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Culture Heritage Learning

ScotJam on Scran

19th May 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

Sugar bowl c. 1800-1830

Sugar bowl c. 1800-1830

The Scran Education Officers have been spending a lot of time in Scottish schools of late. This is nothing new, you might think- Scran has always spent a lot of time in Scottish schools, usually training teachers at twilight CPD sessions in how to use our website, so that this knowledge can be cascaded down the school.

Recently, though, we’ve  been doing more and more interaction within school hours, directly with learners in the classroom, getting them hands-on with Scran and engaging with our archives as part of the Curriculum for Excellence. Last week our travels took us to Falkirk, where we met up with students from three different classes at two schools, Antonine Primary and Denny Primary. Both schools are currently studying ScotJam- we were none the wiser until the teachers told us the abbreviation stands for Scotland/Jamaica- and exploring the many links between their home country and the Caribbean island.

We spent a fascinating morning and afternoon with the children as they pored over the Jamaica-related materials on Scran. We found images of the Jamaican flag, and noted its similarity to the Scottish Saltire. This is apparently not a coincidence. The flag was designed in part by Rev William R.F. McGhie, a Scottish Presbyterian minister located in Jamaica at the time of its independence from the UK. We stumbled upon numerous Scran images of Jamaica Street in Glasgow, and noted the presence of similarly-named streets in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Conversely, we discovered that there is an Edinburgh Castle in Jamaica.

Much of the students’ research centred on slavery, one aspect of the ScotJam topic that seemed to particularly resonate with the classes, and which touched on Curriculum areas such as history and citizenship. There are many Scottish connections with the slave trade, and we explore some of these on Scran, as well as looking at the lives of people who were connected with, or opposed to, slavery such as David Livingstone, Josiah Wedgwood and George Moncrieff.

Many thanks to Mr. Farrington and Ms. King at the two schools for arranging the Scran visit, and we look forward to working with you as you continue to explore Scotland’s links with Jamaica.

Image: © The Trustees of the British Museum. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk

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 

 

Robert Burns

10th January 2017 by Scran | 0 comments


01850104Robert Burns is not only Scotland’s best known poet and songwriter but one of the most widely acclaimed literary figures of all time. He is held in very special affection by millions around the world, with Burns’ suppers taking place on or near his birthday on the 25th January.

Stature

02050042Burns’ stature owes much to the huge range of his songs and poems, some of which are still familiar nearly two hundred and fifty years after his birth. In fact, there would be few English speaking people who do not recognise “Auld Lang Syne” – a staple at New Year celebrations.

His popularity is also linked to his association with a brand of socialism radical for his time and timeless in its understanding of the plight of the common man. Burns would have naturally understood these issues having experienced hardships not untypical for the ordinary man of the eighteenth century.

Birth & Youth

He was born in 1759 in the village of Alloway, in Ayrshire and was the son of a small farmer, Jacobite in sympathies, who had moved from near Stonehaven in Kincardineshire. In Scots rural tradition – which Burns himself recognised in “The Man’s the Gowd for A’ that” – and probably because of his father’s support of education, Burns had a fairly extensive education. He attended several schools and was given lessons from his tutor, John Murdoch, who introduced him to Scots and other literature in the English language. The family was never wealthy, living on and scraping a bare living from poor farming land. When Burns’ father died in 1784, he and his younger brother, Gilbert, tried and failed to make a success of farming at Mossgiel, near Mauchline. Also at this time, Burns began what was to be a stormy relationship with Jean Armour whom he left and betrayed many times.

His intensity, bred of hardships, seems to have caused Burns to produce some of his finest literary achievements. With a formal educational background, supplemented by a desire to read great literature and an admiration for the work of Allan Ramsay the elder, and steeped in Scots traditional ballads and legends, Robert Burns began to create his earliest and some of his best loved poems.

