Scranalogue

Culture Heritage Learning

WW1 South African Native Labour Corps

7th November 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

Original caption reads ‘At the window of one of their huts’

Amongst the many thousands of photographs from the National Library of Scotland to be found on Scran, there is a collection called Images of War. These were taken by official War Office photographers during World War One and form part of the Haig Papers. This astounding and often arresting war photography contains a small set of 21 images, which tells the story of the South African Native Labour Corps, referred to as the SANLC.

Some 20,000 South Africans worked in the SANLC and took part in World War One, however due to South Africa’s segregationist policy, black South Africans were restricted to non-combatant roles. The SANLC were discriminated against because of the racist attitudes of the period which meant that black South Africans were not enlisted as combat troops, but only in the Labour Corps. They laboured in the docks, in salvage, supply, burial and other non-military jobs. They were used as cheap manual labour but were denied the right to serve in the army or to be given any recognition of the role they played. In part this was due to the South African government’s fear of the native claims for land.

Labourers display shell damaged radiator to the camera

When the SANLC were recruited, the units tended to be organised on the basis of their homeland tribe or region. In part this was to avoid problems from traditional tribal feuds, but it also reflects the fear of the South African government that the different native groups would combine against the existing white rule.

Although the SANLC were not meant to be deployed in combat zones, there were inevitable deaths when the docks or transport lines on which they worked were bombed. The greatest tragedy was the sinking of the troopship SS Mendi on 21 February 1917, when 617 members of the SANLC were drowned in the English Channel. The SANLC had operated in the fight against the Germans in South West Africa since September 1916, but the Labour Corps for the Western Front was established and camps set up in 1917.

Original caption reads ‘Smiling and Warm’

The various Labour Corps included many non-European groups such as the South Africans (SANLC), Egyptians, Chinese, Cape Coloured and Indian Corps. They were not only restricted from contact with white Europeans but were also segregated into different racially-determined Corps. Unlike some of the other labour contingents, the SANLC were not awarded any medals after the war.

World War One saw the development of a system of ‘official’ reporting by professionals especially recruited into the forces. Several of the SANLC series of photographs have been attributed to photographers John Warwick Brooke and Ernest Brooks.

SANLC dancers performing a traditional war dance

Initially reluctant to allow cameras near the fighting, it took some time for authorities to appreciate the propaganda and recording potential of photography. The cheerful appearance of the SANLC men is possibly deliberate propaganda on the part of the photographer, to counterbalance the reports of strikes and unrest among the various nationalities of Labour Corps, when they felt their conditions were unreasonable, or their original contracts had been broken. These photographs provide us with an invaluable record of how the Government and Military wanted the war perceived. 

Images © National Library of Scotland Licensor Scran

 

 

New Barns-Graham Archive Opens

3rd November 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

Scran was lucky enough to be invited to the opening of the new Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust headquarters in Edinburgh on Wednesday night, and we were blown away by the sheer scale of the archive there. The artist, known as “Willie” to her friends and colleagues, was based for many years at Balmungo House near St. Andrews in Fife, until her death in 2004. Balmungo House was the Trust’s headquarters throughout the 2010s, but was recently sold, with the proceeds being used to fund the Trust’s charitable works. As well as curating the artist’s legacy, the Trust provides scholarships and bursaries to students, and funds a number of artist-in-residence programs.

The move from Fife to Edinburgh should result in an increased awareness of Willie’s works and influence, and the new building, an old ambulance station just off Leith Walk, provides an ideal showcase for her legacy. A temperature-controlled storage facility ensures that valuable artworks can be stored under optimum conditions, while her library of books and collection of Cornish pottery is on display in another part of the building. Scholars, students, researchers and others are encouraged to make an appointment to visit.

 

Scran has had an association with the Trust for a number of years; they kindly licensed a selection of Willie’s digitised works to our database in 2012, and you can find them here. The Trust is at 77 Brunswick Street, Edinburgh EH7 5HS, and can be contacted by email at info@barns-grahamtrust.org.uk or by telephone: 0131 209 7870.

 

http://barns-grahamtrust.org.uk/

 

Happy Finnish

13th October 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

One of the many strengths of Scran, we feel, is the diversity of our collections, the happy by-product of having such a diverse range of contributors. A picture of an 18th century cottage? It’s on Scran. David Bowie at Murrayfield? Yep, it’s on Scran. A Degas painting? Yes, we’ve got that too. In fact, we cover most subjects under the sun. Which is why, when I got a chance to go to Finland and take images of and learn about forests, I jumped at the chance.

