It’s been another busy year at Scottish Field – both in print and online.
Over the last 12 months, we’ve brought you thousands of pages of the best of Scotland, celebrating the fine and the good of our nation.
To mark the end of 2019, we’ve decided to delve into the extensive, and in places extremely dusty, archives that are home to Scottish Field in the many guises in which it has appeared over the years.
The very first issue of Scottish Field was published in May 1903 and described itself as a ‘high-class journal devoted to manly sport and the outdoor life.’
John McMurtie founded the magazine after a spell as a railway booking clerk and later as the founder of an advertising agency. He was a great admirer of the English magazine The Field and believed strongly that Scotland should have its own sporting journal.
He enlisted the help of some of his friends, many of whom wrote for Glasgow-based newspapers and together they created Scottish Field.
In 1931 the magazine was sold to Henry Munro, who was at the helm throughout the war years until the 1960s when the magazine was taken over by Sir Hugh Fraser’s Scottish and Universal Investments Ltd and was directly controlled by The Herald Newspapers in Glasgow.
Scottish Field moved to Edinburgh in 1976 under the editorship of Roddy Martine, but returned to Glasgow following a management buyout. Until November 1994 Scottish Field remained part of Caledonian Newspapers Ltd until it was purchased by its present owner, Howard Bennett.
In 1994 Archie Mackenzie was appointed Editor and produced the magazine with the help of only four other members of staff. Scottish Field’s centenary issue was published in 2003, including a message of congratulations from HRH The Queen, who commended the publication on reaching ‘this important milestone in its history.’
In 2007, Scottish Field was named Consumer Magazine of the Year at the Scottish Magazine Awards. Archie Mackenzie retired from his post as editor in 2010 and Richard Bath took up the reins and only two years later in 2012 he won Editor of the Year at the Scottish Magazine Awards.
The first thing that strikes you about any magazine is undoubtedly the front cover. Making an impact on the news stand has always been a priority, however over the years there have been various methods employed to ensure that Scottish Field remains eye-catching and drop dead gorgeous.
The 1930s saw a mix of photography and hand drawn art on the cover, giving way to the beautiful stylised drawings of the 1950s. By the 1970s photography had fallen back into favour and the Scottish Field logo took on a more modern, sans serif look. The 1980s, as perhaps in all areas of style and design, saw some rather strange geometric shapes appear on the cover and some even dodgier hair dos.
Although the editorial content of Scottish Field has certainly changed over the decades, there are many similarities that still endure today. In its day Scottish Field was undoubtedly a magazine aimed at the sporting gentleman, whereas today our readers come from all walks of life and there is as much to interest the ladies as the gents.
That said, Scottish Field is proud of its strong heritage in the field of country pursuits and retains much to interest the keen sportsman or woman.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the focus on quality. It is evident from thumbing through the archives that high-end fashion has always been high on the agenda, as has the best of Scottish food – although styling and tastes have certainly changed over the years. The styling of the clothes on the fashion pages seems almost cyclical and today we can see influences in popular designs that were evident in the 1950s and again in the 1970s.
In days gone by, many column inches were devoted to the royal family and their personal lives and work. They were undoubtedly the celebrities of their time. There have been forays into current affairs throughout the years, but Scottish Field’s formula for success always comes down to providing the best coverage of all that is great about living in Scotland.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating things about our journey through the last 110 years of Scottish Field has been taking a look at the changing face of advertising. The adverts have always reflected the high-quality feel of the magazine and remain heavily aspirational to this day.
The finest properties have featured throughout the years as well as the most sought after cars on the market. The pages of Scottish Field have witnessed the rise of property development and a new found interest in home styling, as well as the advent of the package holiday as Scots joined the throngs on the beaches of the Med.
The latest fashions have always graced the advertising pages, however, unlike the clothes themselves, the style and design of the adverts across all sectors of Scottish lifestyle has changed drastically over the decades.
The polished and professional design, images and copy that we see in today’s adverts bear little or no resemblance to the hand-drawn offerings of old.
We hope that you have enjoyed this nostalgic journey back through the last century and decade of Scottish Field magazine and that you will continue to enjoy reading the magazine as much as we enjoy bringing it to you.
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