Tam Dalyell: the shipping news

When Tam Dalyell, the distinguished politician, died in January, I fell to reminiscing about his long public service. As is often the case, appreciation of a person’s qualities is heightened by their sudden departure; too late for delivering a message personally, we are inspired to write about them instead. I could focus on his detestation […]

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Surviving Emotions

One of the best things about working with archives is finding records that give a real sense of the personality of the writer.  There are many examples of this throughout the John Murray Archive, an archive that spans over two hundred years.  The letters written to the successive heads of the publishing house regularly take a personal […]

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Charity Bazaars in Scotland

The word ‘bazaar’ was first used to describe a sale of work in 1813 in London and spread throughout the developed world in the 19th century. By the 1870s they were huge extravaganzas lasting several days, with entertainments, such as puppet shows, theatrical performances and displays of novelties such as electric light,

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‘After all, it is a book’

The Cheviot set is a story on many levels. This remarkable stage set was made in 1973 as touring ‘scenery’ for ‘The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil’, the first production of 7:84 (Scotland) Theatre Company. The play – a game-changing modern classic of Scottish theatre – was written by John McGrath in […]

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Magazines at the National Library of Scotland

As you would expect the National Library of Scotland has academic journals on all disciplines and also Scottish magazines and serial publications ranging from influential 19th century literary journals such as “Blackwood’s Edinburgh magazine” to modern titles such as D C Thomson’s recently launched “Danger mouse” comic and the new Scottish football journal “Nutmeg”. What […]

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Scottish Catholic records

If you are interested in researching your Catholic ancestors in Scotland then Andrew R. Nicoll’s book “Scottish Catholic Family History: a family historian’s guide to Catholic parish registers and cemetery records for Scotland and the Bishopric of the Forces” (2011) provides a good starting point. It provides details of what records are available, where they […]

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