Edinburgh Castle: Protesters call for Redcoat Cafe boycott if name change demand not met

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Campaigners claim the name is 'a gross insult to the people of Scotland'.

Protesters will urge customers to boycott the controversial Redcoat Cafe at Edinburgh Castle if demands for a name change are not met.

Campaigners have written an open letter to management branding the name 'a gross insult to the people of Scotland'.

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The letter which demands the cafe be renamed to something “that has no association with the British state” is signed by representatives of Action for Scotland, the Scottish Resistance and The Scottish Republican Socialist movement.

It states that Redcoat soldiers “murdered innocent Highland people, raped women and burned out native families driving them away to foreign lands”.

They have pledged to campaign outside and ask other visitors to boycott the establishment 'in the days and months to come' if Castle bosses don't comply.

It comes after the cafe which first opened at Edinburgh Castle in 1992, reopened in February following refurbishments - but the name of the café was found to be offensive by some Scottish Independence supporters.

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Redcoats was an informal name for the British army who wore red garments in battle - with the colour associated with the killing of Scots at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. The red-uniformed troops fought against the Jacobites in Scotland and were involved in colonisation around the world.

Demands for name change of Redcoat Cafe at Edinburgh CastleDemands for name change of Redcoat Cafe at Edinburgh Castle
Demands for name change of Redcoat Cafe at Edinburgh Castle | EEN

MPs have added their voices to calls for it to be re-branded and an online petition to change the name of the cafe has now amassed more than 4,800 signatures.

But a leading historian said critics of the name are 'misguided' because significant numbers of Scots wore the famous red coats of the British Army.

HES said the name for the cafe is currently under review.

A spokesperson for Historic Environment Scotland (HES), said: “We have listened to the strong feelings on both sides of the debate about the name of the café at Edinburgh Castle. The name has been in place since 1992 and reflects the military history which is told throughout the Castle, however the way we interpret history is constantly evolving. As part of our new visitor experience plans for Edinburgh Castle in the coming financial year, the names of both the café and the function room will be reviewed and any changes communicated in due course.”

The campaigners letter reads:

Dear Sir or Madam,

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We demand that the owners of the Redcoat Café change its name forthwith to a name that has no association with the British state as the Redcoats committed cultural genocide in Scotland eradicating the Gaelic language, Highland dress and customs of the Highland clans.

In the name of the British state, they murdered innocent Highland people, raped women and burned out native families driving them away to foreign lands.

In the 18th and 19th centuries the Redcoats led the drive for Empire subjugating whole peoples in their own lands again perpetrating cultural genocide abroad.

To have such a named cafe at Edinburgh Castle is a gross insult to the people of Scotland and completely unacceptable and therefore we demand an immediate change of name and if you do not comply with our demand then we will engage in a lawful campaign of encouraging the boycott of your cafe in the days and months to come.

Yours sincerely,

Sean Clerkin, Action for Scotland

James Scott, The Scottish Resistance

Bill Martin McKinnon, The Scottish Republican Socialist Movement

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