PROTESTERS will demand customers boycott the controversial Redcoat Cafe at Edinburgh Castle if management does not concede to demands for a name change, The National can reveal.

The Redcoat Cafe found itself at the centre of intense controversy earlier this year, when it reopened after a refurbishment.

In an open letter to those in charge, Sean Clerkin of Action for Scotland and James Scott of the Scottish Resistance demand the cafe be renamed to something “that has no association with the British state”.

It was also signed by Bill Martin McKinnon of the Scottish Republican Socialist Movement.

Clerkin (below) and other activists will deliver their letter to the cafe on Monday, March 23, he told The National.

The National:

They will demand the name – which is currently under review by its ultimate owners, Historic Environment Scotland – be changed and say they will campaign outside if this is rejected, urging other visitors to boycott the establishment.

The letter said Redcoat soldiers “murdered innocent Highland people, raped women and burned out native families driving them away to foreign lands”.

Using the name for a cafe was a “gross insult to the people of Scotland and completely unacceptable”, the campaigners added.  

READ MORE: Gross historical error': Scotland's top historian weighs in on 'redcoat' row

Despite the cafe having had the name since 1992, the announcement it was reopening after renovations triggered an enormous backlash – which included MPs joining demands for the cafe to be rebranded.

It takes its name from the red-uniformed British troops who fought against the Jacobites in Scotland, against US succession in North America, and were involved in colonisation across the globe. They counted a number of Scots among their ranks.

At the centre of the controversy is their role in suppressing the Jacobite uprising, which leading historian Tom Devine (below) said “conjures up bloody images of Culloden and the slaughter of the clans both during the battle itself and even more brutally afterwards”.

The National:

But the Edinburgh University professor and author said critics were misguided because of the significant numbers of Scots who wore the famous red coats of the British Army.

A spokesperson for Historic Environment Scotland said: “We have listened to the strong feelings on both sides of the debate about the name of the café at Edinburgh Castle.

"The name has been in place since 1992 and reflects the military history which is told throughout the castle, however the way we interpret history is constantly evolving.

"As part of our new visitor experience plans for Edinburgh Castle in the coming financial year, the names of both the cafe and the function room will be reviewed and any changes communicated in due course.”

The campaigners' letter in full

Dear Sir or Madam,

We demand that the owners of the Redcoat Café change its name forthwith to a name that has no association with the British state as the Redcoats committed cultural genocide in Scotland eradicating the Gaelic language, Highland dress and customs of the Highland clans.

In the name of the British state, they murdered innocent Highland people, raped women and burned out native families driving them away to foreign lands.

In the 18th and 19th centuries the Redcoats led the drive for Empire subjugating whole peoples in their own lands again perpetrating cultural genocide abroad.

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To have such a named cafe at Edinburgh Castle is a gross insult to the people of Scotland and completely unacceptable and therefore we demand an immediate change of name and if you do not comply with our demand then we will engage in a lawful campaign of encouraging the boycott of your cafe in the days and months to come.

Yours sincerely,

Sean Clerkin, Action for Scotland

James Scott, The Scottish Resistance

Bill Martin McKinnon, The Scottish Republican Socialist Movement