Temperance Hotels & Comic Maps of Scotland – amid the skirl of bagpipes, an arresting & amusing Victorian mix

Manuscript version of Philp's Comic Map of Scotland c1882 Bartholomew Archive Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland
Manuscript version of Philp’s Comic Map of Scotland c1882
Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland [Bartholomew Archive]
Philp’s Comic Maps of Scotland

My last post about Leslie George Bullock [1895-1971] referenced the National Library of Scotland’s invaluable Bartholomew Archive, a unique and unrivalled record of the business history and publications of one of Edinburgh’s leading map publishers.

At a time when the issue of national identity comes ever more to the fore, particularly in the light of recent political events in Scotland, it is perhaps an opportune moment to examine one of the most distinctive & amusing maps of Scotland to be published in the late 19th Century by the Bartholomew firm. It is all the more timely in having myself just recently come across a seemingly unique version of this same map.

This Bartholomew map takes familiar and oft-used ingredients of the Scottish identity – the fishwife of the North East coasts, the tartan kilt and the Scottish piper & bagpipes – and refines & integrates them into a new & highly amusing comic form.

Yet this type of anthropomorphic mapping of Scotland was by no means new, already having an established track record & tradition dating back nearly a Century.

In the last decade of the 18th Century, London printers, Bowles and Carver had produced their wonderful series of caricature maps of the British Isles, engraved by Robert Dighton, entitled “Geography Bewitched!”. Here is the map of Scotland:

Bowles & Carver - Geography Bewitched or a Droll caricature map of Scotland - c.1792
Bowles & Carver – Geography Bewitched or a Droll caricature map of Scotland [c.1792]

The Victorian actress and mapmaker, Lilian Lancaster [1852-1939], half-Scot herself, in her own turn, designed several maps of Scotland along similar lines, including the map of Scotland for Geographical Fun [1869] based on an original sketch that, it was said, she had created as a 15 year old girl seeking to amuse & entertain her sick brother:

Lilian Lancaster - Scotland - Geographical Fun [1869]
Lilian Lancaster – ScotlandGeographical Fun [1869]

A further series of three maps also designed by Lancaster were to follow a decade later, in 1878. Included in this set was: Scotland – A Comic Geographical Sketch, published by Edinburgh fancy stationers & publishers, Ormiston & Glass, perhaps better known for their illustrated Scottish guide books and for  a range of popular Victorian pens.

This map is also to be found in the Bartholomew Archive and indeed perhaps provided the Bartholomew artists with a ready design model for the new 1882 Philp map. There are definitely similarities, as Lancaster’s map also features a kilted Scotsman and East coast fisher woman:

Lilian Lancaster - Ormiston & Glass Scotland - A Comic Geographical Sketch [1878] Reproduced by kind permission of the National Library of Scotland [Bartholomew Archive]
Scotland – A Comic Geographical Sketch [1878] – Reproduced by kind permission of the National Library of Scotland [Bartholomew Archive]
A contemporary advertisement describes this map of Scotland in the following terms:

Scotland is represented by a Highlander dancing the Tullochgorum, standing on a pastoral district, the kilt of Rob Roy tartan representing Argyleshire, with the plaid of Cameron tartan for the Central Highlands. There is red hair for the old red sandstone district described by Hugh Miller, and a fishwife with a creel of haddocks, representing the fishing district of Aberdeen and Moray Firth. 

The map was subsequently reproduced in reduced postcard format in the early 1900’s:

Ormiston & Glass - Lilian Lancaster - Scotland - a comic map (postcard) - c1900
Lilian Lancaster – Ormiston & Glass Scotland – A Comic Map [c.1900]

Another manuscript map of Scotland by Lancaster, now preserved in the British Library, takes on the entire form of a young Scottish fishwife, complete with tartan plaid & fish-filled creel. Lancaster would also incorporate themes and scenes into her maps that were directly derived from her stage career as a leading pantomime artiste, so producing another remarkable comic Map of Scotland portraying Dick Whittington and his cat. This map is also preserved in the British Library collections.

The NLS’ Bartholomew Archive Curator, Karla Baker, wrote about the Bartholomew Comic map in the Summer 2011 issue of the Scottish Geographical Society’s newsletter, The Geographer.

