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The Scotsman - 200 Years of a Scottish newspaper exhibition opens at National Library of Scotland


A special display celebrating two centuries of publication of The Scotsman, and looking at the many historic events which the newspaper has covered over the decades, has opened at National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The display marks the end of a year of celebration for a newspaper that was first published on 25 January 1817. One of the highlights is an original copy of that first issue of which only 300 were sold.  

Produced jointly by the National Library and The Scotsman, it records how the newspaper reported on many key events over the past two centuries using material from the Library’s own collection and items on loan from the newspaper’s archive.

Exhibits will include:

  • articles on the deaths of Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson
  • reports on the great fire of Edinburgh fire in 1824 which destroyed large parts of the Old Town
  • the historic issue of April 1957 when news replaced classified advertising on the front page for the first time
  • photographs of 'The Scotsman’s' buildings where many pioneering developments took place over the years in newspaper production
  • a copper plate of the front page of 21 July 1969 reporting on the Apollo moon landing
  • the celebrated issue from 1995 when The Scotsman became The Scotswoman for a day to mark International Women’s Day

Anniversary celebrations

Ian Scott, a curator at the National Library with a special responsibility for newspaper collections, said: “The Scotsman newspaper holds a special place in the story of Scotland over the past 200 years. It has been an acute observer of political, economic and social developments both at home and abroad and has helped to inform and educate its readers while entertaining them at the same time. At a time of great uncertainty for the newspaper industry, it is good to reflect on what has been achieved by one of the country’s leading papers.”

From such a rich store of material, the task of selecting items to go in the display has been far from easy. “We have every issue of newspaper in our collections, starting in 1817,” said Ian. “We also have numerous items including the programme for the 150th anniversary dinner held in 1967; memoirs and histories written by editors and contributors; crossword collections from 1949 onwards, as well as a brief guide to the best places to have afternoon tea in Scotland as suggested by readers of the women’s page in 1973.”

The Scotsman: 200 years of a Scottish newspaper runs from 18 January to  8 April 2018 at the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh. Entry is free.

 (images copyright National Library of Scotland)

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