Scotland’s history hits the headlines


By Lauren Gelling

The book contains a series of front pages from the imaginary newspaper The Scottish Scribe

A TALENTED newspaper designer is publishing a book showing how 2000 years of Scottish history would have looked through the eyes of a modern tabloid.

The tongue-in-cheek reworking of the nation’s touchpoint moments in time includes victory at the Battle of Bannockburn, James VI ascension to the throne of England and the Jacobite uprising.

The book, entitled Old The Front Page, contains a series of front pages from the imaginary Scottish Scribe newspaper.? “

The clever combination of text, layout and images is so realistic, it will make you believe that the newspaper really did exist long before the western world developed the printing press.

As well as featuring notable moments in Scottish history, the book also features prominent names of the past, including William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots and Greyfriar’s Bobby.

It is the brainchild of Glasgow-based journalist and author Martin Kielty, who has over 20 years experience in the newspaper industry, including 11 years at the Daily Record.

He said:

“It’s hard to explain the concept to people in words, as the book is very visual. It’s all in the presentation; to see it is to know it. “

“Basically, it’s dozens of front pages which have been created for the fictitious newspaper The Scottish Scribe.

“The book looks at the various points in Scottish history, beginning with the Battle of Mons Graupius in AD84 and ending with the Tay Bridge Disaster in 1879.

Old the Front Page portrays Scottish history in a way you have never seen before

“However, it’s not a boring chronological list of dry facts; it tells stories, raises questions and enables you to learn new things.

“I actually learned a lot of interesting facts whilst making it, for example, I found out that Captain Kidd, one of the most infamous pirates in history, was Scottish. “

With a passion for Scottish history and producing front pages, Martin came up with the idea for Old the Front Page whilst he was chatting to friends in the pub.

He went on to make a list of interesting events from the last 2000 years, researched the stories put the book together in just two months.

It took approximately two hours to design each cover in the same way that a modern tabloid would be produced today.

However, Martin had to take a step back in time and make editorial decisions based on the country’s stance during those periods.

He said:

“The Scottish Scribe is an imaginary paper that would have been published for a Scottish audience so of course it will take the Scottish side. I had to put myself in the editor’s shoes and consider what the paper would have published at that particular time.

“I have included side notes to explain the history and context of each story as well as why the editor may have taken a particular side.

“However, I had to bear in mind that if I published anything too risky then the king would have taken off my head! “

Martin hopes that the book will appeal beyond Scotland

Although some of the stories contain an anti-English tone, Martin believes that the book will appeal beyond the Scottish border.

He said:

“I hope that the English will buy it as it’s a discussion piece. What’s important to remember is that it was 700 years ago and that’s how it would have been covered at the time when we were at war.

“I think the book will appeal to people across the world; anyone who has an interest in Scottish history should by it as it is an entertaining, enjoyable and educational read. It’s a whole experience and I already have ideas for the next one. “

Old the Front Page will be available from September 1 2011, costing 6.50.