Philp's Comic Map of Scotland [1882] Reproduced by kind permission of the National Library of Scotland [Bartholomew Archive]
Philp’s Comic Map of Scotland [1882] Reproduced by kind permission of the National Library of Scotland [Bartholomew Archive]

Entitled Philp’s Comic Map of Scotland, measuring 41 x 29 cms, and dating from 1882, the Bartholomew company’s artists and engravers were tasked with the job of “designing and lithographing Grotesque Scotland. Furnishing 620 copies, printed in colour on coated paper”. First published on July 5th 1882, Bartholomew billed his client, Andrew Philp, £7-15-0 for the firm’s work. The original manuscript version of the map as designed by Bartholomew’s artists is illustrated at the top of this post.

In her article, Baker wondered as to the purpose of the map, given the relatively small print run and fine quality of paper used, too good for simple bill sticking or for use as flyers to be handed out to passers-by.

Certainly the map did come to public attention, as the Dundee Advertiser noted in a short paragraph, in its edition of Thursday 20th July 1882:

A comic map of Scotland has been published by Mr Philp, the well-known hotel-keeper in Edinburgh and Glasgow. It portrays in humorous fashion some of the characteristics of Scotland and will amuse strangers who visit the country.

Andrew Philp, the above-mentioned hotel owner, clearly envisaged the map as a promotional piece to publicize his expanding range of temperance hotels and hydropathic establishments. He perhaps commissioned the maps as gifts to be be given to or purchased by select visitors from amongst his increasingly discerning & wealthy clientele.

Andrew Philp [1808-1902] was a remarkable Victorian entrepreneur. His business career has been charted in excellent detail by Alastair J Durie in his fascinating book, Water is Best – The Hydros and Health Tourism in Scotland 1840-1940 [John Donald, 2006].

Andrew Philp [1808-1902]
Andrew Philp [c1808-1902]

Born in Dunfermline in about 1808, Philp came from a United Presbyterian family deeply imbued with temperance principles. After an early career as a tea merchant, he moved into the hotel trade in 1849, acquiring the lease from the local railway company of Balsusney House (later the Station Hotel) in Kircaldy, to operate as a “Teetotal Hotel and lodging House”. By the early 1850’s, Philp had moved on to the Albion Hotel in Edinburgh’s St.James’ Square and thence shortly afterwards, in 1862, to the newly built Cockburn Hotel, adjacent to Edinburgh’s Waverly Station designed in the Scottish baronial style as part of a new road scheme – Lord Cockburn Street – that opened up access to the railway station from the Old Town. The Cockburn would become one of his flagship establishments, closely associated with the English travel agent, Thomas Cook [1808-1892], who made the Hotel his headquarters in Scotland whenever he conducted tours of the country. Philp’s lifelong friendship with Cook was based not only on commerce but also upon the latter’s equally strong teetotal principles, having himself first started out as Secretary (and excursions organizer) of the Leicester Temperance Society.

The Cockburn was described in and advertisement in Black’s Guide to England & Wales in 1868, as:

A commodious and well-appointed Hotel, beautifully situated overlooking Princes Street Gardens and commanding some of the finest views in the City….a large elegantly-furnished Saloon for parties with Ladies, free of charge; Private Suites or Apartments, Bath Rooms, Coffee and Smoking Rooms, and every accommodation for Gentlemen.

Philp’s hotel empire continued to grow, and included investments in the 1870’s in the Waverley Hydropathic, Melrose; the Swan Hotel, Harrogate; and Conishead Priory near Barrow-in-Furness. In 1881 Philp took control of the Glenburn Hydropathic at Rothesay (devastated by fire ten years later) and in 1890, the Dunblane Hydro in Perthshire, often acquiring these hotels as part of a business syndicate at modest or bargain-basement prices from distressed or over-leveraged sellers.

A consummate business opportunist & natural entrepreneur, Philp invested heavily in new baths & modern facilities and in the comfortable refurbishment of his increasingly numerous establishments, thereby providing welcoming & relaxing destination venues that remained popular not only during the summer months but all year round. The increasingly widely-held belief in the health benefits of hydropathic baths and water treatments as well as an alcohol-free environment often in locations of great natural beauty, appealed to would-be Victorian visitors in a manner that still resonates today.

Our reduced version of the original 1882 Philp map (22 x 14 cms) would appear to date from the early 1890’s following Philp’s acquisition of the Dunblane Hydro in October 1890, which appears as an inset lower right. The map also features an inset (lower left) of Philp’s Cockburn Hotel Glasgow, a sister establishment to the one in Edinburgh, also acquired in the early 1880’s and managed by Philp’s son, James:

Philp's Comic Map (Copyright) - verso -c1890
   Philp’s Comic Map          c1890-91               Philp's Comic Map (Copyright) - flyer - c1890

The text on the verso provides added interest in indicating that by this date the Edinburgh Cockburn Hotel had passed into the proprietorship of John Macpherson [1841-1915].

