Scotland: 19th and 20th century

The 19th century

Balmoral castle, with its stately appearance and well-cured grounds, were a symbol of how fashionable Scotland had become
Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire

The Lowlands of Scotland prospered during the Industrial Revolution. There was poverty in the Highlands. The clearances forced the Highlanders from the land they farmed to crofts on much poorer land on the coast. Some people moved to new planned towns. Many Highlanders emigrated to North America and Australia.

In the 19th century, Scotland was a contented partner within the United Kingdom:

  • In 1852, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert bought Balmoral Castle. This made Scotland and all things Scottish fashionable. The Highlands became a place for rich people (English and Scottish) to shoot grouse and deer.
  • The Westminster government slowly increased its control of Scottish affairs. In 1885, a Secretary for Scotland was appointed.

The 20th century

  • In 1928, the Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid was a founding member of the National Party of Scotland.
  • In 1950, four students removed the Stone of Scone from the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey. In 1296, Edward I had taken the stone when he invaded Scotland. It was taken back to Westminster, but formally returned to Scotland as a goodwill gesture in 1996.
  • In 1967, the first Scottish Nationalist MP (Winnie Ewing) was elected.
  • In the 1980s there were growing calls for self-government by Nationalists.
  • In 1997, the 'yes' campaign won a referendum on devolution for Scotland.
  • The Scottish Parliament was set up in 1999.
  • In 2004, the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood was opened.