He was born at Arbroath, Angus and was educated at Edinburgh University. He entered first the publishing office and then the editorial department of The Scotsman, became a partner in the paper in 1868, and in 1870 inherited the greater part of the property from his great uncle, John Ritchie (or William?), the founder.
The large increase in the influence and circulation of the paper was in a great measure due to his activity and direction, and it brought him a fortune, which he spent during his lifetime in public benefaction. He presented to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, opened in Edinburgh in 1889, and costing over 70,000 pounds sterling; and he contributed largely to the collections of the National Gallery of Scotland.
He held numerous offices in antiquarian, educational and charitable societies, showing his keen interest in these matters, but he avoided political office and refused the offer of a baronetcy. The freedom of Edinburgh was given him in 1896. He died at Aberlour, Banffshire, in 1898.
His elder son Sir John Ritchie Findlay, and grandson Edmund Findlay followed him as proprietors of The Scotsman. His younger son, James Leslie Findlay became an architect, among whose projects were distinctive new offices and printing works for The Scotsman on North Bridge, Edinburgh.
Front page views: An exhibition of portraits of former editors and proprietors of The Scotsman celebrates the paper's historic link with the Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Dec 03, 2005; Publish and be hanged, one might say. An exhibition of portraits of editors and proprietors of The Scotsman, opening at the...