Orenda Roadshow in Edinburgh

An evening of international crime fiction

doug johnstone

ROAD SHOW Waterstones Edinburgh.jpg

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Job vacancy at Advocates Library

Library Support Assistant Fixed Term until 31 October 2019
Ref 19.04
Hours 15 hours per week

Mon – Fri: 3.15pm to 6.15pm

Salary Scale Grade 6b – £16,531 – £18,226

(pro rata – FTE 35 hours)

The Library Support Assistant is an administrative role and the post holder will be part of a team responsible for maintaining the resources of the Library, in order to assist in the provision of an efficient service to the users of the Advocates Library.

Closing Date: 5pm on Friday 1 March 2019
Full details here: 19.04 Library Support Assistant

February art exhibition: Dispossession

An exhibition of paintings by Karen and Mel Shewan runs from 1st till 27th February in the Art and Design Library.
The artworks are a complex exploration of themes related to the Highland Clearances

Tales of One City

Dispossession, an exhibition of paintings by Karen and Mel Shewan runs from 1st  till 27th February in the Art and Design Library.

The artworks are a complex exploration of themes related to the Highland Clearances, and the artists describe the exhibition like this:

Our exhibition Dispossession, developed from our interest in the Highland Clearances, the mass eviction of tenants, by their Lairds, to make way for large scale sheep farming. We stay for much of the year at our house near Edderton in Easter Ross at the foot of Struie Hill, overlooking the Sutherland Hills and the Dornoch Firth. It is a beautiful setting and yet to remark on all that is striking and lovely around us seems sometimes almost a violation of the lives of those dispossessed of their homes and livelihoods by the Duke of Sutherland. His controversial statue, rising spike-like from the summit of…

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The people who helped shape Edinburgh Libraries: the tradesmen who built Central Library

“The contractors began operations on the 17 Nov [1887]…. excavating area of site and carting away stuff”.
So began the building of Central Library.

Tales of One City

When the doors of Edinburgh Central Library were formally opened on Monday 9 June 1890, it was the fulfilment of many years preparation.

Selected design for Edinburgh Public Library, elevation to George IV Bridge and plans for third and fourth floors, by George Washington Browne, 1887

In our collections, we have two volumes of handwritten ledgers kept by the then Clerk of Works, William Bruce, which record in detail the building works as they progressed.

Clerk of Works’ record books for Edinburgh Public Library

We know from the record books that preparation work had begun as early as 1879 when it was recorded that “Official tests of Pentland Cement” were being methodically undertaken. The pages are filled with neat notes with details such as the amount of cement used, how many days the cement had been set for, and the amount of shrinkage.

On the 18 November 1887, the…

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Event report – ELISA visit to Lloyds Banking Group Archives

On Thursday 8th November a small group of us ventured out to an unassuming building in Sighthill where we spent a surprising and interesting afternoon.

Words and pictures by Lesa Ng:

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this visit – maybe that it could have been a bit of a dry topic and looking at records management of modern records. Could not have been further from the reality. History of finance and of the bank really interesting – for instance learning the reason why Walter Scott is always printed on money.

I think people would be surprised they could apply to access to study the archives. Also hearing about the social history aspects – why and how the banks came about, who were the customers and who worked for them, and their advertising over the years. Of course was great we could handle the cloaks! Also sobering to hear that like everywhere library services and staff is always under threat, that they almost lost a staff member and that they were considering closing the Museum. The goody pack we got to take away was a bit different too. 🙂

The Ballad of Muriel Spark – Scottish Poetry Library event

Wrapped in this liquid turmoil who can say / Which is the mighty echo, which the spray? Muriel Spark’s poetry inspires a musical event at the SPL based on her poetry. Composer Jessica Danz has written a new piece for string quartet. Wed 14 Nov (£8/£6)

Tickets via Eventbrite

Historic Environment Scotland visit report – October 2018

Here’s another view of the excellent visit to HES last week (I am increasingly sorry I missed it!). Words by Morag Ferguson of the Advocates Library, pictures by Lesa Ng of Heriot-Watt University.

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On 8 October 2018 I visited John Sinclair House, at 16 Bernard Terrace Edinburgh for a tour of the Search Rooms and Library at Historic Environment Scotland (HES) organised by ELISA. Neil Fraser, the Public Services Manager kindly hosted our visit and welcomed us with tea, coffee and biscuits which is always a good start.

HES came into being in October 2015 following the amalgamation of Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments. As well as caring for historical buildings such as Edinburgh and Stirling Castle, HES also has responsibility for digital archives such as SCRANCANMORE and NCAP  (National Collection of Aerial Photography). I found this particularly interesting as BBC Scotland is currently showing ‘Scotland from the Sky’ which was produced and presented by one of the HES staff, James Crawford.

In its conservation role HES has responsibility for the Engine Shed in Stirling which is a central hub for building and conservation professionals with a visitor centre. I’m originally from Stirling so now plan to visit the Engine Shed on my next trip home. Neil took us on a tour of the Search Rooms and Library where Joe McAllister, the Access Officer had laid out some interesting drawings of Craigend house in Renfrewshire. The Search Rooms and Library are open to the Public Tuesday to Friday 9.30-4.30 where you can browse open access items such as books and photographs but it is best to give advance notice of your visit. They provide a range of copying facilities and permit self-copying (cameras or phones) of certain material. If you need to see original historic drawings and manuscripts, these can be ordered in advance.

Thereafter we were taken to the archives to view the collections stored where Architects firms can choose to deposit their drawings and materials. We also visited their conservation workshop where the archivist explained the delicate work required to repair older materials. Apparently there has been a shift back to using ancient Japanese techniques for conservation repairs as these have proved to be more durable and less harmful than some of the more modern methods.

Finally in the foyer we had a chance to view some of the newer publications produced by HES. I spotted a copy of “Bloody Scotland” a compilation of short stories by Crime writers at the Bloody Scotland Festival in Stirling. I thought it surprising that HES should be involved in the publication of this book but Neil explained that all the murders took place in Scottish built heritage, which explained the connection.  I thoroughly enjoyed this ELISA visit which enabled me to learn a great deal more about the work and responsibilities of Historic Environment Scotland so special thanks to Neil Fraser of HES and Jennifer Higgins from the National Library of Scotland for organising this.