This development opportunity was created by ARCH, a Scottish body promoting cultural and heritage links between this country and the rest of Europe. My Scottish colleagues on the trip were from cultural and environmental organisations including Scotland’s Natural Heritage, Loch Lomond & The Trossach’s National Park and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. In the space of 6 days, I learned a lot about how forests are developed and managed for the benefit of wildlife, visitors, land owners and the Finnish economy; we also met with staff from Finland’s National Parks, from its hunting agency, staff from two forestry colleges and more. Through talking to my colleagues on the trip, I was able to compare and contrast forestry in Scotland with forestry in Finland; one noticeable difference between the two countries even to my untrained eye is just the sheer amount of forestry in Finland- you’re surrounded by trees, mostly pine, spruce and birch, even in cities- we visited an urban forest just outside Tampere and the forest was, literally, just outside the gardens in the suburban homes.

So what, you may be asking, does this have to do with Scran? Well, we already have some forestry-related information on Scran; the Forestry Commission Scotland is one of our contributors. We also have agricultural and botanical subscribers, and many of our subscribing colleges offer vocational courses in agriculture and arboreal subjects. The photos I took in Finland will be uploaded to Scran in the coming weeks, and I’m sure that these will be useful to many of our subscribers.

 

Heritage Arts Award in Stirling

26th September 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

Stirling Townscape, Valentines postcard 1878 – University of St Andrews Library

Guest blog by Sarah Longfield, all about our new project.

Our partnership project led by See Think Make CIC & Scran part of Historic Environment Scotland, will take place during Year of Young People, 2018.

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Arts Award is a series of qualifications for children and young people accredited by Trinity College London. Heritage is very much seen as part of the arts world and young people can focus on any traditional craft or more broadly heritage based creative roles, such as curating as part of their Arts Award Portfolio.

To date, there have not been many heritage organisations in Scotland taking up Arts Award. However, at the Museum Association Conference at the SEC last Autumn, we were blown away by the amount of interest in the awards and by the open friendliness of all the creative learning professionals we encountered.

So, we decided the best way to promote Arts Award’s potential in the heritage sector was to put our money where our mouth is and go out there and deliver a fabulous project. We found Jackie at Scran who was enthusiastic about working in collaboration and also hooked up with Fiona from Scotland’s Urban Past. From there we talked with lots of partners in Stirling, including The Stirling Smith Museum & Art GalleryThe Engine Shed, St.Modan’s High SchoolStirling Castle, Forth Valley College, Culture Stirling and the project started to take shape.

At the beginning of this month, we heard we had got a grant from Heritage Lottery’s Young Roots fund so we’re now getting ready to launch!

So what is the project?

Map of Stirling 1820

To start with, a group of around fifteen 15-25 year olds will come together to use the heritage of Stirling as inspiration and resource for a Silver Arts Award.

Silver Arts Award encourages young people to develop their artistic practice (any art form), delve further into the world of the arts in the locality and to work together on a leadership project.

The group will have the opportunity to work with a range of artists and heritage experts including the outreach team at Scotland’s Urban Past and take part in a traditional arts workshop at the Engine Shed.

Then, next April, the group’s leadership project will be to devise a creative virtual and/or physical heritage trail for other young people. This trail will involve arts activity, discovering artists and some way for those taking part to share what they have created/discovered. All young people who have completed the trail will receive a Discover Arts Award.

The young people will chart their progress in a digital Arts Award portfolio, culminating in achieving the Silver (equivalent to level 5 on the SCQF). More details on the awards can be found at www.artsaward.co.uk or for Scottish specific case studies: www.seethinkmake.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Images © National Library of Scotland & University of St Andrews Library Collections Licensor Scran

HES & Scottish Learning Festival

4th September 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

Forthview of the Great War – Animation Project

It’s that time of year again & we’re limbering up for the Scottish Learning Festival at the SEC in Glasgow.  This Year of History Heritage & Archaeology, Scran will be exhibiting on Stand D60 with the our Historic Environment Scotland Archives for Learning 

As well as being able to quiz the Scran team about educational content & learning and teaching applications in the classroom – you can also discover millions of Scottish culture and heritage resources. Access high quality material not only from Scran but Canmore, The National Collection of Aerial Photography, Britain from Above and ScotlandsPlaces too! If you’re not familiar with these services read on…

School outcomes after looking at stained glass in the Scottish National War Memorial

