George Burnett

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George Burnett
George Burnett 1927.jpg
Press and Journal, 7 December 1927
Born (1892-10-24)24 October 1892
Died 4 September 1944(1944-09-04) (aged 51)
Cause of death
Colon cancer
Nationality Scottish
Alma mater Aberdeen University
  • BBC senior Scottish schools oficer
  • BBC Scottish publicity assistant, 1933–1944
Spouse(s) Winifred Gladys Hooper (married ??)
  • George Burnett
  • Annie Scroggie

George Burnett (24 October 1892–4 September 1944) was a teacher and author who became the BBC's first Scottish education official and, later, Scottish publicity officer.

Early life

George Burnett was the son of an agricultural labourer, also George Burnett, and his wife Annie Scroggie.

Burnett entered Aberdeen University before the First World War, but his studies were interrupted by five years of active service in Egypt, Gallipoli and India. While at Gallipoli he ran a Service newspaper, and in Afghanistan he ran a bakery.[1]

During his undergraduate period he published a book of verse. He graduated in 1920 with a Master of Arts (Honours) degree in English.

Educational career

After graduating, Burnett entered the teaching profession.

In 1923 he was Director of Studies at the Aberdeen Training Centre.

He served as head teacher of English at Selkirk High School for several years, during which time he contributed to various periodicals on scholastic matters. He was also honorary secretary of the Selkirk Musical Association.[2]

In 1925 the Selkirkshire Education Authority additionally appointed Burnett as headmaster of Selkirk Continuation Classes.[3]

In March 1927 he won first prize in a BBC verse competition with a sonnet entitled 'A Pair of Old Shoes'.[4]

BBC career

On 17 November 1927, the BBC announced that Burnett had been appointed to the staff of the Northern Area Director, David Cleghorn Thomson, in Glasgow as an education official.[5] His official title was Secretary of the Scottish Sub-Council for Schools Broadcasting.

In 1933 he was transferred to the post of Publicity Officer, a post he continued in until his death.

He compiled and edited the first history of Scottish broadcasting, Scotland on the Air, published in 1938.

During the Second World War, when most of the BBC's Edinburgh programme staff transferred to Queen Margaret Drive in Glasgow, Burnett stayed on in the capital, where he took on the additional responsibility of Edinburgh Representative with a certain amount of house administration to look after.[6]


He was a keen amateur gardener and had a deep love of both the Aberdeen and Border countries.[7]


He died of colon cancer at the age of 51 on 4 September 1944 at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh. At the time he resided at 92 Dalkeith Road in the city. He was survived by his wife and one daughter who was serving in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF).


  • 'A Book of Border Verse' (London: Blackie and Son, 1926) — Review from Southern Reporter, 30 September 1926.
  • 'A Book of Scottish Verse' (London: Methuen, 1932)
  • 'Companion to Tweed' (London: Methuen, 1938)


  1. Ariel, June 1936, 25.
  2. 'News of the District', Southern Reporter, 3 June 1926, 4.
  3. 'News of the District', Southern Reporter, 17 September 1925, 4.
  4. 'Border notes and comments, Southern Reporter, 10 March 1927, 4.
  5. 'BBC post for Aberdeen graduate', Press and Journal, 18 November 1927, 6.
  6. 'Scottish Region Staff', circa January 1940, BBC WAC R13/372.
  7. 'Death of BBC official', Press and Journal, 5 September 1944, 3.