A cafe at Scotland’s most famous castle could be renamed after an angry backlash from nationalists.
The Redcoat Cafe at Edinburgh Castle was founded in 1992 and nobody has ever complained.
But when it was announced it was reopening after a refurbishment, it prompted a furious reaction from nationalists, including SNP politicians, who were un-aware it was not a new name.
Now Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is reviewing the names of both the Redcoat Cafe and the castle’s Jacobite function room.
What’s in a name? The Redcoat Cafe in the castle courtyard
Police Scotland are also understood to be aware of a post on X, formerly Twitter, saying: ‘This place deserves to be firebombed’.
The online furore began on Saturday when the castle shared a post saying: ‘We are happy to welcome you all back to our newly refurbished Redcoat Cafe. If you are visiting us over the weekend, pop in for a warm beverage or even a tasty slice of cake.’
But nationalists claimed the name, associated with the uniform worn by British Army infantrymen between the 16th and 19th centuries, was ‘deeply offensive’.
Nationalist MP Douglas Chapman – who is embroiled in a row over ‘anti-English rhetoric’ – posted: ‘I don’t think many will be “popping in” for anything. How about a swift rebrand? Redcoat, really?’ MSP Kevin Stewart wrote: ‘This can’t be for real, surely? If so, this is a huge misjudgment.’
Many drew on references to the Battle of Culloden in which government forces defeated the Jacobite army in 1746.
More than 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for the cafe’s name to be changed.
Historical re-enactors play the part of redcoats
It states: ‘The name “Redcoat Cafe” glorifies and honours the Red Coats, the British soldiers who played a significant role in subjugating Scotland and suppressing its people during periods of history marked by conflict and strife.’
Scottish regiments have, however, also worn the distinctive uniform, and the castle has long been a British Army barracks.
However, others questioned the outcry over a name that has been used for 32 years. Roddy Dunlop, KC, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, wrote: ‘Difficult to credit how some people have “lost their minds” over the name of a cafe (which has been so named for several years).’
Duncan Hothersall, of the website Labour Hame, said: ‘These “regular visitors” clearly haven’t checked the name of the cafe for several decades.’
But HES, which manages the visitor attraction, said it would review the name. A spokesman said: ‘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, the names of both the Redcoat Cafe and Jacobite function room will now be reviewed.’