Scranalogue

Culture Heritage Learning

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

Miners’ Strike 1984-85

23rd May 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

2017 is the Scottish year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, and May is the month in which we highlight Scotland’s industrial heritage. For International Museums Day on May 18th this year, archives and museums including Scran were asked to contribute materials on the theme of “contested histories”. We had a think about an appropriate subject, and decided to draw on our extensive archives (and those of Canmore at www.canmore.org.uk) to tell the story of the 1984-85 miners’ strike in Scotland, a story that definitely has two sides, and remains controversial to this day.

Drawing on documentary photos, leaflets, flyers, posters, badges, interviews and video recordings from archives and museum collections including the National Museums of Scotland and the Scottish Mining Museum, the story takes the form of a long essay and is an attempt to look at the human side of the dispute as much as the industrial one. For technical reasons, the essay is hosted at www.canmore.org.uk/discovery/strike rather than on Scran.

 

Image: © Mr David Hamilton. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk

 

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 

 

Exhibition Now Open

13th July 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

All The Rage | Memories of Post War Fashion 1940s – 1960s

An exhibition of photographs from the Scran collections curated in partnership with The Open Door’s Good Neighbour Club opens today at The Open Door Cafe in Edinburgh’s Morningside.  Stunning images of fads and fashions from the 1940s to the 1960s are brought to life by club members’ own memories gathered through a series of reminiscence workshops.

fifties fashion

The Open Door supports older people and those with mental health issues.  It offers an inclusive space for social groups, creative arts and volunteering opportunities at its centre.

The exhibition runs from 13th July to 12th August at The Open Door Cafe, 420 Morningside High Street, Edinburgh, EH10 5HY.

 

Image © Scottish Borders Council by kind permission of Woolmark. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk.

From Demob Suits to Chelsea Boots

20th June 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

Post-War Fashions 1940s to 1960s: a community curated exhibition

Fifties Fashion © Scottish Borders Council by kind permission of Woolmark. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk.

Fabulous Fifties Fashion

One Tuesday in September last year Scran went along to The Open Door in Morningside, Edinburgh to deliver a slideshow to showcase our digital archives.  There is nothing unusual in this.  Scran delivers a wide and varied remit of outreach activities.  However, this session was the start of something quite exciting.

Good Neighbours

We had been invited to meet the Good Neighbours Club, a group of older people who meet regularly at The Open Door.  The Open Door initiative has been supporting older people in Edinburgh for over 30 years, offering day services and a range of activities, from art and poetry to gentle exercise.  The Club, a group made up largely of ladies aged 70 plus, meets every Tuesdays for a day of ‘friendship, fun and laughter’.

The slideshow of images of old Morningside, from the 19th century, through the early years of the 20thcentury, to more recent years provoked a lot of chat and debate.  Of particular interest, old photographs of Morningside Railway Station which was closed in the 1960s; the Open Door is based in a building adjacent to the old station platform.

Scran was able to draw on a wealth of material from a range of contributors, including The Scotsman Publications Ltd and the National Collection of Aerial Photography.  As well as the old station, we covered themes of schooldays, shopping and buses and trams.

Exhibition

Following our visit, Kirsteen Powell, Day Care Service Manager at the Open Door, got back in touch.  She wanted to do more work with us and so we met and an idea formed.  With such striking images causing such a lot of interest and reminiscence activity at the centre, why not put on an exhibition?

The Good Neighbours Club chose a theme with social history at its heart – fashions of the post-war era.  And selected images will be displayed in the centre’s coffee shop, a great space fronting onto Morningside High Street.

The exhibition project kicked off in May of this year, with Scran delivering two more reminiscence workshops: we’ve explored the utility fashions and clothes rationing of the forties, the bouffants, brylcreme and big skirts of the fifties and the miniskirts and the sharp suits of the sixties.  With the group’s permission, each workshop was recorded and a selection of their own personal anecdotes and memories in text form will be used to interpret the photographs selected for the final exhibition.

Reminiscence Tool

The project demonstrates the fantastic range of living memory material held within the digital archives of Scran and its potential as a tool for reminiscence work.

The exhibition opens in mid-July.

Images © Scottish Borders Council by kind permission of Woolmark | Licensor Scran

Women’s Voices from the Scottish Borders

16th November 2015 by Scran | 0 comments

Remembering domestic servants, shorthand typists, cinema pianists and suffragettes: new soundbites from the Ian Landles Oral History Archive

We’re releasing some more soundbites from the Ian Landles Oral History Archive this week. This time we’re showcasing the stories of women from the Scottish Borders.

You’ll hear from Mrs Oliver (b.1901) about her experiences as a pianist working in cinemas in Hawick – ‘The Piv’ and ‘The Wee Thee’ – providing the soundtrack for silent movies. Mrs Oliver also worked as a shorthand typist and she talks about this in a second soundbite. We learn how she perfected her shorthand by sitting in the back of church during services and noting down the sermons.

