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Blairgowrie's First Newspaper and Blairgowrie's First Printworks

Blairgowrie's First Newspaper and Blairgowrie's First Printworks

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1855 - The Birth of the Blairie


Blairgowrie's First Newspaper and Blairgowrie's First Printworks

Read all about it!

The Blairgowrie Advertiser, or 'Blairie' as it is fondly known locally, originated on Saturday 21 April 1855 and is still going today! In addition, Blairgowrie's first printing press was installed in 1838.

The Birth of The Blairie

James Ross was born in Montrose in 1797 and came to live in Blairgowrie after he married Elizabeth Ferguson a native of the town. Ross & Son ran a Bookseller’s business at 68 High Street where he installed Blairgowrie’s first printing press in 1838. They also ran a Stationery business at 88 High Street.

Ross & Son produced a news sheet and, when it proved to be popular, it was decided to print a newspaper.  

On Saturday 21 April 1855, Blairgowrie’s first newspaper hit the streets. It cost one half-penny. The title chosen was:


of the


to be issued occasionally. 

It consisted of a single sheet printed on both sides, and was 121/2 inches long and 81/2 inches wide. As well as some local news, it covered the Crimean War under the heading ‘The Bombardment of Sebastopol’.

It became known as The Blairgowrie Advertiser and from 1880 it had a new home in a purpose built building in Reform Street.

On Saturday 22 May 1880, a quarter of a century after the Blairgowrie Advertiser was first published, the newspaper issued a fac simile of the first copy. This may be seen on the British Newspaper Archive website, which also includes copies from 1879 to 1880 and from 1885 to 1886.

The Blairgowrie Advertiser had several name changes over the years, e.g. The Blairgowrie Advertiser and Coupar Angus and Alyth Journal; The Advertiser for Blairgowrie, Rattray, Coupar Angus, Alyth, Kirriemuir, Strathmore and Stormont; The Blairgowrie Advertiser and Strathmore and Stormont News; The Blairgowrie Advertiser and Perth and Forfar Agriculturist.

There have been rival newspapers. In 1876, Larg & Keir published The Blairgowrie News from an office in Leslie Street, but it was discontinued after three years or so.

In 1894 the Free Press and General Advertiser was published by D.C. & W. Gibson from their office in Leslie Street and was delivered free of charge to every household.

The Blairgowrie Advertiser continued to be produced in Reform Street until the publishing rights were purchased by Scottish and Universal Newspapers in 1978. It is now owned by Reach plc, the biggest national and regional news publisher in the UK, and is still written in Blairgowrie although it is printed in Glasgow.

Every Tuesday since January 2018, the Blairgowrie Advertiser has been bringing the local news to the people of East Perthshire. Before that date, Wednesday had been Blairie day.  

The Blairgowrie Advertiser is also available online at


In 1980 Blairgowrie Printers was bought by Hamilton Scott, who had worked there as a compositor. He continued to print a wide range of stationery including programmes, posters, brochures etc until he retired in 2007.

The building in Reform Street still houses the printing equipment much of which is in working order.

The Print Works and the machinery were listed as Category B in 2003.

In 2013 money was raised to fund a film showing the equipment in operation.

There is also a short film on YouTube.

Read more in ‘A Social History of Blairgowrie and Rattray’ edited and compiled by Margaret Laing.


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