartersEdinburgh, Scotland, UK
Circulation19,449 (February 2017, 88.3% paid)[2]
Sister newspapersEdinburgh Evening News
Scotland on Sunday
OCLC number614655655


Scotsman Office 1860 by Peddie and Kinnear
Scotsman Buildings as seen from Market Street
Apex of the Scotsman Offices of 1899
Barclay House, former home of The Scotsman's offices in Edinburgh

The Scotsman was launched[4] 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 1855, The Scotsman was relaunched as a daily newspaper priced at 1d and a circulation of 6,000 copies.

The fledgling paper was originally based at 257 High Street on the Royal Mile.[5]

In 1860, The Scotsman obtained a purpose built office on Cockburn Street in Edinburgh designed in the Scots baronial style by the architects Peddie & Kinnear.[6] This backed onto their original offices on the Royal Mile. The building bears the initials "JR" for John Ritchie the founder of the company. On 19 December 1904,[7] 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.[8]

In December 2005, The Scotsman along with its sister titles owned by The Scotsman Publications Ltd was acquired, in a £160 million deal, by Johnston Press, a company founded in Scotland and at the time 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.[9]

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.[10][11] Johnston 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.[12]

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

In November 2018, Johnston Press filed for administration. Shortly after filing for administration, the company was bought out by JPIMedia.[14]



In 1998 The Scotsman was among the first UK newspapers to launch a website updated on a daily basis. has since grown to become the second biggest newspaper website in Scotland in terms of readership, behind the Daily Record.[citation needed] As well as reproducing articles from the day's paper, it features online features and video content exclusive to the site.

See alsoEdit


  2. ^ "Regional Publications. Combined Total Circulation Certificate. July to December 2016" (PDF). Audit Bureau of Circulations. 23 February 2017. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Online Property: Activity Certificate: July to December 2016. The" (PDF). Audit Bureau of Circulations. 23 February 2017. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  4. ^ "The Scotsman Archive: Search". The Scotsman Digital Archive. UK. 25 January 1817. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  5. ^ "(204) – Scottish Post Office Directories > Towns > Edinburgh > 1805–1834 – Post Office annual directory > 1832–1833 – Scottish Directories – National Library of Scotland".
  6. ^ Dictionary of Scottish Architects: Peddie & Kinnear
  7. ^ Archive, The Scotsman Digital. "About – Scotsman Digital Archive".
  8. ^ "World's Best-Designed winners (2006)". Society for News Design. 23 February 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  9. ^ "John McLellan collects newspaper of the year award". Press Gazette. UK. 20 April 2012. Archived from the original on 1 January 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  10. ^ Lambourne, Helen. "Regional daily 'to seek new headquarters'". Hold the Front Page. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  11. ^ "Nostalgia: Evening News on the move". Edinburgh Evening News. 21 June 2014.
  12. ^ Greenslade, Roy (28 April 2014). "Johnston Press saves £1m a year with office move for The Scotsman". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  13. ^ "Scotlands decision – The Scotsmans Verdict". The Scotsman. 10 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Johnston Press: News Letter owner bought over by new company". BBC News. 17 November 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  15. ^ "Cooper, Charles Alfred". Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. p. 380.
  16. ^ "Croal, J. P." Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. p. 413.
  17. ^ Vass, Steven (10 September 2006). "Scotsman's choice of editor raises questions over future direction PRESS: APPOINTMENT Industry stunned as internal Portsmouth newspaper boss Mike Gilson wins top job". The Sunday Herald. Retrieved 31 May 2018.

Further readingEdit

  • Merrill, John C. and Harold A. Fisher. The world's great dailies: profiles of fifty newspapers (1980) pp 273–79

External linksEdit