Scranalogue

Culture Heritage Learning

Spring Fling at the Eric Liddell Centre Saturday May 6th

27th April 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

Scran will be exhibiting at the Spring Fling in Edinburgh’s Morningside on 6th May this year. Organised by the South Edinburgh Arts Fair, this annual event showcases local arts organisations and how they can support the local senior community. We’ll be offering advice on how to log on to Scran with a local library card, how to use Scran for research, family history and reminiscence work, and generally highlighting our fab local content along with relevant content from other HES databases such as Scotland’s Places and Canmore. We’ll be joining loads of other great organisations including Edinburgh City Singers, Edinburgh’s Got Soul, Living It Up Edinburgh and the Scottish Genealogy Society as well as dozens of others. Entry is FREE. See you there!

 

The Scottish Life Archive on Scran

25th April 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

The Scottish Life Archive, based at the National Museum of Scotland, offers a unique insight into many aspects of Scottish history and heritage. It aims to collect, record and preserve documentary and illustrative evidence of Scotland’s material culture & social history.

8,685 records from this fascinating collection are also available via scran.ac.uk – for example, here you see Adam Cramond & Son’s cab office at Charles Street, Edinburgh, 1912.

This cab office just off George Square was quite a large business at around that time. Broughams were often hired by doctors. They were small closed carriages drawn by one horse. Miss I. M Cramond, who was a child at the beginning of the 20th century and a member of Adam Cramond’s family, remembered that in 1904 doctors used them when they went on their rounds. At the beginning of the 20th century each firm of cab owners had a ‘stance’ where their cabs stood. Cramond’s was at Waterloo Place. The four-in-hand coaches also waited at Waterloo Place, and they would go as far afield as Roslin and the Forth Bridge.

The archive collection dates from the 1880s to the present day, but there is some material dating from 1700. You can discover old manuscripts, letters, trace your family history – the archive offers a unique insight into all aspects of Scottish life. If this interests you, archivist and curator Dorothy Kidd at the National Museum of Scotland is giving a talk all about the Scottish Life Archive and how it can be used for personal research. The event is part of Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and further details can be found here. Of course, if you are unable to make it along to the live talk, you can continue your browsing or research online with Scran.

Images © National Museum of Scotland Licensor Scran 

Vera Lynn, The Forces’ Sweetheart

20th March 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

Dame Vera Lynn shot to fame as a singer during the years of the Second World War. Her performances, overseas and on the Home Front, kept up morale. She became a firm favourite among British troops and this popularity earned her the title ‘the Forces’ Sweetheart’. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1975.

Early Years

Vera Lynn was born Vera Margaret Welch on 20th March 1917 in East Ham in London. She began performing in public at the age of seven taking on regular singing spots at working men’s clubs. She was also a dancer for a time, performing with a troupe until the age of 15. After leaving school at 14, Vera left a short-lived factory job to focus full-time on her singing career and adopted her grandmother’s unmarried name, Lynn, as her stage name. Vera Lynn made her first radio broadcast in 1935, singing with the Joe Loss Orchestra. She released her first solo record, ‘Up the Wooden Hill to Bedfordshire’, the following year. In 1937 she began playing with the Bert Ambrose dance band where she met and married Harry Lewis, another Ambrose singer. Harry later became her manager.

The War Years

When war broke out in 1939, Vera joined ENSA (the Entertainments National Service Association) and toured Egypt, India and Burma. She took part in outdoor concerts for British troops, along with other well-known entertainers of the day, including Max Miller, Gracie Fields and Tommy Trinder. Years later, she received the Burma Star for her tireless work entertaining forces in Japanese-occupied Burma. It was during the war years that Vera recorded her most popular songs, including ‘We’ll Meet Again’, written by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles, and ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ by Nat Burton and Walter Kent. From 1941, she also began to present her own radio show, ‘Sincerely Yours’. The programme featured songs and interviews with the wives of British servicemen. Vera also made appearances in three wartime films: ‘We’ll Meet Again’ (1942), ‘Rhythm Serenade’ (1943) and ‘One Exciting Night’ (1944).

  • ENSA or the Entertainments National Service Association was set up in 1939 by Basil Dean and Leslie Henson to provided entertainment for British armed forces personnel during the Second World War
  • The first overseas ENSA show was performed in November 1939 in France with Gracie Fields as the headline act
  • ENSA went on to provide a platform for many well-known stars of stage and screen, including George Formby, Will Fyffe, Joyce Grenfell and Evelyn Laye and performed to troops from Iceland to Rangoon
  • ENSA came to an end in July 1946 and was succeeded by Combined Services Entertainment (CSE). It continues to provide entertainment for British troops today as part of the Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC)

The Post-War Years

After the War, Vera returned to the variety circuit and continued her recording career. During the 1950s and 1960s she became a regular on both radio and television and achieved the accolade of becoming the first British artist to reach number one in the American charts with the song ‘Aufwiedersehen Sweetheart’. In the late 1960s and early 1970s she hosted her own BBC1 variety series and was a frequent guest on other variety shows, most notably the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show in 1972. She made four Royal Variety Performance appearances between 1960 and 1990. In 2009 she became the oldest living artist to chart at number one in the British album chart.

