Famous 20th Century Scots


There are many famous 20th century Scots, which makes me extremely proud to be Scottish. Throughout our history we have had many men and women who have done wonderful things, died in bravery, excelled in science, sports, or the arts. It's these talented people who make me proud of my homeland.

Some have left us a rich legacy with their discoveries, travels, and inventions which has enhanced the world in which we live; some have made us proud, others have given us great entertainment.

On this page I'm just sharing a wee thumb-nailed sketch of just a few of them from the 20th Century, and as you might expect, I've started with those from the Kingdom of Fife.


Famous 20th Century Scots-Andrew Carnegie One of the greatest and most Famous 20th Century Scots was

Andrew Carnegie who was born in the town of Dunfermline, Fife. His life was a true "rags to riches" story. Carnegie became a powerful businessman and in the American steel industry. Today, he is remembered as an great philanthropist.


Thumb Gordon Brown Gordon Brown is Britain's new Prime Minister. He was born in 1951, and brought up in Fife and educated in Kirkcaldy High School. Gordon was appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer on 2 May 1997. He has been the MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath since 2005 and was the MP for Dunfermline East from 1983 to 2005.


Jack Vettriano Another Famous 20th Century Scots from the Kingdom of Fife is the painter Jack Vettriano . He grew up in the industrial seaside town of Methil in Fife. He only took up painting as a hobby in his twenties when his girl friend bought him a set of water colours. This is when Jack found his artistic talent.


Thumb The Proclaimers The Proclaimers hail from Auchtermuchty in Fife, the small town where I live. These two brothers, Charlie and Craig Reid have had great success including recording the title song in the film ‘Benny and Joon’ with the song “500 miles” or sometimes known as “I’m gonna be.”


Jimmy Shand Jimmy Shand , the wonderful musician also became one of the Famous 20th Century Scots. Jimmy with his accordion and his renowned band put Scotland’s country dance music on the world map. He was born in East Wemyss in Fife, but his home for many years was also my own adopted Auchtermuchty.

Thumb Ian Rankin Ian Rankin was born in Cardenden in the Kingdom of Fife. He is one of the best-selling crime writers in the United Kingdom and one of the world's foremost writers in the genre. He is most recognised as the writer of the Inspector Rebus novels.



Thumb James Dewar James Dewer came from the town of Kincardine and was most famous for inventing the vacuum flask, which is used throughout the world today.




ThumbBarbara Dickson Another famous 20th century Scot who hails from Fife, from the town of Dunfermline, the lovely singer and actress Barbara Dickson.




Other 20th Century Famous Scots
from Different Parts of Scotland


Scotland has many famous sons and daughters, and some have changed the way not only we, in Scotland live, but changed the lives of people around the world.

Scientists and Inventors

The next three famous 20th century Scots have indeed changed the course of history.

Can you imagine life without the television?

How did we live without the telephone?

What would modern medicine be like without penicillin?


John Logie Baird John Logie Baird, from Helensburgh in Argyll Scotland was an engineer and inventor of the world's first working television system. Today we have hundreds of channels and can see images from around the world just as events are happening.


Alexander Graham Bell Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, was another of the most Famous 20th Century Scots, although he emigrated to Canada and then to the USA. I just can't imagine life without modern communication; in fact me and my mobile (cellphone) are rarely parted!


Alexander Fleming Alexander Fleming from Ayrshire discovered the life-saving Penicillin and went on to win the Nobel Prize. Others went on to develop it more, but praise must be given to Fleming. Again, it's hard to imagine modern medicine without penicillin.



Acting, Music, and Writing Celebrities

Thumb Sean Connery One of our most Famous 20th Century Scots known throughout the world is our very own "James Bond”, actor Sean Connery. Sean hails from Edinburgh.




Thumb JM Barrie You will be familiar with J.M Barrie, who lived in Kirriemuir, the author of the famous "Peter Pan". The story was recently made into a film "Finding Neverland" starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet.




Thumb Ewan MacGregor Ewan McGregor, from Crieff, has become an international star. He played in the box office hit, "Moulin Rouge",with Nicole Kidman.


Thumb Robert Carlysle Robert Carlisle, from Glasgow, has also reached international fame. He starred in the film ‘The Full Monty’ which propelled him to Hollywood.





Thumb Billy Connelly Of course I also have to mention the comedien and actor Billy Connelly, who hails from Glasgow, and is known both sides of the Atlantic.





Thumb John Hannah John Hannah from East Kilbride, near Glasgow, also become internationally famous when starred alongside Hugh Grant in "Four Weddings and a Funeral".




Sporting Heroes

Of course, in the sporting world, there are also some famous 20th century Scots, producing many Olympic stars. In fact there are too many to mention here. But I'm sure you'll recognise these names

Thumb Eric Liddell My mind goes to Eric Liddell the runner whose fame grew long after he died when the Film Chariots of Fire was made. You may be interested to know that part of the film was shot on St Andrews beach.




Thumb Colin Montgomerie Colin Montgomerie, the International Golfer hails from Glasgow. He has had one of the finest careers in European Tour history, and is renowned also for his extraordinary Ryder Cup performances.



For further information on more 20th Century Scots, see also the following pages:-


Alexander Fleming - His discovery of Penicillin changed the world.
Andrew Carnegie - The great Philanthropist from Dunfermine made his fortune in the Steel Industry and went on to give away much of his money.



Barbara Dickson - The famous singer and actress from Dunfermline.
Ian Rankin - The novelist and author of the famous Inspector Rebus Books.
Jack Vettriano - The painter from Methil in Fife has reached international fame with his wonderful art.
Jimmy Shand - The famous Band Leader, also from Auchtermuchty. The legend of his music lives on.
The Proclaimers - The twin brother singing duo from Auchtermuchty, who made famous the song 'if I could walk 500 miles'.
Gordon Brown - Britain's Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was raised and educated in Kirkcaldy, Fife.


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