US Consulate to unveil first official tartan on St Andrew's Day

It is one of the oldest diplomatic missions in Scotland, having had a presence in Edinburgh since 1798.

Now, after more than 220 years based in the Scottish capital, the US Consulate in Edinburgh is to unveil its first official tartan.

The Consulate General created three tartans in partnership with Clare Campbell of Prickly Thistle, the designer behind the “Sassanach” tartan created for Outlander actor Sam Heughan, who launched his own range of tartan and tweed accessories two years ago.

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People with links to the US and Scotland were asked to take part in an online vote to make their choice as to which design should be named the official tartan. The winning design, which will be unveiled on St Andrew’s Day on Wednesday, will be registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans, where it will be publicly accessible among thousands of other tartans.

Consulate General Jack Hillmeyer.
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The United States has maintained a diplomatic presence in Scotland since 1798, when President John Adams appointed the first US Consul to Scotland.

US Consul General Jack Hillmeyer said tartan “symbolises much of what is special and unique” about Scotland. He said the official design would form a “distinctive part” of the US diplomatic presence in Edinburgh.

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Hillmeyer said: “We are delighted to be one step closer to finally having an official tartan to call our own. There was an amazing response to our poll, with support from our friends on both sides of the Atlantic, political officials, cultural figures and business leaders. Thousands voted online and our activity on social media reached tens of thousands more.

"We can’t wait to reveal our winning design on St Andrew’s Day, which will help encapsulate that which makes relationship between the US and Scotland so special.”

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The Journey from 1798

The Consulate said the three final tartans were chosen to incorporate colours and patterns influenced by the shared history between Scotland and the United States.

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One, named The Uniting of flags, takes inspiration from the flags of Scotland and the US, with an overlay of green to symbolise the growth of the partnership.

The second, named The Journey From 1798, combines the American rose and the Scottish thistle and marks the growth in relations between Scotland and the US since the founding of the consulate 222 years ago.

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The third, The Thistle and Rose, also utilises the idea of the two national flowers and features blocks of 98 threads, crossed with sections of 17 threads to represent the year the consulate in Scotland was founded.

The Uniting of Flags
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Campbell, who is based in Evanton, north of Inverness, also designed the official tartan for the 25th Annual New York City Tartan Day Parade in April.

The US is Scotland’s top export destination, with goods sold to the country valued at £6 billion – around 17 per cent of Scotland’s total overseas exports – according to the latest figures by the Scottish Government.

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America is also the single largest market for Scotch whisky exports, with estimates claiming four bottles of Scotland’s national drink are exported to the US every second.

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