To mark Book Week Scotland 2018 and the 550th anniversary of the death of Johannes Gutenberg, one of the National Library’s most treasured items, the Gutenberg Bible is being shown publicly, for one day only, on the Thursday 22 November
10.00-18.00 in the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh. No need to book. Read more
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. 🙂
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
Tomorrow, Thursday November 8th, at 2:00pm there is a visit to Lloyds Bank’s archives at Sighthill in Edinburgh. The Archivist at Lloyds’ will conduct a tour of the Bank’s archive stores.
The visit offers an opportunity to learn more about records management and enquiry handling within a private-sector organisation and compare this with the practice of, say, the National Records of Scotland, recently visited by ELISA.
This visit is open to all and will have a broad appeal to colleagues working in conservation and with local and family history records.
There are some tickets still available via Eventbrite
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.
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 SCRAN, CANMORE 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.
In the 19th-century, Edinburgh was a city of freedom for Black social justice campaigners born into slavery in the USA. Frederick Douglass and other Black abolitionists came to the city to collaborate, speak publicly and to inspire thousands to join the anti-slavery campaign.
You can explore maps pinpointing Frederick Douglass and other Black abolitionists in Edinburgh and Scotland using this interactive map resource. You can also view a ‘Strike for Freedom’ display guide and a ‘Black Freedom Trail Map’ of Edinburgh at Edinburgh University’s ‘Our Bondage & Our Freedom’ website.
Visit the National Library of Scotland’s ‘Strike for Freedom’ Treasurer’s display from the 4th Oct 2018-16 Feb 2019 and view manuscripts and photographs that chart the campaign against slavery in the midst of the American Civil War.
On a blustery, October Monday I had the opportunity to attend another ELISA-organised event, this time situated in the building of Historic Environment Scotland, discreetly tucked away in the middle of Bernard Terrace. I had first been introduced to HES at the LocScot event in March this year, which took place at the National Library of Scotland. We saw different representatives of historical information services hoping to create a search-friendly resource after pooling together their data so it would conveniently reach out to (all types of) end users. It was then that HES had piqued my interest so I was excited to know more about their historical archive holdings.