John Ritchie Findlay (1824–98)

architectural patron and philanthropist

Clarisse Godard Desmarest (Author)

Edinburgh, Politics, Philanthropy, Architecture
20th Century


John Ritchie Findlay (1824–98) was the leading proprietor of The Scotsman which he developed into a flourishing and influential newspaper with a national circulation. Although Findlay disliked publicity or self-promotion, he was an active liberal philanthropist, a friend of art and of Scottish culture, patron of two of Scotland’s most talented architects of his time – Robert Rowand Anderson and A G Sydney Mitchell – and father of another prominent Edinburgh architect, James Leslie Findlay. He was also an active fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, as secretary (1882–8), and vice president (1878–80, and again 1888–90). This article seeks to appraise the career of that influential figure who has left a strong, if today under appreciated legacy to Edinburgh’s built environment, and to Scotland overall. His architectural work reflects his politics, and that of the country at the turn of the 20th century.


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How to Cite
Desmarest, C. G. (2020). John Ritchie Findlay (1824–98): architectural patron and philanthropist. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 149, 197–220.