Saltire Society

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The Saltire Society is a membership organisation which aims to promote the understanding of the culture and heritage of Scotland. Founded in 1936, the society was "set up to promote and celebrate the uniqueness of Scottish culture and Scotland’s heritage, and to reclaim Scotland’s place as a distinct contributor to European and international culture."[1] The society organises lectures and publishes pamphlets, and presents a series of awards in the fields of art, architecture, literature and history.[2]

The society is based in Edinburgh, with branches in Aberdeen, Dumfries, Glasgow, Helensburgh, the Highlands, Kirriemuir and New York City. The current president is the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, Sally Mapstone.[3]


The society was founded on 22 April 1936 in Glasgow, conceived by Andrew Dewar Gibb and George Malcolm Thomson.[4][5][6] Subscription for a year cost five shillings.[5] By the early 1950s the society had almost 2000 members.[7] In 1954 they launched a literary magazine, The Scots Review to be published three times a year.[8] In 1968 the society appointed their first full-time director, based at their headquarters at Gladstone's Land in Edinburgh.[9] In 2001, the Saltire Society's head, Scott Peake, stepped down after newspaper investigations revealed that he had fabricated parts of his biography, including his alleged Scottish upbringing.[10][11] In November 2012, ahead of the Scottish Independence referendum, the society looked to relaunch itself with a business plan that included lectures and debates centered around cultural issues.[12]

Past presidents include Eric Linklater, architect Robert Matthew, architect Robert Hurd and literary scholar David Daiches.[13]

The Saltire Music Group was founded by composer Isobel Dunlop in 1950.


The Saltire Awards is a collective name for a series of awards presented by the Saltire Society in recognition of contributions to Scotland's cultural heritage.


  1. ^ "Report of the Saltire Commission" (PDF). Saltire Society. 2011. p. 7.
  2. ^ "Saltire Society Awards". Saltire Society. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  3. ^ "New President Announced". Saltire Society. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  4. ^ Scott, Paul Henderson (2003). Scotland Resurgent: Comments on the Cultural and Political Revival of Scotland. The Saltire Society. p. 199. ISBN 9780854110834.
  5. ^ a b Brown, Rob (22 April 1986). "Shielding our cultural candle for fifty years". The Glasgow Herald. p. 11. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Saltire milestone". The Glasgow Herald. 23 April 1986. p. 5. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Saltire Society's National View". The Glasgow Herald. 30 June 1952. p. 7. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  8. ^ "New Scots Magazine". The Glasgow Herald. 2 April 1954. p. 5. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Director of Saltire Society". The Glasgow Herald. 26 February 1968. p. 12. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  10. ^ Demetriou, Danielle (7 October 2013). "Goodbye, Mr Fake: Teacher forced to quit Bedales after exposure as a serial fantasist". The Independent. Retrieved 10 May 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ Standard, Alexa Baracaia, Evening (13 April 2012). "Fantasist teacher leaves Bedales". Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  12. ^ Miller, Phil (15 November 2012). "Saltire Society revamp in bid to inspire debate in run-up to independence poll". The Herald. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  13. ^ "President Saltire Society". Saltire Society. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  14. ^ "Saltire Society Song Awards". Saltire Society. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  15. ^ a b "Saltire Society Awards". Saltire Society. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  16. ^ "Coveted symbol of excellence". The Glasgow Herald. 27 November 1991. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  17. ^ "Saltire Society Architecture Awards". Saltire Society. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  18. ^ "Saltire Society Literature Awards". Saltire Society. Retrieved 15 January 2013.

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