Former Scotsman owner once Master at Merchant Company of Edinburgh
To mark the 200th anniversary of The Scotsman, The Merchant Company of Edinburgh unlocked the archives to reveal a long forgotten connection between the newspaper’s past and Edinburgh’s oldest business institution.
In 1913, John R. Findlay, a former proprietor of The Scotsman was also the Master of the Court at the pre-eminent livery company, which was first constituted by Royal decree in 1681.
Pat Denzler, the current Master, unveiled the rolls where John Findlay signed his name, and recorded his occupation and residence, as is required of every member of The Merchant Company on joining.
She also revealed that the archives include the menu of the members’ dinner presided over by Finlay and held the night before the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and the outbreak of the First World War; minutes of the meetings he chaired, as well as one address he made to the AGM in November 1914.
In this he speaks of how the Company has come through wars before, the civil war of the two Jacobite risings in the 18th century, and Napoleonic War of the 19th century, and hopes that the new war will be no different.
He covers legacies and gifts to the Company and grants that have been given to the many beneficiaries that the Company has supported. He also talks about the staffing and buildings at the Company schools, and support for training apprentices.
Pat, who is only the first woman Master after HRH The Princes Royal, said:
“The roll books are a fascinating history of business in Edinburgh. Dating back to the beginning in 1681, every new member signs the book, stating their name, business and address. Finding a link to The Scotsman wasn’t a surprise in many ways, but it is always a pleasure to see the connections with today.
“Our organisation currently has over 500 members from nearly 50 different industries and so reflects the diversity of business endeavour in the city and that has always been the case. Now, as in the past, the Merchant Company has been an organisation of business people intent on seeing the city thrive. That is achieved through supporting enterprise and through managing and administering a number of charitable trusts to help young people in education and to provide for our frail and elderly.
“Our values and those of the Scotsman have a lot in common, so it’s good to see that connection indelibly printed in the rolls.”