Robert Murray Stamp Shop, Edinburgh
Established 1977
Retail shop, auctioneers, mail order


  Tytler's Up !, by Bob Murray, in honour of James Tytler, the first person to fly in Britain. The Grand Edinburgh Fire Balloon flew in Edinburgh on 25 August 1784.

the dots for Tytler's Up !

Robert Murray acquired an interest in James Tytler in 1984, when as a stamp dealer appointed to promote and administer the sale of souvenir covers to collectors, he joined the Tytler Bicentenary Committee, and became involved in ways more than just philatelic !
Some years later, on getting into the Edinburgh traditional music pub session scene, he thought it a shame that a tune didn't exist for "Balloon Tytler", and humbly produced the above.
Tytler tends to be best known for his being Britain's first aeronaut (in 1784), and for his involvement in the editing of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and generally as an all-round character. He sits in that marvellous period of Edinburgh and Scottish history, when so many fascinating people were all around, and many of whom met each other; James Tytler, Robert Burns, Thomas Muir (and the other "Martyrs"), Deacon Brodie, Braxfield, Cockburn, Joseph Black, Robert Adam, David Hume, James Boswell, and so on. Although his musical efforts are by no means secret, they are less well known. Much of what James Tytler did was anonymous, but he can be thanked for his contribution to songs such as The Muckin o Geordie's Byre and Lass, Gin ye Loe Me. He probably did much more, but he's always been one of those people who didn't get the credit for what they did.

To quote Robert Burns (writing about 'The Bonnie Brucket Lass'
), "The two first lines of this song are all of it that is old. The rest of the song, as well as those songs in the Museum marked T, are the works of an obscure, tippling, but extraordinary body of the name of Tytler commonly known by the name of "Balloon Tytler", from his having projected a balloon, a mortal who, though he drudges about Edinburgh as a common printer, with leaky shoes, a sky-lighted hat, and knee-buckles as unlike as George-by-the-Grace-of-God and Solomon-the-Son-of-David; yet that same unknown drunken mortal is author and compiler of three-fourths of Elliot's pompous Encyclopaedia Britannica, which he composed at half-a-guinea a week."

See also