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Edinburgh Castle's Redcoat cafe name reviewed over 'offence to Scots'

Redcoat cafe
Redcoat cafe

An Edinburgh Castle cafe named after British Redcoat soldiers is to be reviewed after some people claimed it was offensive to Scots.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES), which runs the castle, said it could rename its Redcoat Cafe after 32 years over its controversial historic links.

Critics have pointed to the British Army's role in the Highland Clearances and the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

An online petition has had more than 3,200 signatures since Sunday.

HES said the cafe's name "reflects the military history which is told throughout the castle" but that it would consider both sides of the debate.

Redcoats was an informal name for British infantrymen who wore their distinctive garment into battles - including those with Scottish clansmen.

Battle of Culloden
A painting showing Redcoats taking on Scottish clansmen by David Morier

The reopening of the cafe at the weekend following a refurbishment brought attention to the name, despite it being in place since 1992.

Edinburgh Castle's Jacobite function room name will now also be reviewed.

Many took to social media at the weekend to criticise the cafe's name when Edinburgh Castle tweeted about the cafe reopening on Saturday.

Kay Watson was one of those who posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying: "Redcoat Cafe, do you realise how offensive that is - to name anything in Scotland with that word, far less to name a cafe in Edinburgh Castle. Pains me to say it but it's one castle I won't be visiting anymore."

Douglas Chapman, the SNP MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, called for a "rebrand" while Edinburgh SNP councillor Lesley Macinnes described it as "an appalling tone-deaf choice of name".

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Scotland

However, Conservative MSP Stephen Kerr pointed out that it had been called the Redcoat cafe for at least two decades.

In a blog post, Labour candidate Blair McDougall - who headed the Better Together campaign in the 2014 referendum - said there had been an "orgy of idiotic anger" on social media over the issue.

"The need to feel this anger is more powerful than any historical analysis," he added.

A spokeswoman for Historic Environment Scotland said it would be reviewing the name.

She added: "We are aware of the comments on social media on both sides of the debate about the name of the cafe 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 future plans for Edinburgh Castle, the names of both the Redcoat Cafe and Jacobite function room will now be reviewed."