Other women talk about their memories of the suffrage movement in the years leading up to the First World War. Mrs Stewart (b.1881) remembers suffragettes coming to Hawick and Mrs Thomson tells us how the activists gained a reputation amongst the locals: ‘they come to burn hooses doon’.

A number of women in the Borders worked in service in the early 20th century at the many country houses and estates across the region. Catherine McLeish (b.1902) and Meg Wilson (b.1893) share their experiences.

Follow us on Twitter and watch our Twitterfeed from tomorrow to catch these soundbites.

The Ian Landles Archive is a series of interviews and sound recordings collected by local historian Ian Landles between the 1960s and 2010. The collection, originally started in order to preserve the memories of local men who had fought in World War One, also contains testimonies from local women and material on The Hawick Common Riding, poetry, music, the railways, farming life and mill life. The original full interviews are held on audio cassette tape by Scottish Borders Council Archive Services at the Heritage Hub in Hawick. To listen to all interviews from the Ian Landles Archive currently held on Scran click here.

Images © Aberdeen City Council, Hulton Getty, Dalmellington & District Conservation Trust | Licensor Scran

On Show at the Colony of Artists

14th September 2015 by Scran | 0 comments

Archive images from Scran were exhibited this weekend as part of the 10th annual Colony of Artists event at Abbeyhill in Edinburgh

Colony of Artists takes place every September when residents of Abbeyhill Colonies, a series of streets in the east of the city, open their doors to the public to show a varied collection of artworks that they have produced. More than 30 artists in 20 venues open their homes, to show painting, drawing, photography, mixed media and much more. In recent years this mix has grown to include music, storytelling, baking and street performance.

coloneyofartistsScran’s images were first used in last year’s event when Neil Gregory of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), joined forces with Abbeyhill resident Hilary Burwell to produce a pop-up exhibition about the history of buildings in the area. This showcased some of the area’s now defunct industries, churches and former school buildings. Many of the photographs in this exhibition came from the archives of RCAHMS and were taken as part of the organisation’s remit to survey and record Scotland’s built environment, particularly sites under threat from demolition or radical alteration. Scran was able to offer a social historical perspective to the show, as Neil Gregory pointed out: ‘The images on Scran, especially pictures from the Scotsman archive, were perfect for adding social context to the pictures of local buildings that we were showing, and it triggered so many memories for residents.’

abbeyhillThis year saw Hilary scale-up the exhibition, moving venue from her own home in the Colonies to the nearby Artisan Bar. Moving images, oral histories and portraits of local residents also formed part of the show and residents were encouraged to contribute their own archive material to the event.

A favourite Scran image on show featured a lorry crashing into the Artisan pub building on London Road. ‘This really got the stories going,’ commented Neil Gregory, ‘A lot of people remembered this event from 1969 and the near catastrophe that could have happened if the driver hadn’t had his wits about him as his vehicle careered down Montrose Terrace!’

Images © N Gregory, The Scotsman Publications Ltd. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk

Morningside Memories at The Open Door

4th September 2015 by Scran | 0 comments

Scran shares its images with the Good Neighbour Club at The Open Door in Edinburgh

The Open Door, is a vibrant social centre in the capital’s Morningside. It runs a successful cafe and offers day services and art and creative writing groups for older people, people with mental health issues and other vulnerable people. The Good Neighbours Club meets here every Tuesday.

Morningside Road Station

Scran was invited to join the group to present a slideshow showcasing local content from the Scran website. Eighteenth-century maps and early photographs from our RCAHMS collections took us back to a time when Morningside was simply described as ‘a row of thatched cottages, a line of trees and a blacksmith’s forge’. Photographs from our Scotsman collections led us through 20th-century Morningside where we encountered steam trains and trams and the sad demise of Morningside Road Station. Shops on Morningside Road, schools, cinemas and public houses all featured. The session stirred some interesting chat about school days, wartime evacuation and local dance halls.

It was exciting to discover that The Open Door’s premises are situated adjacent to the former site of the railway station and exiting the building via a side door brought us bang up to date as we were privy to views of the deserted old station platform and the former ticket office, now the home of a chartered accountants and a newsagents.

Scran is a rich source of material for reminiscence practice. Our 20th century social history collections include The Scotsman Publications Ltd, Hulton Getty and the Scottish Life Archive. There’s also audio and video material available. Reminiscence Kits on Scran offer curated collections of images on themes such as Tenement Life, Stars of the Movies and Man on the Moon.

For more images of Morningside through history have a look at our Pathfinder: Looking Back at Morningside, Edinburgh.

Image © The Scotsman Publications Ltd, Station Master and Head Driver tend flower beds at Morningside Road Station, Edinburgh. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk