Edinburgh Chamber is primarily a membership organisation supporting businesses of all sectors and scale wishing to engage in business in Edinburgh. We support members through a variety of membership benefits and also a range of activities such as Events, Training & Development, Mentoring, International Trade and Business Advice.
Two weeks before Christmas 1785, a number of leading Edinburgh business men met in the New Church Aisle of St Giles and, from this meeting, Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and Manufacture was born.
The first Secretary of the Chamber was Mr William Creech, bookseller, publisher and author. He was the publisher of the Edinburgh edition of Robert Burns’ poems and a friend of the poet.
Within two months of the formation of the Chamber of Commerce, these far-sighted businessmen decided to give the organisation a firmer foundation by applying for a Royal Charter on 15 February 1786. On 10 July 1786 this was duly granted by King George III.
One of the first matters to which Edinburgh Chamber gave attention was the need for improving the Lighthouse on May Island and a committee was formed to look into the matter and visit the island during 1786. A lighthouse man was duly appointed at a salary of £7 per annum. However, the drinks bill for the occasion is listed in the Chamber accounts as over £12.
Some two years later, there is an item in the Chamber’s accounts for an amount paid to the captain of the ship which returned them from May Island for inconvenience caused by the unruly behaviour of the gentlemen!
Edinburgh Chamber Innovations
As early as 1790, the Chamber considered postal matters. It seems that even then some things could not be relied upon and the speed of the mail was then, as now, a matter of great concern. As a result, the Edinburgh Chamber suggested that the mail should carry the day and month of posting. It is believed that this was the first time that mail was date stamped.
The Edinburgh Chamber was also responsible for recommending the firing of a gun from the castle at One O’clock as an audible time signal of the time kept on Calton Hill Observatory. In 1861, a deputation from the Chamber met with Sir John Douglas, the Adjutant-General, and Colonel McLeon, the Commander of the Artillery in Northern Britain, to arrange for the firing of the time signal.
Board, Council and Chamber Staff
Day to day management of the Chamber is undertaken by an Executive Team headed by a Chief Executive who in turn is responsible to the Chamber Council.
The Chamber Council, a representation of the Chamber’s members and partners across all types and sizes of industry, appoints the Office Bearers, consisting of a President, a Vice President and a Treasurer. The Office Bearers and other nominated Council Directors comprise an Operating Board to whom the Executive Team report.
Liz McAreavey, Chief Executive Chief Executive
Chief Executive, President FWB Park Brown Ltd
Kirstee Macbeth, Vice-President Propellor Consulting Ltd
John Watson, Vice President Edinburgh Airport
Liz McAreavey, Chief Executive FWB Park Brown Ltd
Alastair Hutt - Royal Bank of Scotland
Alan Coats - Bank of Scotland
Dr Ali Afshar - AMA Newtown Ltd
Ewan Aitken - Cyrenians
Hugh Rutherford - Montagu Evans LLP
Jeremy Chittleburgh - Chiene & Tait
Prof. Joe Goldblatt - Queen Margaret University
Johnny Petrie - Edinburgh Rugby
Chris Sheldon - Turcan Connell
Kerry Dewar - Edinburgh Napier University
John Watson - Edinburgh Airport
Ron Kitchin - Leith Chamber of Commerce
George Lowder - Transport For Edinburgh
John Donnelly - Marketing Edinburgh
Fiona Doherty - Forth Ports
Roddy Smith - Essential Edinburgh
Andrew Muir - Farrpoint Ltd
Kirstee Macbeth - AKA Scotland
Graham Hill - Arcadis
Mairi O'Keefe - Leuchie House