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

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ELISA visit to Lloyds Bank’s Archives – Thursday 8th November

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 

bank note

World War One resources from Edinburgh Libraries

Tales of One City

A few years ago, like so many other heritage, cultural and community organisations, we started to look at how we could mark the centenary anniversary of World War One, recognising that this momentous time would provide opportunity for research and reflection.

We delved into our collections to see what material had significance and wide appeal. After we had started making material available online, we were also contacted by individuals who had unique items and memories they wanted to share.

Here are a few of the highlights from our WW1 collections that you can browse online:

Edinburgh in World War One – 1914-1918 on Our Town Stories
This story describes the impact of World War One on the people at home. Read out about the zeppelin raid, the Gretna Rail Disaster, the city’s football heroes, recuperating war poets and pioneering female doctor, Elsie Inglis.

Ethel Moir’s diaries on Capital Collections
“We…

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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.

‘Strike for Freedom’

frederick-douglass-photo-200In 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.

Historic Environment Scotland visit Oct. 2018

pic1On 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.

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Leith Miscellany goes online – part 1

Ooh, this is interesting! My people were Leithers so I’ll be investigating this for sure. Thanks @TalesOfOneCity

Tales of One City

We’ve recently undertaken a large project to digitise and make available online thirteen albums relating to Leith. We’ve named them the Leith Miscellany volumes I – XIII as the contents cover basically everything and anything to do with Leith. They provide an extraordinary and unique insight into the social history of the area.

Originally collected in shop-bought photograph albums, the sticky album pages and damp had caused minor damage to some of the contents, so as well as digitising the photographs, postcards, presscuttings and ephemera, we have remounted the items on archival cardboard and rehoused them in conservation boxes.

The Fish Quay, – looking up-river, c1830

This is the first in a series of three blog posts highlighting the material and covers volumes I – IV. Inside, you get a real feel of what it was like in the 19th and early 20th centuries, with photographs of cargo boats and…

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