Sandy James was the Caledonian Hotel’s head doorman for over 30 years, taking up his post shortly after the hotel opened in 1903.
Sandy became almost an institution is his own right, with his long career at the hotel only disturbed by his service in the army during the First World War. He prided himself on knowing all the railway timetables by heart, and knew many of the celebrities who came to stay at the hotel.
It was during the Abdication Crisis of 1937 that his fame really spread far and wide. An American journalist asked Sandy what the ordinary British person felt about King Edward VIII’s relationship with Wallis Simpson.
His innocent answer was printed in New York and Washington, along with the tip that anyone who wanted a summary of British public opinion should ask the doorman of the Caledonian Hotel, Edinburgh.