  • The Britain from Above website features images from the Aerofilms collection, a unique aerial photographic archive of international importance and provides access to 95,000 of the oldest and most valuable photographs in the Aerofilms collection, those dating from 1919 to 1953.
  • Canmore contains more than 320,000 records and 1.3 million catalogue entries for archaeological sites, buildings, industry and maritime heritage across Scotland. Canmore contains information and collections from all its survey and recording work, as well as from a wide range of other organisations, communities and individuals who are helping to enhance this national resource.
  • The National Collection of Aerial Photography / NCAP is one of the largest collections of aerial imagery in the world, containing tens of millions of images featuring historic events and places around the globe.
  • Scotlands Places is  a joint service between HES, The National Records of Scotland and The National Library of Scotland. Users can search on a place name or a coordinate to search across these collections or they can use the mapping in the website to both define and refine their search.

& not forgetting Scran – we are an online learning service of the charity Historic Environment Scotland. We hold over 490,000 images and media from over 300 museums, galleries, and archives. Scran aims to advance public education by enabling access to Scotland’s culture, heritage and related material.  Contributors include National Museums Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland, The Scotsman, University of Edinburgh, The Hunterian and many more. Scran is a subscription service and is free at the point of use in most schools, colleges, universities and public libraries in Scotland.


Finally, we love to meet our users in person, answers questions & show you new things about our services – so if you are at the SECC, do stop by D60 for a chat.

New Royal Regiment of Scotland images now available

16th August 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

Water Bottle from Camp Bastion

One of Scran’s founding aims when it was inaugurated over 20 years ago was to give greater visibility to museums, archives and galleries across Scotland, and to level the playing field between the large National institutions and the smaller ones. One of the best things about Scran, for some of these small museums and galleries, is simply having a digital presence, a place to display their amazing collections when they don’t have the funding or the agreement to create a website of their own. We now have over 300 contributing institutions, all of which have equal billing within Scran searches, and we’ve made available tens of thousands of records from the museums that wouldn’t otherwise be viewable on the World Wide Web.

Another relatively small institution, The Museum of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, based at Edinburgh Castle, approached us at the end of 2016 to enquire about putting some of their digitised museum artefacts on Scran, and we were very excited to have the chance to host these.

Bullet-damaged jacket camouflage shirt

The Royal Regiment of Scotland was formed in 2006, when The Royal Scots, The King’s Own Scottish Borderers, The Royal Highland Fusiliers, The Black Watch, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, The Highlanders, 52nd Lowland and 51st Highland Regiments were amalgamated.

The Regimental museum displays a number of objects relating to the Regiment’s activities since its formation in 2006, including artefacts from its operations in Afghanistan as well as clothing and equipment. The records that the Museum has licensed to Scran thus far include a Taliban flag, body armour from desert operations, and children’s toys handed out to Afghani youngsters; they’ll be of immense value to schools and colleges as part of the Modern Studies and Modern History curricula. You can see the first 51 records in the Museum’s collection here. This initial batch of images from the Museum should be joined by others later in the year.

Child's Abacus with Arabic numerals

Images © The Museum of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland  Licensor Scran

 

New 3-D images on Scran

2nd August 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

Last year, Scran was delighted to be contacted by Annabel Murray, who had an exciting find to share with us. She brought in a box of glass slides, along with an antique slide viewer. The slides were images of her stepfather as a young boy, along with members of his family, servants and other friends. Although the family had its roots in Scotland, the images were taken in Malawi in the 1930s. The most exciting part for us, though, was that the images were stereoscopic- in other words, the slides contained two images side-by-side, taken with a special camera with two lenses. The two lenses are set slightly apart and mimic what the human eyes see, so that each picture is slightly different, offset by a few centimetres. The resulting images can then be viewed in a stereoscopic viewer, a little bit like a pair of opera glasses, and the image appears to be 3-dimensional. The same principle was used in children’s View Master toys. It’s easier to see than to explain, so here’s a picture:

Viewer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The images themselves are terrific, and while they are certainly of historical and archival interest, we felt it was important to preserve their stereoscopic nature. They have a lot of scientific value- biology students and tutors will find these fascinating, as they are directly informed by the science of optics and the inner workings of the eye. We’ve digitised the images, with much help from the Historic Environment Scotland photography team, and made them available to download here. 

