OTD 20 April 1707

Robert Foulis was born on 20 April 1707. He and his broth­er Andrew estab­lished the Foulis Press, print­er to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Glas­gow, which was known for the high qual­i­ty of its output .

OTD 4 April 1508

Scot­land’s first print­ers, Wal­ter Chep­man and Andro Myl­lar, com­plet­ed print­ing John Lydgate’s poem The Com­plaint of the Black Knight, at their press in Edin­burgh’s Old Town.

Robert Smail’s Printing Works opening 2024

The Nation­al Trust for Scot­land’s Robert Smail’s Print­ing Works opens for the sea­son on 29 March 2024. For full details of open­ing times and how to get there see the NTS website.

OTD 5 March 1822

The Soci­ety of Book­binders in Edin­burgh was formed in 1814, as a relief soci­ety for sick and unem­ployed mem­bers. On 5 March 1822 the name changed to the Union Soci­ety of Edin­burgh Jour­ney­man Book­binders. The Soci­ety con­tin­ued for 50 years, remain­ing inde­pen­dent of the Book­binders’ Con­sol­i­dat­ed Union until Sep­tem­ber 1872 when the two organ­i­sa­tions amalgamated […]

OTD 28 February 1803

Memo­r­i­al of the Edin­burgh Com­pos­i­tors to the Court of Ses­sion. This was a request from the com­pos­i­tors of Edin­burgh that they be allowed to con­vene a meet­ing: the Com­bi­na­tion Acts were in force at the time, pre­vent­ing work­men from act­ing togeth­er to improve their con­di­tions. Per­mis­sion was grant­ed and a request for an increase in […]

Unfinished business’: Print Networks 2024

This year’s Print Net­works con­fer­ence, Unfin­ished Busi­ness: Progress, Sta­sis and New Direc­tions in the study of the Book Trade since Peter Isaac, will be held at New­cas­tle Uni­ver­si­ty on 9–10 July 2024. Details of the call for papers are on the Cen­tre for Print­ing His­to­ry and Cul­ture web­site. Please sub­mit abstracts of 200–250 words by February […]

Printing Historical Society grants 2024

The Print­ing His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety is cur­rent­ly invit­ing appli­ca­tions for research grants under their annu­al grant scheme. The total amount avail­able this year is £3,000, and the dead­line for sub­mis­sions is Fri­day 22 March 2024. Eli­gi­bil­i­ty and appli­ca­tion details are on the Soci­ety’s Grants page.

OTD 25 January 1817

The first ever edi­tion of The Scots­man, or Edin­burgh Polit­i­cal and Lit­er­ary Jour­nal was pro­duced on Sat­ur­day, Jan­u­ary 25 1817, from premis­es in Edin­burgh’s High Street. It was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished week­ly, and became a dai­ly news­pa­per in 1850. The pro­pri­etors announced that their ‘first desire is to be hon­est, the sec­ond is to be useful’.

OTD 19 January 1757

Thomas Rud­di­man was born near Banff in 1674, son of a farmer, and was edu­cat­ed at the local gram­mar school and at Aberdeen Uni­ver­si­ty. After a peri­od as a pri­vate tutor, and as the school­mas­ter at Lau­rencekirk, he moved to Edin­burgh in 1700 to become the assis­tant librar­i­an at the Fac­ul­ty of Advo­cates. He was […]

OTD 15 January 1826

Found­ed in Kel­so in 1796, James Bal­lan­tyne was found­ed in Kel­so in 1796. Archibald Con­sta­ble, Scot­t’s pub­lish­er, com­mis­sioned Bal­lan­tyne to print his Min­strel­sy of the Scot­tish Bor­der, which led to the fir­m’s move to Edin­burgh in 1802. After set­ting up near Holy­rood, they moved to Foulis Close in the Canon­gate before set­tling in Paul’s Work, […]