Poetry & Fame

In 1785 and 1786 alone, Burns wrote, amongst other works, ‘The Address to a Mouse‘, ‘Holy Willie’s Prayer‘, ‘The Cotter’s Saturday Night‘ and ‘The Twa Dogs‘ and published his later famous Kilmarnock Edition with the intention of emigrating to Jamaica to seek a better existence. However, the popular response to his book of poems attracted him to Edinburgh to receive the adulation of the polite society of the capital, who became fascinated by the ‘ploughman poet’ and dubbed him “Caledonia’s Bard”. 3,000 copies of his Edinburgh Edition of poems were selling well at this time.

In 1787, he first visited Dumfries and was immediately made an honorary burgess. In 1788, unsure of making a living from the pen, he signed a lease on Ellisland Farm on the banks of the Nith and sought employment as an Exciseman. This was a latter day VAT man and Burns used his income to supplement his farm. His health was variable but during that time, he edited – with James Johnson – the second edition of the ‘Scots Musical Museum’. It was published in 1788 and contained 40 of his own songs. The third volume, which appeared in the following year, had 50 more.

01980173Burns asked Captain Francis Grose who was compiling a book on the antiquities of Scotland to include an illustration of Alloway Kirk. Grose agreed provided the poet would contribute a ‘witch story’ to accompany the drawing. The result was ‘Tam O’Shanter’. The poem was written in a single day on the banks of the Nith and is arguably one of his best works.

After two years, Burns gave up the farm and moved to Dumfries as a full-time Exciseman. During this time, Burns had at least one major affair and sired a daughter whom his own wife agreed to raise. Burns led an erratic lifestyle, being alternately drawn to and repelled by the bourgeois lifestyle. He wrote poems in English instead of his vernacular Scots, and flirted with ‘Clarinda’, Agnes McLehose.

00570461In May 1793 the family moved to a better quality house in Mill Street (now Burns Street). Their standard of living was good and they employed a maid servant. He was now writing songs for a new book ‘A Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs’ produced by George Thomson. At the same time, some of his most lasting songs like ‘My Luve is like a Red, Red Rose‘ and others set to traditional airs, which revived the words and tales of ballads, were produced.

Ill Health & Death

The war with France was causing food shortages in Britain. In March 1796 there were serious food riots in Dumfries. Gradually, during the year, Burns’ health became poorer and in April he was unable to continue with his Excise duties. His friend Dr Maxwell mistakenly diagnosed his illness as “flying gout” and prescribed sea bathing as a cure. On the morning of Thursday 21st July he became delirious. His children were brought to see him for a last time and shortly afterwards he lapsed into unconsciousness and died. He was 37 years old.

It was the intention of friends that a biography of Burns should be written as soon as possible and the profits used to aid Mrs Burns. Dr James Currie, a Liverpool physician, who came originally from Annan, was chosen as biographer. The biography, published in 1800, was an immediate success and raised £1400. However, when Dorothy and William Wordsworth visited Dumfries in 1803 they had difficulty in even finding Burns’s grave. So, in 1813 subscriptions were sought. One of the subscribers was the Prince Regent, later George IV. On the 19th September 1815 Burns’ body was exhumed and placed in the new mausoleum. In 1823 the cenotaph on the banks of the Doon at Alloway, Burns’ birthplace, was completed at a cost of £3300. In 1844 a huge festival in his honour was held at Alloway, presided over by the Earl of Eglinton. The centenaries of his birth in 1859 and his death in 1896 saw nationwide celebrations.

Reputation

The cult of Burns rapidly rose. As the ‘National Bard’ he assumed spiritual dimensions, becoming all things to all people – admired as poet, nationalist, democrat, republican, conversationalist, womaniser, drinker, naturalist, folklorist, lyricist, Freemason and atheist to name a few. His humble origins, in particular as the ‘heaven taught ploughman’, have added to the idolatry.

