late 19th Century
Scotland's deep ties to Myanmar
room United Kingdom
The majority of the top companies in Yangon (then Rangoon) in the late 19th and early 20th century were Scottish. Golf and whiskey in Myanmar are of course legacies of this connection. Thousands of Scots lived and worked in this city over several generations and may have constitued as much as 80% of the total "European" population in colonial times. At the Edinburgh Festival several years ago I gave a talk that was attended by a couple of hundred people, including many elderly men and women who came up to me afterwards and told me they had been born in Burma. We think of many of the old downtown buildings are 'English', but they are more accurately Scottish.The buildings below were originally the offices of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, the A. Scott Company, Grindlay's Bank, Burmah Oil, and Bombay Burmah. A small sampling of Scotland's architectural influence on Yangon. All were Glaswegian companies. The Scots Kirk (Scottish Presbyterian Church) is just opposite the Thamada cinema.