Old and New Edinburgh

Old and New Edinburgh

Volume II

Volume 2 Page 282
  Enlarge Enlarge  
THE SCOTSMAN. plain, old-fashioned, yet gentlemanly bearing, his quiet gait, and shrewd features, when the clear bright glance was never dimmed, though the shaggy eyebrow grew snowier ; while in conversation he furnished almost the last remnant of idiomatic Scottish phrase and accent in its old courtly gentility. The most important edifice on the south side of Cockburn Street is unquestionably, for many reasons, the ofice of the Scotsman newspaper, No. 30 -the leading journal in Scotland, and of which it may be truly said that there is no newspaper out of London, and only one or two in it, which has an influence so widely felt. About 1860 the offices of the Scotsman were removed from the High Street, where they had long been situated, to the new buildings in Cockburn Street, where no .expense had been spared to make the establishment complete in all its appointments, and the perfection of what a newspaper office should be. The heading of the newspaper is carved in stone along the front of the edifice. The front block contains five floors. On the street floor are the advertisement and publishing offices, where orders for the paper are taken in and the answers to numbered advertisements received. This department is entirely managed by an ample staff of fernale clerks. The manager's room and counting room are on the first floor above. The paper usually contains not less than from 700 to 3,600 advertisements daily, and in receiving and entering these a large staff of clerks is engaged. The editorial departments are on the next floor above, and consist of a fine suite of eight rooms, opening off a spacious corridor, and all are fitted with speaking tubes and bells, communicating with every department of the establishment. In each room there is also a "copy" shoot of ingenious con struction, which enables the printer's imp to be dispensed with. " Copy" is simply dropped into it, and, by pulling a cord, is drawn instantly to the composing-room. One of the rooms is set apad as a telegraph office, the establishment being in direct communi. cation with London by means of its own special wires. The composing-room, 150 feet long by 30 in breadth, is well-lighted and ventilated. Three rooms for " readers " are screened off at one end, and at the other are the lavatory, cloak,and smokingrooms, for the use of the workmen, about a hundred of whom are employed in the typographical department alone. There is also a stereotype foundry j and a library, composed of several thousand volumes, free to all employed upon the premises. Two spacious apartments that measure together 80 feet in length by 40 in breadth, and with ceilings 25 feet in height, are the machine rooms. In these are three Walter presses, that print and fold from. the web at the rate of 36,000 copies of a large eightpage sheet per hour. As a provision against accidents, there are two sets of engines and boilers. There is also a small printing machine which is used for printing the bill of contents. Over the machine room is the despatching room, a spacious. hall, the general fittings of which seem a compound between a post-office and a railway ticket office. Several rooms, in addition to these mentioned. are connected with the machine department, and on the east side of the Anchor Close is an extensive. ink and paper store. " In all the great towns in England correspon-. dents are engaged," says David Bremner, in his. " Industries of Scotland i' " and in London thereis a staff of reporters and a sub-editor. Even in New York the paper is represented, and special telegrams from that city have appeared on several occasions. The arrangements with the telegraph companies for the supply of foreign news are most^ complete. With this vast organisation for collecting news at command, the Scotsman daily presents. not only a complete record of current events in Scotland, but each copy may be said to be an epitome of the world's history for a day." A special express engine, hired by the proprietors at a cost of &I,OOO a year, conveys the Scotsman parcels for Glasgow and the West of Scotland. At this time, including all departments, nearly 200 persons are employed on the premises; and: if to these be added paid contributors and others, the number of persons receiving remuneration for their services will be swelled to fully 500, who obtain among them &3,ooo a year. Of the daily issue of the paper 330,000 copies are printed every week, and of the weekly issue 60,000 copies, which give a circulation of 3g0,ooo a week, or 20,280,000 a year. The annual production would,. if spread out, cover about eleven square miles of ground, and if the sheets were placed end' to end they would form a ribbon about 18,000 miles long and 4 feet broad. According to a privately-printed memoir of Mr. Charles Maclaren, who for thirty years (1817-47) was editor of the Scotsman, it was in the year 1816 that the idea of starting an independent newspaper in Edinburgh originated. The political influences which overspread Scotland after the close of the long war had permeated society, and the ruling powers carried their repressive effects into every sphere of action. Hence the local press was very abject, without courage enough to expose any
Volume 2 Page 283
  Enlarge Enlarge