Still Singing After All These Years

Dame Vera Lynn retired in 1995. Her final public performance took place outside Buckingham Palace as part of a ceremony to mark the fiftieth anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe) Day. As well as receiving her damehood, she was awarded an OBE in 1969. She continues to be actively involved in charity work, supporting charities which campaign on behalf of cerebral palsy and breast cancer research, Burmese refugees and animal welfare issues.

On 97th birthday in 2014 she released a new album ‘Vera Lynn: National Treasure – The Ultimate Collection’, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. For her 100th birthday in March 2017, she will release another album to mark her centenary which will include some of her best known songs.

Images © The Scotsman Publications Ltd., Gordon Collection, per East Lothian Library Service, Glasgow University Library, Orkney Islands Council &  Aberdeen City Council Licensor Scran 

 

Scran contributes to BBC Scotland

20th March 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

Spacehoppers

Glasgow Gorbals 1970 – The Scotsman

Eagle-eyed viewers in Scotland who saw the recent three-part BBC series called “Growing Up in Scotland: A Century of Childhood” may have noticed Scran mentioned in the credits at the end of each episode. Combining still images, film footage and contemporary interviews, the three episodes were a nostalgic look at Scottish childhood, and we were delighted to be asked to supply many images for all three programmes, including one of our all-time favourites, the two Glasgow boys with Spacehoppers.

While the standard Scran licence doesn’t allow commercial reuse of images, we’re happy to grant commercial licences on an ad-hoc basis, and anyone can do this by clicking on the “Buy” button underneath an image. Scran regularly supplies images for commercial re-use to newspapers, magazines, book publishers and film and TV companies, and if you see a TV documentary about Scotland, take a close look at the credits at the end.BBC screenshot

There’s a good chance we’ll have supplied material for the programme. Viewers outside Scotland, and anyone who missed these fascinating documentaries, can catch up on the BBC’s iPlayer service http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b08gcxb6

Image © The Scotsman Publications Ltd Licensor Scran 

 

Learning about the Scottish National War Memorial

5th March 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

SNWM Crown Square

Just now we’re busy working with Forthview Primary School & our Historic Environment Scotland colleagues at Edinburgh Castle. Together we are exploring the topic of World War One  with Primary 7. During our investigations we’ll be looking closely at the Scottish National War Memorial.

 

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1927 SNWM Postcard

The Scottish National War Memorial was created to honour the dead of the Great War, and is found in Crown Square within Edinburgh Castle. In 1917 before the War had even ended, the idea for the memorial was suggested by John George Stewart Murray – the 8th Duke of Atholl.

His idea caused a lot discussion and debate, not everyone agreed with his vision. Some people were worried it would focus too much on the military, rather than all Scots involved in the War effort. Also, after the site at Edinburgh Castle had been chosen, others were concerned it would look out of place – because of these challenges, early plans for the memorial were changed.

 

Robert Lorimer

Between 1924-7, the building was designed by the architect Robert Lorimer. He suggested an existing building could be changed and altered to form a remembrance hall. Previously the building had been used as a barracks to house soldiers. The architect worked with over 200 Scottish artists to transform the barracks into the remembrance hall & create a shrine.

 

SNWM Fundraising 1920

The memorial was estimated to cost £250,000. Therefore a lot of money that had to be raised, events like Thistle Day took place and fundraising started – for example commemorative postage stamps were issued. The public donated large sums of money in support. In August 1922 the money needed was finally raised, so construction could begin.

 

SNWM Shrine reconstruction 1924

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Architectural Drawings

Inside the building, the long hall has short wings and a central entrance gives the plan the form of the letter E.

The central shrine holds a large casket, which contains the Rolls of Honour. These are lists of over 150,000 names of those who lost their lives.

Space didn’t allow the names of the dead to be carved in stone, so they were inscribed in books of remembrance. Today visitors can still view these books, listing the names of all Scottish casualties of World War One, World War Two & all conflicts since.

 

It took ten years of determined work, however the Scottish National War Memorial was officially opened by The Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VIII, on 14th July 1927.

