The Library has recently acquired a book bound in vellum for King James VI, probably in the 1580s. This is one of a small group of books that are known to exist in bindings that were produced for James before the union of the crowns in 1603 and is a significant purchase. Of the nine […]
Do you like beer? Do you fully understand the process of brewing beer? There is no doubt that beer is a highly popular alcoholic drink but how many of those who enjoy it stop to think about how its four ingredients – hops, malted barley, water and yeast – miraculously combine.
We have recently bought a printed document linked to one of the boldest con men of all time, Gregor MacGregor (1786-1845). Other fraudsters may have made more money but MacGregor was breathtakingly audacious; he invented a country that didn’t exist, and then persuaded hundreds of investors to buy the bonds of a non-existent government and […]
One of the main aims of the National Library of Scotland is to collect a copy of every book published in the United Kingdom and in particular every book published in Scotland. Inevitably we miss a few items. Recently we were delighted to plug a small hole in our collections dating from the late 1940s […]
Sickness and health, birth and death, disease and cure: medicine and our understanding of the workings of our bodies and minds are an important part of how we know who we are. Great Discoveries in Medicine is a fascinating account of the evolution of medical knowledge and practice from ancient Egypt, India, and China […]
Night trains have long been a source of fascination. Authors from Agatha Christie to Graham Greene have used sleeper trains to tell tales of romance, intrigue and decadence against a rolling background of dramatic landscapes. The reality could be just as thrilling as the fiction: early British travellers on the Orient Express were advised to […]
As Spring has finally sprung in the northern hemisphere, now is the time to go outdoors and benefit from a “nature fix”. Most of us enjoy going for a walk in the park or further afield in the countryside at this time of year. It seems, however, that it is only recently that scientists have begun to […]