Copy of rare newspaper returns home to Edinburgh’s former ‘Fleet Street of Scotland’

A COPY of a rare Scottish newspaper has been returned to its original home – after more than 250 years.

The management team at recently-opened boutique hotel, Fraser Suites Edinburgh, spent months trying to track down a vintage edition of the Edinburgh Courant after discovering the newspaper’s offices and printing presses were previously located on the site of their premises.

And now after sourcing a copy from a collector in America, the archive is to be framed and displayed and given pride of place in the reception area of the St Giles Street venue.

The Edinburgh Courant was one of the UK’s first regional newspapers with the first copy published at another location in Edinburgh in 1705, with the cover price of a single penny.

Its editors included Robinson Crusoe author, Daniel Defoe.

The full front page of the recovered edition from March 17, 1759 – St Patrick’s Day – details the ‘Natural History of the Island of Guardaloupe’, in the Caribbean.

And on the inside page, a small article appeals for the return of a “blue great coat with brass gilt buttons, and a piece of velvet round the neck” which was stolen from the playhouse in Edinburgh’s Canongate.

Another small piece of news urges private, unlicensed teachers to lodge their details with the deputy town-clerk of Edinburgh.

Said Heather Gilchrist, Regional General Manager Frasers Hospitality Scotland: “I think we all thought that the chances of finding a historic copy of the Edinburgh Courant were pretty slim, that’s why we were delighted to finally track down a collector in America who was happy to part with it when we explained the significance.

“The copy is in great condition, despite its age and the fact it found its way across the Atlantic. No one knows how it got to America but we are delighted to soon have this piece of Scotland’s and Edinburgh’s history back on display in its original home in Fraser Suites Edinburgh.

From the late 19th century until the middle of the 20th century, St. Giles Street was known as the ‘Fleet Street of Scotland’, hosting (over the years) the offices of not only the Edinburgh Courant and Edinburgh Daily Review, but also the Glasgow News, Glasgow Herald, Glasgow Evening Citizen, the Edinburgh Daily Mail and the Mercat Press.