Famous Angus people among online list of celebrated Scots

Bon Scott

Bon Scott

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Scotland has bred many famous and renowned people and a design agency has created an online list celebrating inspirational Scots.

Some of the Scots on the list came from Angus or have made their mark on the area.

JM Barrie

JM Barrie

Hit Reach, which has its headquarters in Dundee along with offices in Chicago and London, has created a section on its website dedicated to some of Scotland’s most inspirational compatriots.

Among those featured are Kirriemuir-born Sir JM Barrie, famous for writing Peter Pan; AC/DC frontman Bon Scott, who was born in Forfar and lived in Kirriemuir; and Brechin-born Sir Robert Watson-Watt.

The site features a snapshot biography, highlighting what each individual was best known for.

For Sir JM Barrie, it says: “Born in Kirriemuir, Barrie was a novelist and playwright best remembered as the creator of ‘Peter Pan’. Barrie’s early works included ‘A Window in Thrums’ set in a fictional village but based on his hometown. The publication of ‘The Little White Bird’ introduced Peter Pan who would later appear in ‘Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens’. Barrie was made a baronet in 1913 and before his death he left the rights of the Pan works to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.”

A rare studio photograph, c1960, of Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt without his hallmark spectacles.

A rare studio photograph, c1960, of Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt without his hallmark spectacles.

Bon Scott’s biography reads: “Scott was born in Forfar and lived in Kirriemuir before moving to Australia. In 1964 he formed The Spektors who later merged to form The Valentines giving Scott his first top 30 Australian single. Scott joined band Fraternity aka Fang in 1970 who toured the UK supporting Status Quo. In 1974 Scott joined AC/DC, with album High Voltage released in 1975. Albums Let There Be Rock and Powerage followed before Highway To Hell which would go on to sell eight million plus copies.”

For Watson-Watt, it says: “Born in Brechin, Watson-Watt was a pioneer and major contributor to the development of the radar. A descendant of fellow inventor James Watt he graduated in 1912 with a BSc in Engineering. In 1935 he sent a secret memo ‘Detection & location of aircraft by radio methods’ to the Air Ministry and after successful testing he received the patent. Further development by his team ensured the radar was instrumental in helping the Royal Air Force win the air battle in World War II.”

Also featured as one of the celebrated Scots is Andrew Carnegie, who gifted Montrose Library, formerly called the Carnegie Free Library, to the burgh, as well as gifting the historic Forfar Baths to the town.

His biography reads: “Andrew Carnegie emigrated to the United States aged 13 and began working as a telegrapher while investing his money in railroads, bridges and oil derricks. In the mid 1870s Carnegie constructed his first steel mill before forming Carnegie Steel company in 1892. Nine years later the company was sold for $480million. After selling the company he donated the majority of his wealth and time to investing in local libraries and scientific research. He founded the Carnegie Trust for Universities in Scotland.”

Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie

The list features historical and literary figures, such as William Wallace, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Burns, as well as more modern faces, including Ewan McGregor, Gerard Butler and Calvin Harris.

Initially managing director Chris Gilchrist and commercial director Russell Roebuck had planned to put together a ‘Famous Scots’ community awareness and engagement campaign. During the research period, they established that many unusual and interesting achievements were relatively unknown or publicised.

Even within their own staff HQ some of their colleagues had varying knowledge of what contributions Scottish people had made throughout history.

Chris explained: “From the research period, it was interesting to find people of differing ages knew of famous Scots from different generations but did not have an awareness of everyone we initially shortlisted. Hit Reach are based in Dundee and wanted to further expose some of our local icons, such as J.M. Barrie, William Playfair, Bon Scott and David Coupar Thomson, who all have wonderful achievements in their ᩐfields.”

Who do you think should be added to the list?