Timeline

1759 January 25 Robert Burns born at Alloway
1781 Works as a flax-dresser in Irvine
1782 Returns to Lochlea after the burning of the Irvine shop
1784 Father dies. Robert moves to Mossgiel. Meets Jean Armour
1785 Birth of Elizabeth, daughter by servant Betty Paton. Writes To a Mouse. Affair with Highland Mary Margaret Campbell.
1786 Kilmarnock Poems published. Re-unites for a time with Jean Armour. Plans emigration to Jamaica. Stays in Edinburgh. Jean remains with family in Mauchline.
1787 Edinburgh Edition of Poems
1788 Ellisland Farm, Dumfries. Commissioned as exciseman. Marries Jean Armour. Writes Auld Lang Syne.
1790 Tam o’ Shanter completed
1791 Jean and Robert move to Dumfries
1792 Accused of political disaffection during revolutionary commotion in Dumfries.
1793 Second Edinburgh edition of Poems
1795 Ill with rheumatic fever
1796 July 21 Burns dies at Dumfries
1796 July 25 Son Maxwell born on day of his funeral

 

Images © Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Trustees of Burns Monument & Burns Cottage, Bayley & Ferguson Ltd| Licensor Scran 

We Are Family (History)

5th October 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

Scran is a great complementary resource for people researching their family history. Our collections are chock full of stills, movies and sounds illustrating Scotland’s places and people. From births, deaths and marriages to schooldays, holidays and working lives.

Scran will be exhibiting at Fife Family History Fair on Saturday 8th October at Carnegie Conference Centre, Dunfermline.

Find out more about how to Get Into Scran.

 

Image © Aberdeen City Council, Almond Valley Heritage Trust, Douglas MacKenzie, East Lothian Museums Service, National Museums Scotland, Newsquest (Herald & Times) | Licensor Scran

Social Climbing with Scran

23rd August 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

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‘The art of the milliner’ 1909

We have become dedicated followers of fashion here at Scran. Not only do we share our wit & wisdom through diverse collections on Twitter @Scranlife, we now have a presence on the ubiquitous Facebook @Scranlife too!

We’ll be bringing the best of our content out of the closet & giving it a good airing online. With almost half a million items in our care, we should be able to stay on trend, like our Parisian models. Whatever your social media leanings, we hope to address your needs with a bespoke social service – through culture, heritage & learning.

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‘Morning walk’ 1911

So, more about this fashion illustration – it’s from La Nouvelle Mode, a weekly fashion journal published in Paris. Dated 1909, the above plate is from the journal, compiled in a ‘Book of Fashion Plates from La Nouvelle Mode: Fashions 1908-1911′ and is signed by the artist ‘Drian’ – who also produced many plates for the French publication ‘Gazette du Bon Ton‘. The French title of this plate translates as ‘The art of the milliner‘.

From 1900-10, hats were often large and elaborately trimmed with feathers, flowers and ribbons. Hair was bouffant and arranged off the face and was often worn padded. It could also be worn in Marcel waves – a series of even waves put in the hair with a curling iron invented by the early 20th century French hairdresser, Marcel Grateau.

Image © National Museums Scotland Licensor Scran

 

The Glorious Twelfth

11th August 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

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The Glorious 12th refers to the date – 12 August – when the grouse shooting season begins in Scotland. There is usually substantial competition to get the first birds to the tables of expensive restaurants in London and other major cities in the United Kingdom

The grouse is perhaps the game bird most associated with rural Scotland. The red grouse – the one that is usually hunted – is medium-sized with a plump body and a short tail. There are four related grouse: the capercaillie, a rarely seen large black bird; the black grouse; the red grouse and the ptarmigan.

Environment

The red grouse thrives in heather moorlands and although populations fluctuate from year to year, there is some stability for hunting as much grouse shooting occurs on managed estates where grouse are reared for this purpose. The heather is usually burned in a rota to manage the grouse moors. Birds prefer to eat young heather shoots and burning the heather encourages new growth. A well managed grouse moor has, therefore, short heather, sufficient to provide both cover and food for the birds. Newly hatched grouse, on managed estates, may be reared in boxes.