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Images © St.Andrews University Library, Historic Environment Scotland, National Museums of Scotland, National Trust for Scotland, National Library of Scotland – Moving Image Archive Licensor Scran 

Possible discussion questions:

  • Why do you think the Duke of Atholl felt it was important for Scotland to have a National Memorial?
  • What impression do you get from the Memorial?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • Why is it important that we remember?

Stained Glass at the Scottish National War Memorial

5th March 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

Following on from the story of the creation of the Scottish National War Memorial in our previous post, Forthview Primary School P7s are going to be examining it’s interior when they visit.

The Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle houses a rich variety of artwork to honour & remember those who died in World War One.  When it was built, between 1923 & 1927, over 200 professional artists worked with the architect, Robert Lorimer, to create a suitable tribute.

Air Force window design 1924 by Douglas Strachan

The interior of the memorial expresses the tragic sense of loss felt by Scotland after WW1. Inside the building, there is a feeling of dignity, pride and a sense of peace. The artists and makers used different materials, including bronze, iron, wood, stone, paint as well as stained glassThe result is impressive.

The artworks are designed to pay respect to the individual Scots who died, both men and women in all their different roles. Animals are acknowledged too, in the much loved stone sculpture ‘Remember also those Humble Beasts‘ by Phyllis Bone.

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Certainly the most colourful element of the SNWM is the is the stained glass with light flooding in from outside. In the main Hall of Honour the windows provide a lot of information, if you look carefully. For example, there is imagery illustrating what life was like on the Home Front, such as the mobilising of troops at Waverley Station (pictured top).

At either end of the hall, there are windows dedicated to different military services; that is the army, the navy and the air force – land, sea & air. Other windows show the four seasons. Some of the windows have roundels illustrating the different jobs people did or technology used in the machinery of war.

The windows in the Shrine are different to those in the Hall of Honour. These seven windows tell a another story, they use Bible and Christian messages to describe the experience of the War. Therefore they look more familiar to many, perhaps like traditional church windows at first glance.

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The artist who made all of these stunning windows was Douglas Strachan (1875-1950). Strachan was born in Aberdeen and educated at Robert Gordon’s College. He took evening classes at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen. He worked as an apprentice lithographer, a muralist, a portrait painter and then found a passion for working with stained glass. In 1909 he moved to Edinburgh to set up the crafts department of Edinburgh College of Art. He lived in Midlothian where he died in 1950. He worked on many other memorial windows, including a designs for the Peace Palace in The Hague installed in 1929.

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* To see more of the SNWM stained glass windows on Scran click here

Images © Canmore Historic Environment Scotland Licensor Scran 

 

Chrystal Macmillan- suffragist, feminist, peace activist, barrister

27th February 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

Chrystal Macmillan, barristerScran has recently been a part of the Audacious Women’s Festival and, as a result of some fortuitous meetings, we were delighted to learn about Chrystal Macmillan. We were aware that there is a Chrystal Macmillan Building at Edinburgh University, but were blissfully ignorant of her achievements; there was certainly very little mention of her on Scran before this February. Luckily, we crossed paths with Helen Kay who thought we might be interested in some digitised archive materials that were in the care of the Macmillan family. To cut a long story short, we were very interested, and these materials are now on Scran. Many thanks to Helen for bringing these images to our attention, and to John Herdman and Iain Macmillan for kindly allowing us to share them with our users.

Chrystal Macmillan was a a suffragist, a feminist, a peace activist and barrister. She was educated at St Andrews and the University of Edinburgh, where she was the first woman to graduate from the science faculty in 1896 with a first class honours degree in mathematics and natural philosophy. She became active in feminist causes, joining the Edinburgh National Society for Women’s Suffrage and later becoming an executive committee member of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).

In 1908 presented her case to the House of Lords that female university graduates should be given the right to vote, later becoming secretary of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance. With the outbreak of World War I she turned her attention to peace activism, and following the Armistice she was an envoy from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) to the Paris Peace Conference, which was held in 1919. She went on to become a barrister in 1924.

You can read more of her story, see her family portraits and school life at scran.ac.uk/s/chrystal+macmillan.

Image © John HerdmanLicensor Scran 

 

Paolozzi in the news

21st February 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

Paolozzi artworkThe late Edinburgh-based artist pop artist Eduardo Paolozzi is very much in the news at the moment.  His famous murals at London’s Tottenham Court Road tube station have just been restored after being stowed away during renovation works (see video below), The Whitechapel Gallery is holding a retrospective of his work, while an Edinburgh brewery has recently started manufacturing a Paolozzi beer that pays homage to the artist.
Meanwhile, on a short stroll past Edinburgh University the other day, a staff member spotted  an original Paolozzi artwork in a window (above). You can see a similar work, along with other Paolozzi sketches and artworks here.

 

Image © Andrew James