The Scottish rivalry between Edinburgh and Glasgow may have started 300 years ago

The long-running (friendly) rivalry between Edinburgh and Glasgow could have started with a row over bread.

The story of a heated argument between 17th century bakers in Scotland’s two largest towns was uncovered by Professor Robert Crawford, published in his book; On Glasgow and Edinburgh.

A Digital Spy article quotes Crawford as saying: “The famous and often misunderstood rivalry between Glasgow and Edinburgh began over 300 years ago.

“One of the earliest recorded outbreaks occurred in 1656, when Glasgow City Council became concerned about the poor quality of bread being produced by local bakers.

“Two bakers from Edinburgh came up with a simple solution and also managed to outperform Glasgow – they would be happy to bake Glasgow bread that met their premium Edinburgh standards.



The division of Scottish towns is said to have started with a debate over bread (Image: Real Bread Campaign – Chris Young)

“The gloves were off and the game between Edinburgh and Glasgow had begun.”

The Auld Reekie vs. Dear Green Place is one of the oldest rivalries in the world, and the differences between the two townspeople are a common topic of discussion.

Although the towns are only 45 miles apart, it is said that the difference in life, leisure, sport and business can be felt.

Glasgow is considered friendlier, trendier and riskier than Edinburgh. which is considered to be the best counterpart with less fuss.

One of the most contentious and telling talking points between towns is potentially a trip to the chip shop.



The salt and gravy debate has long plagued the central belt (Image: The Chippy Edinburgh)
The salt and gravy debate has long plagued the central belt (Image: The Chippy Edinburgh)

Edinburgh is the only region in Scotland whose inhabitants prefer salt and gravy with their fries; a decision not taken lightly in Glasgow.

In the East, salt and sauce are the favorite side dishes of more than two-fifths of those questioned.

If, like us, you’ve long wondered what chippy sauce is, you might be surprised to find that the delicacy is largely made up of onions, spices, raisins and other fruits. .

To make matters even more confusing, many chip shops in Edinburgh buy Walter Black’s sauce – which is made in Glasgow.

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In a less flea-related comment, Professor Crawford added: “Competition between cities in the same country is a very old phenomenon, dating back at least to Athens and Sparta in classical Greece.

“The rivalry between Glasgow and Edinburgh is fundamental in that it precedes and to some extent foreshadows all other fully developed and long-standing urban rivalries – those between New York and Boston, Sydney and Melbourne, Toronto and Vancouver come later. .”

An old Scottish joke goes, “Edinburgh boys came to Glasgow to laugh and go home in stitches.”

This suggests that the people of Glasgow have an infectious sense of humour, but may be more prone to the odd outburst.



Glasgow's position on the River Clyde contributed to its position in the Industrial Revolution, which deepened the class divide between cities (Image: Wikimedia Commons - Rijksmuseum)
Glasgow’s position on the River Clyde contributed to its position in the Industrial Revolution, which deepened the class divide between cities (Image: Wikimedia Commons – Rijksmuseum)

Years ago Glasgow, in its more industrial age, was supposed to be filled with the working class bogged down in ‘real work’, compared to Edinburgh’s snobbishness.

Today, Edinburgh has annual festivals; Glasgow has a thriving music scene.

Edinburgh retains a historic and picturesque feel, while Glasgow adopts a modern urban feel.

In the center of Edinburgh is a castle, and elsewhere we hold the national rugby stadium for Scotland.

In Glasgow, on the banks of the Clyde, the OVO Hydro offers a multi-purpose indoor arena that hosts sporting events and world celebrities.

Comparisons and differences are arguably what makes Scotland’s two largest cities such a fantastic representation of Scotland; but only when paired.

Professor Crawford argues that the only travesty would be for the rivalry to die out altogether.

He argued, “It is partly the age-old rivalry, the differences, the beautifully distinct flavor of these almost but never quite neighbors that constitutes their enduring yet dynamic allure.



While some Glasgow states hold the title of Scotland's most exciting city, Edinburgh's Fringe Festival brings a massive amount of activity to the capital each August (Image: Wikimedia Commons - Festival Fringe Society)
While some Glasgow states hold the title of Scotland’s most exciting city, Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival brings a massive amount of activity to the capital each August (Image: Wikimedia Commons – Festival Fringe Society)

“In both cities, Glasgow residents are assumed to be diamonds in the rough whose hospitality, especially to those in need, is legendary.

“In Edinburgh, according to popular wisdom, no matter what time you arrive at someone’s doorstep, you may be greeted with the words ‘you’ll have had your tea’ – meaning the visitor will already have eaten and therefore the host will not need to provide any food.

“Such cartoons are unfair, but too amusing to be discarded.

“Everyone can enjoy this pair of stubborn towns equally, no one can understand Scotland without paying attention to both.

“It would be a terrible shame if this rivalry was ever settled.”

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