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Famous Residents

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EDINBURGH. Famous Residents

Medicine, Science and Engineering

Charles Bell , Scottish anatomist , surgeon , physiologist and natural theologian born in Edinburgh

Alexander Graham Bell , telephone pioneer, was born in Edinburgh.

James Hutton , Scottish Geologist, renowned as the "Father of Geology" was born in Edinburgh

James Clerk Maxwell , Scottish physicist

John Napier , mathematician, mainly remembered for the invention of logarithms.

James Young Simpson , an obstetrician who conducted the first experimental use of chloroform for anaesthesia .

D'Arcy Wentworth Thomson , Zoologist and Mathematician. Author of the influential book "On Growth and Form".


Bay City Rollers , pop group from the 1970's

James Boswell , author, biographer of Samuel Johnson

Ewen Bremner , actor

Rory Bremner , impressionist and comedian

George Mackay Brown , poet and storyteller

John Brown , essayist

Nicky Campbell , radio and television presenter

Sir Sean Connery , actor and ex James Bond

Ronnie Corbett , a Scottish comedian and actor, best known as one of The Two Ronnies

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle , the creator of Sherlock Holmes , was born in the city's New Town

William Dunbar , medieval poet

Al Fairweather , Jazz musician

Bridget Forsyth , actress, best known for playing Thelma in Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads

Kirsty Gallacher , television presenter

Robert Garioch , poet

Isabella Glyn , (1823-1889) well-known Victorian-era actress

Hannah Gordon , actress

Sir Ludovic Kennedy , journalist, broadcaster and author

Sir Harry Lauder , vaudeville singer, entertainer, and composer, of great acclaim.

Robert Scott Lauder , artist and portrait painter.

Sir Thomas Dick Lauder , notable academic, novelist, and writer, etc.

John Leslie , television presenter

Shirley Manson , lead singer for the band Garbage

Magnus Magnusson , television presenter and author

William Topaz McGonagall , renowned as one the worst poets in the English language was born in Edinburgh

Alexander McCall Smith , author of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series of books and many children's novels

William Miller , 19th century engraver and watercolourist

Eduardo Paolozzi , Sculptor and Artist, born in Leith

Pilot , pop group from the 1970's

Gail Porter , television presenter

John Rae , jazz musician and composer

Sir Henry Raeburn , portrait artist

Allan Ramsay (1686-1758) , poet

Allan Ramsay (1713-1784) , painter

Ian Rankin , author of the Inspector Rebus series of crime thrillers, attended the University of Edinburgh

Ian Richardson , actor

David Roberts , 19th century painter and lithographer

J. K. Rowling , Harry Potter author, wrote her first book in Edinburgh coffee-shop, Nicholson's

Alistair Sim , Scottish character actor

Sir Walter Scott , (1771-1832), novelist, was born in Edinburgh.

Muriel Spark , novelist, author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Robert Louis Stevenson , novelist, wrote fondly of the city before moving to Samoa .

Finley Quaye , singer-songwriter

Ken Stott , film and television actor, born in Edinburgh

Patrick Fraser Tytler , Scottish historian

Nigel Tranter (1909-2000), historian, writer, lived in Edinburgh

KT Tunstall Scottish singer-songwriter born in Edinburgh

Irvine Welsh , novelist, author of e.g. Trainspotting, is from Edinburgh.

Sam Houser , President of Rockstar Games and Executive Producer of the Grand Theft Auto franchise since the third game.


Alex Arthur , professional super featherweight boxer

Dario Franchitti , motor racing driver, born in Edinburgh

James Alexander Gordon , football results broadcaster, born in Edinburgh

Gavin Hastings , former Scottish Rugby Captain, born in Edinburgh

Lord Hawke , cricketer

Johnny Haynes , footballer who spent his retired years in Edinburgh

Chris Hoy , Scottish track cyclist and Olympic Games gold and silver medal winner

Steven MacLean , footballer currently with Cardiff City

Don Revie , footballer and football manager

Graeme Souness , football manager

Gordon Strachan , Scotland football manager


William Burke and William Hare , serial killers; sold the bodies of their victims to the medical college for dissection

Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig , 1st Earl Haig was born in Edinburgh

David Hume , philosopher and historian

John Knox , Protestant Reformer, lived in Edinburgh, and John Knox's House is preserved in the High Street

John Porteous , captain of the city guard, lynched during the Porteous Riots of 1736

Mary, Queen of Scots , lived in Holyrood Palace

Adam Smith , economist, author of The Wealth of Nations

Ronald Speirs , commander of "Dog" and "Easy" companies of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment , 101st Airborne during World War II , and governor of Spandau Prison in Berlin .

Sir Charles Tupper , one of the Fathers of the Confederation who formed the Dominion of Canada in 1867, and later the sixth Prime Minister of Canada , educated at the University of Edinburgh .

John Witherspoon , only clergyman to sign the American Declaration of Independence , president of Princeton University , educated in Edinburgh.

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