 

 

 

We’ve also digitised 12 images that seemingly came free with the viewer, a bit like the free reels that you get with a modern-day View Master. In this case, they’re images of the walled French medieval city, Carcassonne. Again, they’re really amazing curios. They can be seen at www.scran.ac.uk/s/carcassonne.

 

 

 

 

 

The best way to view them is on a mobile phone inserted into a special VR viewer like Google Cardboard (£5) or a Stealth VR (£15). Instructions are here: Using_stereoscopic_images_with_Virtual_Reality_headsets

VR Goggles

If you can get hold of a set of viewing goggles, you should. These images are really amazing, but for the full experience should be viewed in 3-D. Scran will be on the Historic Environment Scotland stand at the Scottish Learning Festival on 20th and 21st September (entry is free) and we’ll bring along a set of VR goggles so you can take a look!

 

 

Images © Annabel Murray, Historic Environment Scotland  Licensor Scran

Scran is Recruiting

7th July 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

We’re looking for a new member to join our Education & Outreach team, based in Edinburgh. If you’re as enthused about digitisation, culture and history as we are, drop us a line! More info and the application form are at http://bit.ly/ScranJob, and the closing date is July 21st 2017 at noon.

Grand Slam!

3rd July 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

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“Rally” by Sir John Lavery 1885

The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships – known simply as Wimbledon – is the oldest tennis tournament in the world. It takes place for a fortnight in late June and early July, and has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, south-west London since 1877.

Wimbledon is one of four Grand Slam tennis tournaments held around the world, the others being the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open. Wimbledon is the only one still to be played on grass. The tournament culminates in the Singles Finals: the Ladies’, held on the second Saturday of the fortnight, and the Gentlemen’s, on the second Sunday.

Sphairistike?

Edinburgh University Lawn Tennis Club 1898

The game of lawn tennis was devised by one Major Walter Clopton Wingfield in 1876. Originally called ‘sphairistike’ it was introduced as a new game to the All England Croquet Club, located in Worple Road, Wimbledon. The new game took off and the Club was renamed The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club a year later. A new code of laws was drawn up and the Club held its inaugural Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships in July 1877. Two hundred spectators paid one shilling to watch old Harrovian, Spencer Gore, win the only event of the tournament, the Gentlemen’s Singles Final. In 1884, Ladies’ Singles and Gentlemen’s Doubles were introduced; and in 1913, Ladies’ Doubles and Mixed Doubles were added.

 

 

Women tennis players, Falkirk c.1900

In 1922 the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club moved to its current Wimbledon location in Church Road. The lawns on which the games take place were originally laid out so that the principal one was positioned in the middle and hence became known as Centre Court. Finals matches continue to take place on Centre Court. Once open to the elements, in 2009 a retractable roof was fitted and crowd-pulling matches are now no longer at the mercy of the British weather. Over the years, the Club has grown in size and a long-term plan to develop the site further was unveiled in 1993. This has seen the creation of new lawn tennis courts, improved facilities for players, spectators and the media – Wimbledon was first televised in 1937. There is also now a museum within the complex and even a bank.

Strawberries & Cream

Tennis Dress 1926

Wimbledon has spawned many traditions. Its associations with strawberries and cream, as refreshment for spectators, and lemon barley water, as refreshment for the players, are well known, as is its patronage by members of the Royal Family. A strict dress code is maintained for competitors, who are required to wear predominantly all-white clothing. The odd flash of non-fluorescent colour is acceptable as long as it is not identifiable as being the logo of a commerical sponsor. The umpire, linesmen, ball-boys and ball-girls originally wore green, but since 2006 have sported navy blue and cream uniforms. Some etiquette observed at Wimbledon can seem outdated. Scoreboards still feature the titles of Miss and Mrs for female players. It was only as recent as 2009 that married female players were no longer referred to by their husband’s name – Chris Evert-Lloyd, during her marriage to John Lloyd, appeared at Wimbledon as Mrs J M Lloyd.

Wimbledon Trivia

  • During the Second World War, 5 bombs hit Centre Court – it took 9 years for the court to be fully restored
  • Yellow tennis balls were introduced in 1986 – the white balls used up till then were difficult for the umpires to see
  • The last time anyone used a wooden racket at Wimbledon was in 1987
  • Each year at Wimbledon 28,000 kg of strawberries & 7,000 litres of cream are eaten

 

Images © By courtesy of Felix Rosentiel’s Widow & Son Ltd, London on behalf of the Estate of Sir John Lavery, National Museums Scotland, Falkirk Museums, Victoria & Albert Museum  Licensor Scran