Scottish Poorhouses

The Poor Law (Scotland) Act 1845 set up parochial boards in towns and rural areas and a Board of Supervision in Edinburgh. One of their purposes was to build poorhouses for those paupers who were not eligible for ‘outdoor relief’, which consisted of small sums of money given out weekly. The Board of Supervision published […]

Read More

Out in Scotland! LGBT display

(Sandstone Press) February is  LGBT History Month and we are celebrating the LGBT Scottish writing perspective with a small display just outside the Reading Rooms in our George IV Bridge building in Edinburgh. LGBT writing is especially vibrant in Scotland at the moment with many top sellers and prize winners. Recent National Library guest Val […]

Read More

Scottish glass industry

William Cooper, crown-glass cutter, glazier, and stained glass maker to King William IV had a glass warehouse at 18 Picardy Place, Edinburgh in the early nineteenth century. He also wrote ‘The crown glass cutter and glazier’s manual’ in 1835, describing the history of glassmaking, the processes of glass manufacture and the different methods of using […]

Read More

Sunset Song on screen

Film adaptations of Scottish literature have been very much in my mind recently. In November we celebrated Stevenson on screen for RLS Day, and last week I was in Inverness talking about the Hitchcock film version of John Buchan’s The thirty-nine steps –  now many of us are catching up with the long-awaited film of  Sunset song

Read More

The First Edinburgh Musical Festival of 1815

Two hundred years ago today, at ten o’clock in the morning, musicians from London, Carlisle, Glasgow and Edinburgh gathered together for a first rehearsal to present a musical extravaganza never before heard in Scotland, a musical festival! Edinburgh enjoyed its first ‘Festival Week’. “From England, and the remotest parts of Scotland, individuals and whole families […]

Read More

Scottish legal professions

The legal profession in Scotland has a long and distinguished history, with individuals employed as advocates, procurators, writers and notaries. The library has a wide range of publications that provide biographical and professional details of many of those who were employed in these professions. The Faculty of Advocates, created in 1532 and based in Edinburgh, is […]

Read More

Quintinshill Rail Disaster

On 22 May 1915 one of the worst railway accidents in Scotland happened at Quintinshill near Gretna Green in Dumfriesshire. Five trains were involved: a troop train carrying soldiers from the Leith Battalion of the Royal Scots, a local passenger train, a Glasgow express and two goods vehicles. Over 200 people were killed, with a […]

Read More