25th January 1817

Launch of The Scotsman newspaper

Billing itself Edinburgh’s Political and Literary Journal, the eight-page Scotsman launched on 25 January 1817. It was founded by journalists John Ritchie and Charles Maclaren.

The paper’s editors set out their stall at the top of the very first column, writing,

“we have not chosen the name of Scotsman to preserve an invidious distinction, but with the view of rescuing it from the odium of servility. With that stain removed, a Scotsman may well claim brotherhood with an Englishman, and there ought now to be no rivalry between them, but in the cause of regulated freedom. In that cause it is our ambition to labour; but we must remind our more sanguine friends that it is impossible in a first number to develope [sic] all our principles. Time and change of circumstance afford the only sure tests of human conduct. And it is of much more consequence that we redeem our pledge, as occasions offer, for firmness, impartiality, and independence than that we should surprise by temporary brilliance.”

Initially published weekly, its first daily editions appeared in 1855, price at just 1d. Almost a century later it was acquired by Roy Thompson, who also won the first ITV franchise for Scotland and bought both The Times and The Sunday Times. It was sold to twins David and Frederick Barclay, owners of the Ritz Hotel and Daily Telegraph newspaper. In 2005, the Barclays sold the title to Johnston Press. It passed to JPIMedia in 2018.

The Scotsman's purpose-built headquarters in Edinburgh's Cockburn Street
The Scotsman’s purpose-built headquarters in Edinburgh’s Cockburn Street



Other events that occured in January

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