List of provosts of Edinburgh

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"Provost of Edinburgh" redirects here; not to be confused with the Provost of St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh (Episcopal).
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List of Lords Provost in Edinburgh City Chambers

The Right Honourable The Lord Provost of Edinburgh is the convener of the City of Edinburgh local authority. They are elected by the city council and serves not only as the chair of that body, but as a figurehead for the entire city. They are ex officio the Lord-Lieutenant of Edinburgh. They are equivalent in many ways to the institution of Mayor that exists in many other countries.

While some of Scotland's local authorities elect a Provost, only the four main cities (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee) have a Lord Provost. In Edinburgh this position dates from 1667, when Charles II elevated the Provost to the status of Lord Provost, with the same rank and precedence as the Lord Mayor of London. The title of Lord Provost is enshrined in the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994.

Roles and Traditions[edit]

Prior to the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 the City of Edinburgh was run by a single-tier body called the Edinburgh Corporation, of which the Lord Provost was chair. This body included council representatives from the Incorporated Trades of Edinburgh and the Merchant Company of Edinburgh. The corporations security was provided by the High Constables of Edinburgh, who also served as the Provost's bodyguard. Although the 1973 Act changed the governance of the City, the Lord Provost retains a relationship with the Merchants Company and Incorporated Trades. The High Constables continue to serve as the Lord Provost's bodyguards.

The Lord Provost chairs meetings of Edinburgh City Council at the Edinburgh City Chambers, originally opened in 1760 by Lord Provost George Drummond as a meeting place for Edinburgh merchants and known as the Edinburgh Royal Exchange. The Lord Provost takes part in a number of ceremonies and traditions, including The Edinburgh Ceremony of the Keys, the Kirking of the Deacons, The Riding of the Marches and the Edinburgh Hogmanay. The Lord Provost has also coordinated armed forces day parades with both the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and The Royal Regiment of Scotland. While the Lord Provost has no official residence, Lauriston Castle - a property bequeathed to the Edinburgh Corporation and now under the ownership of Edinburgh City Council - has been used to host the Lord Provost's annual Garden Party.[1] It was suggested in 2013 that Lauriston Castle be renovated and turned into an official residence for the Lord Provost, however the cost at the time was deemed too prohibitive.[2]

The Current Lord Provost[edit]

In total, there have been 256 provosts and lord provosts.

The current Lord Provost is Frank Ross.

Past Provosts of Edinburgh[edit]

Lord Provosts of Edinburgh[edit]

  • (1667) Sir Andrew Ramsay, Lord Abbotshall
  • (1673) James Currie
  • (1675) Sir William Binning
  • (1677) Francis Kinloch of Gilmerton
  • (1679) Sir James Dick of Prestonfield
  • (1681) Sir James Flemming
  • (1683) Sir George Drummond
  • (1685) Sir Thomas Kennedy of Kirkhill
  • (1687) Sir Magnus Prince
  • (1689) Sir John Hall of Dunglass, 1st Bt.
  • (1691) Sir Archibald Muir
  • (1692) Sir John Hall of Dunglass, 1st Bt.
  • (1694) Sir Robert Chieslie of Dalry
  • (1696) Sir Archibald Muir
  • (1698) Sir George Home of Kello

18th century[edit]

  • (1700) Sir Patrick Johnston
  • (1702) Sir Hugh Cunningham of Bonnington
  • (1704) Sir Patrick Johnston
  • (1706) Sir Samuel McClellan
  • (1708) Sir Patrick Johnston
  • (1710) Adam Brown of Blackford
  • (1711) Sir Robert Blackwood of Pitreavie
  • 1713–1714 George Warrender, of Lochend
  • (1715) John Campbell
  • (1717) William Neilson
  • (1719) John Campbell
  • (1721) John Wightman of Mauldslie
  • (1723) John Campbell
  • (1725) George Drummond
  • (1727) Archibald Macauley
  • (1729) Patrick Lindsay
  • (1731) John Osburn
  • (1733) Patrick Lindsay
  • (1735) Alexander Wilson
  • (1737) Archibald Macauley
  • (1738) James Colquhoun
  • (1740) George Haliburton
  • (1742) John Coutts
  • (1744) Archibald Stewart
  • (1746) George Drummond
  • (1748) Archibald Macauley
  • (1750) George Drummond
  • 1752 William Alexander
  • 1754 George Drummond
  • 1756 Robert Montgomery
  • 1758 George Drummond
  • 1760 George Lind
  • 1762 George Drummond
  • 1764 James Stuart of Binend
  • 1766 Gilbert Laurie
  • 1768 Sir James Stuart of Binend
  • 1770 John Dalrymple
  • 1772 Gilbert Laurie
  • 1774 James Stoddart
  • 1776 Alexander Kincaid
  • 1777 John Dalrymple
  • 1778 Walter Hamilton
  • 1780 David Steuart or Stewart
  • 1782 John Grieve
  • 1784 Sir James Hunter Blair, 1st Baronet
  • 1788 Thomas Elder of Forneth
  • 1790 James Stirling
  • 1794 Sir James Stirling of Larbert Bt
  • 1798 Sir James Stirling of Larbert Bt

19th century[edit]

20th century[edit]

Sir Thomas Hutchison, Lord Provost of Edinburgh (1921-1923); City of Edinburgh Council; by Glyn Philpot

21st century[edit]



  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Anderson pp 383-384
  4. ^ Marjoribanks, Roger (2014) "Edinburgh Portrait, Sir John Marjoribanks , Bart, MP (1763–1833)" The Book of the Edinburgh Club, Volume 10, Pp 151-156, ISBN 0-9517284-9-0
  5. ^ "The show's over for Mr Edinburgh". 5 May 2003. 
  6. ^ "Ex-church minister is city's new Provost". 16 May 2007. 
  7. ^ "Computer teacher elected Lord Provost of Edinburgh". 17 May 2012. 
  8. ^ [1]


  • Anderson, John (1825). Historical and genealogical memoirs of the House of Hamilton. Edinburgh. 

External links[edit]