Indian Peter to feature on Doors Open Day at the Faculty

26 Sep

AN intriguing character from Scotland’s legal past will be brought to life for visitors to the Faculty this weekend on Doors Open Day.

A small exhibition about Peter Williamson, aka Indian Peter, is to be a feature of a tour of the Advocates Library as it welcomes the public.

As a child in Aberdeen in 1743, Williamson fell prey to a thriving slave trade in stolen children and was shipped to North America, where, over 13 years, he said he was captured by Native Americans and fought for the British against the French.

After managing to return to Scotland, he settled in Edinburgh and wrote of his adventures. He dressed as a “Red Indian” and became known as Indian Peter. He sued officials and merchants in Aberdeen over his abduction and won damages. He became a publisher and entrepreneur and developed Edinburgh’s first Penny Post system.

The Faculty has taken part in Doors Open Day for a number of years. On Saturday (29 September) Library staff will conduct timed tours for small groups, taking in the splendour of the Playfair corridor, named after the Library’s designer, William Henry Playfair, as well as the law room which was once a court and venue of the trial of William Burke, of Burke and Hare infamy.

There will also be information about the Tumbling Lassie, who featured in a case in 1687 and who has inspired modern fund-raising events in aid of anti-human trafficking charities.

Parliament House will be open from 10am to 4pm, - it has a mock trial as part of the attractions -  and tours of the Library run from 10:15am to 3:30pm. They have proved very popular in past years and places are limited, so visitors are advised to come early and book a place on a tour as they arrive in Parliament House.

For more about Indian Peter, see

The Tumbling Lassie story is at

The programme for the Cockburn Association Edinburgh and East Lothian Doors Open Days is here