John Angus Macsween

1939 - 2006

Entrepreneurial haggis-maker. Born in Edinburgh and educated at James Gillespie's High School and George Heriot's School, Macsween left school at 16 to join the family butchery and game-dealing business based in a small shop in the Bruntsfield district of the city. Realising most of his haggis sales were for Burn's Night, he did much to promote the food as a meal at other times of the year and suggested a variety of alternative means of serving. Taking over from his father in 1975, he expanded the business and built a brand around his family name, ensured his haggis was enjoyed beyond the borders of Scotland and was sold by prestigious shops such as Fortnum & Mason and Harrods.

Macsween shocked traditionalists by devising a vegetarian haggis in 1984, a commission by the Scottish Poetry Library for their opening. This went on to prove a great commercial success.

In 1996, the firm transferred to a new factory at Bilston Glen Industrial Estate (Loanhead), concentrating solely on the production of haggis, and closed the famous Bruntsfield shop. This was said to be the world's first dedicated haggis factory, employing a staff of thirty and with a turnover of £1 million per annum.

In 1964, he married Kate, the daughter of James Wilson McKay, who became Lord Provost of Edinburgh in 1969.

Macsween died at his home in Pathhead. He won several awards for his haggis and was honoured with a Scottish Food Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996.

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