This piece was clearly designed as a colourful and eye-catching advertising flyer for distribution amongst the parties of newly arrived tourists & visitors exiting nearby Waverly Station.

John Macpherson was a native of Morayshire, born at Edinkillie near Elgin in June 1841, of relatively humble farming origins, the son of John Macpherson, land reclaimer and Jane Kennedy. In 1868 he married Jane Peterkin in Forres. By the time of the 1871 Census the family had moved to Edinburgh and Macpherson is listed  as a member of staff at the Cockburn Hotel.  Shortly afterwards, in late 1872 or early 1873, he moved with his family to the Borders to take up a post as Manager of Philp’s new Waverly Hydro in Melrose, which had first opened in July 1871. Several of his children were born here, in a family that would eventually comprise six sons and three daughters. The Macpherson family residence during their time in Melrose, close by the Hydro and known locally as the Concrete Cottage (now Tweed Cottage) still survives. According to his obituary Macpherson moved back to Edinburgh in 1878 and acquired the Cockburn Hotel business from Philp in 1883, which is confirmed by contemporary advertisements. It is evident from this map that Philp did not surrender the brand name and that the links with Philp’s other hotels in Scotland continued to be maintained despite Macpherson’s proprietorship.

Indeed the Philps maintained a strong family interest across their hotel businesses, with several of Andrew Philp’s children (and their respective wives & husbands) becoming closely involved in the running & management of the numerous establishments. By the late 1890’s these also included two London Hotels, the Glenburn (6 Montague Place – Prop: A Philp) and Cockburn (9-10 Endsleigh Gardens – Prop: J Philp).

Andrew Philp died at the Dunblane Hydro on 19th April 1902 aged 94, leaving an estate of £27,426, most of it in hydropathic company shares.

His obituary notes his wonderful energy, youthful appearance and remarkable physical strength and stamina. Even in his 80’s and 90’s he thought nothing of travelling from Dunblane to Rothesay, there and back on the same day, twice a week. He also regularly journeyed by train to Edinburgh, Glasgow & London without assistance during his latter years. It was however his endearing character for which he is perhaps best remembered and which brought him such a wide circle of friends, his “inexhaustible store of Scots wit and humour, spoken in pure Doric, exceptionally choice & beautiful in regard to both words and vocalisation”, as one commentator noted.

It is indeed that timeless “Scots wit and humour” that shines through these wonderfully creative comic maps and helps to dispel our perhaps misplaced impression of the humourless and dour character of the Victorian  Temperance movement.

It is interesting to note that the Bartholomew archive records several orders for stationery and advertising material for the Edinburgh Cockburn Hotel, particularly in 1889. One wonders whether this second comic map in fact formed part of one such Bartholomew advertising order.

In 1892 a special Handy Hotel guide to Edinburgh was published by the Cockburn, with Macpherson’s signature on the front cover: Cockburn Hotel Guide 1892

The guide included photographic illustrations of the Hotel’s principal rooms and two folding maps of Edinburgh and the surrounding area, both engraved by Bartholomew.

Macpherson was, like Philp, an ardent Liberal and temperance campaigner. He was also a prominent political figure in Edinburgh society. Known as Baillie Macpherson he was a member of the City Council from 1887 to 1913. He died in very tragic circumstances in November 1915, when, as part of shooting party in Berwickshire, his gun accidentally discharged, wounding him in the chest, as he climbed over a wire fence.

The old Cockburn Hotel site had by this time been taken over by Edinburgh Council for an extension of the Council Chambers in the late 1890’s and new premises had been developed in 1897 in Market Street to the designs of the architect, John G Adams (The Builder, 29 May 1897, p.486).

At the time of John Macpherson’s death, the running of the Cockburn had passed to one of his sons, James Peterkin Macpherson [1869-1945]. The Hotel would remain in the hands of the family until the end of the Second World War. After James Peterkin’s death in 1945, the Hotel’s ownership would become the centre of a protracted legal dispute between different branches of the family.

And as a final footnote, I am pleased to report that our version of Philp’s Comic Map has made a belated homecoming, returning to its original place of publication in Edinburgh, there to join its larger 1882 companion in the collections of the National Library of Scotland.