from Scotland

We asked a selection of SR
contributors for a memory
of an outstanding holiday in
Scotland – good or bad

Marian Pallister in Tobermory
George Chalmers in Ayr
Islay McLeod in Rockcliffe
Judith Jaafar in Carrick Castle
Barney MacFarlane on Arran

Bill Jamieson on Bute
Tessa Ransford in North Berwick
Michael Elcock on Harris
Ronnie Smith in Largs

Katie Grant on Mull
Thom Cross in Kirkcaldy
Morelle Smith in Glencoe
Bob Cant in Carnoustie

Robin Downie on Arran
Bruce Gardner in Glen Livet
Fiona MacDonald on Tiree
Walter Humes at home

Jill Stephenson at Loch Duich
Quintin Jardine in Elie
Iain Macmillan in Gleneagles
Douglas Marr on Skye
Andrew McFadyen in Kilmarnock

R D Kernohan on Arran
David Torrance on Iona
Catherine Czerkawska at Loch Ken
Chris Holligan in Elie

Rose Galt in Girvan
Alex Wood on Arran
Andrew Hook in Glasgow
Alasdair McKillop in St Andrews

Sheila Hetherington on Arran
Anthony Seaton on Ben Nevis
Paul Cockburn at Loch Ness
Jackie Kemp in a taxi
Angus Skinner on Skye

No. 505

Burns' masterpiece Tam O Shanter has been described by BBC Scotland as 'the tale of a man who stays too long at a pub'. Readers are invited to summarise other world masterpieces in the same way. Nominations to:

SR's remarkable growth as an independent magazine is based largely on word of mouth. Here are examples of our journalism:

* SR played a leading role in the successful campaign to save St Margaret of Scotland Hospice

* An SR investigation into Scotland's care homes revealed the truth about Southern Cross a full year before the company collapsed. We put the facts in the public domain. They were ignored until it was too late

* SR campaigned for greater transparency in Scottish public life and won a landmark judgement from the Scottish information commissioner which has led to a transformation in the information available about executive salaries and pensions in public bodies

*  Having discovered elderly people still living in a near-derelict block of flats in Glasgow, sometimes without a water supply, SR campaigned to have them decently re-housed. With the help of Scotland's housing minister, Alex Neil, we succeeded

* SR continues to campaign – so far without success – to broaden the range of appointments to national organisations beyond a self-perpetuating elite

Since SR does not accept advertising or sponsorship of any kind, and since the support it receives from its publisher (the Institute of Contemporary Scotland) is limited, SR depends on the generosity of individual supporters through the Friends of the Scottish Review appeal. The standard donation is £30. To become a Friend, and help to ensure that SR goes on flourishing
Click here



Islay's Scotland

Under the Forth road bridge
Photograph by Islay McLeod


The most famous headline

in Scottish journalism

turns out to be a myth


Chris Holme


It's the most persistent myth in British newspapers and has stuck like a limpet to the Press and Journal for a century: 'North-east man lost at sea. 1,500 perish in Titanic disaster'. Stand by for a lot more coverage of the centenary of the sinking in April – the P and J has already carried a piece on it for its recent relaunch.
     It was 16 April before the UK morning papers really had the chance to cover the disaster in detail. The Aberdeen Journal (it only became the Press and Journal in 1922, incorporating the Aberdeen Free Press) carried a sober and informative account, leading with 'Mid-Atlantic Disaster – Titanic sunk by Iceberg – 1,683 Lives Lost, 675 Saved – Increasing Race to Rescue'. Not a hint of 'North-east man' then. Nor might it have been expected from its editor William (later Sir William) Maxwell.
     He had been recruited in 1910 from London and his goal was to make the Journal pre-eminent as the national Scottish newspaper, ahead of the Scotsman and Glasgow Herald. Maxwell greatly increased coverage of national stories, rescuing it from being the 'mere local newspaper' it was before his arrival. He may well have drawn this vision from one of the Titanic victims, W T Stead, the great pioneer of UK campaigning journalism, who had led a similar transformation at the Northern Echo in Darlington.
     Maxwell would certainly have known of Stead – they had both worked on the Pall Mall Gazette and the London Evening Standard albeit in different eras.
So could the headline have been on a bill or hoarding? I doubt it – 'North Country' was the preferred term at that time and was used in coverage of the torpedoing of the Lusitania three years later.
     'North-east' man is a relative newcomer – although his ubiquity is the reason the myth sticks. Every day he's killed in an accident, survives several more, appears in court, or is involved in a stushie somewhere else. Some guy.
Other myths continue to be challenged by media. First officer William Murdoch's character assassination in the 1996 film triggered a campaign by Dorothy Grace Elder and the Galloway News which resulted in a donation from 20th Century Fox for an annual prize in Murdoch's honour at Dalbeattie High School.
     And Maxwell's vision for the Journal has also been realised 100 years later – as all circulations have sunk, it now comfortably outsells its morning rivals in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The growth of digital history means you can now look at original sources online. The British Library is digitising millions of newspaper pages with a technical partner, brightsolid, a Dundee-based company owned by D C Thomson, publishers of the P and J.
     They've only got as far as 1900 for the Aberdeen Journal, but you can get an earlier sinking feeling by looking at the Courier's coverage of the Tay Bridge disaster.


Chris Holme is the founder of historycompany.co.uk