John Macdonald, Lord Kingsburgh

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"The Lord Advocate"
Macdonald as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, June 1888

Sir John Hay Athole Macdonald KCB, PC (27 December 1836 – 9 May 1919) was a Scottish politician and later a judge.

He was called to the Scottish bar in 1859. On 30 July 1875 he was appointed by Queen Victoria to be Sheriff of the Shires of Ross, Cromarty, and Sutherland.[1] He was appointed Solicitor General for Scotland from 1876 to 1880. Elected as Member of Parliament for Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities from 1885, he served as Lord Advocate from 1885 to 1886 and from 1886 to 1888. He became a Queen's Counsel in 1880, and was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1885.

On 5 June 1901 he was appointed Honorary Colonel of the The Queen's Rifle Volunteer Brigade, the Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment).[2]

He gave up his Parliamentary seat and was appointed Lord Justice Clerk in 1888, taking the title Lord Kingsburgh, and presided over the Second Division of the Court of Session until 1915. He was promoted from Ensign to Lieutenant in the Royal Company of Archers on 18 June 1915.[3]

He was an enthusiastic car owner and was a founding member of the Automobile Club and was the first president of the Scottish Automobile Club. He also registered Edinburgh's first ever number plate.[4] It is also believed that Macdonald coined the popular phrase "on your bike" as he turned away the incumbent Edinburgh mayor who claimed the number plate was rightfully his. As a riposte, he had the number plate S0 produced weeks later.

References and notes[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Lyon Playfair
Member of Parliament for
Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities

1885 – 1888
Succeeded by
Moir Darling
Legal offices
Preceded by
James Moncreiff
Solicitor General for Scotland
1876–1880
Succeeded by
John Millar
Preceded by
John Blair Balfour
Lord Advocate
1885–1886
Succeeded by
John Blair Balfour
Preceded by
John Blair Balfour
Lord Advocate
1886–1888
Succeeded by
James Robertson
Preceded by
Lord Moncreiff
Lord Justice Clerk
1888–1915
Succeeded by
Lord Dickson