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This talk will recount the remarkable story of the first Chinese to settle in Britain. William Macao came to Scotland in the mid-1770s and after briefly working as a servant on the Black Isle, moved to Edinburgh, where he lived for over 50 years. He worked his way up from a servant at the Board of Excise to senior accountant. His remarkable life is all the more so as he has the unique status of being the only person since 1707 to have been legally designated a Scotsman. On retiring after a long career in the arts, Barclay Price has taken up historical research, including tracing all the residents of his street in the New Town. He also acts as a voluntary historical researcher for Edinburgh World Heritage.   A chance discovery of William Macao led to Price researching his previously unrecorded life, and this led to his writing, The Chinese in Britain – A History of Visitors and Settlers (Amberley Books). This is the first-ever account of the lives of Chinese travellers to our shores, from the first in 1687 to the 20th century, and includes seamen, students, cooks, brides, diplomats, jugglers, servants, sportsmen, bureaucrats, writers and 'curiosities'.


All of our lecture mornings cost £9 and include a friendly lecture where you have the opportunity to meet our guest lecturer, have coffee and cakes and get a special tour.

Take advantage of our special offer, book 10 lectures for £80.

Edinburgh’s First Chinese Gentleman