Heyday

00440388 (1)The heyday of shooting parties at lodges was in Victorian times. Shooting grouse has been a popular sport among the upper class since the 1820s. Hunting, especially grouse shooting and deer stalking became very fashionable from 1852 influenced by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria’s trips north which caused a craze for all things Highland.

The Balmoral estate was bought in 1852 by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria at their own expense as a Highland retreat from the stresses of London life. Prince Albert initiated many improvements, including the building of a new holiday home, Balmoral Castle, in 1853-5. Prince Albert’s passion was deer stalking, and during his stay at Balmoral Castle, he hunted every morning.09140042

Many Highland landowners took advantage of the trend and used their vast tracts of land to attract the attention of wealthy English visitors. The Highlands were covered in large shooting lodges which were used for shooting parties. Many of them now lie unused and in ruins. However, grouse-shooting remains a popular sport in many areas of Scotland and is enjoyed by locals and visitors who can take part in organised shooting parties.

Organisation

06710064Organising grouse shooting requires a fair amount of people. During the year, the gamekeepers manage the estate and undertake the rearing of the grouse. In addition, there are ghillies, beaters, picker-ups and kennelmen.

The gamekeeper organises the shoot and looks after the guns. The beaters beat the grouse out of the heather towards the guns. Huntsmen are often arranged in groups at grouse butts which are made from timber or stones with turf camouflage. Such hides are used by the huntsmen who lie in wait to shoot wild grouse. Picker-ups have highly trained gun dogs that retrieve the birds when they plummet to the ground. The gun dogs are usually labradors or retrievers, but springer spaniels, cocker spaniels, German pointers and vizslas were also used. The dogs are trained to hold the birds in their mouths without damaging them and to release the birds to the handler or gamekeeper.

Hanging

09232051 (1)Traditionally wild birds are hung before plucking, drawing and cleaning ie innards still intact. They are suspended by the neck in a cool, airy place, to tenderise the meat and develop flavour as the deterioration process begins. Opinions vary on how long to hang a bird or whether to hang game at all but 3-5 days appears typical. Today, for hygiene reasons, game birds damaged by shot are often prepared quickly.

Competitive Delivery

08939966An example of the often outrageous methods employed to get the first grouse to restaurants is shown at right. Tom Dickson parachuted into the grounds of the Gleneagles Hotel in 1973 with the first brace of grouse, shot on the Glorious 12th.

 

 

 

 

Image © University of Dundee Archive Services, Hulton Getty, National Trust for Scotland,  National Museums of Scotland – Scottish Life Archive, The Scotsman  Licensor Scran

All the Rage

29th July 2016 by Scran

I had to do some work in South Edinburgh this lunchtime, and took the opportunity to drop in to the Open Door in Morningside to see the Scran-enabled exhibition “All The Rage” (see posts below). It’s obvious that a lot of hard work went into it, and the quotes from the Open Door’s clients were a great addition to the Scran photos of yesteryear’s fashions on display throughout the ground floor of the building. It’s on until August 12th, and if you’re in the area well the exhibition is well worth a look.

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This gallery contains 6 photos

Willaim Leiper 1839-1916

7th July 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

The work of the Glasgow architect William Leiper is often overshadowed by that of his near-contemporaries Alexander “The Greek” Thomson and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. However, he was nearly as prolific and eye-catching as his more well-known colleagues, and his most well-regarded building, the Templeton Carpet factory in Glasgow, is as stunning today as when it was completed over 100 years ago.

In the centenary year of his death, his life and work is being celebrated in a small exhibition at the appropriately-named Leiper Fine Art gallery in Glasgow. Housed in the William Leiper-designed Sun Life Building, the gallery hosts regular exhibitions by fine artists, but for the next two months as part of the Festival of Architecture, it is also hosting a small but informative exhibition on the life and works of the building’s designer. As well as photos of his many buildings, including Auchenbothie House in Kilmacolm and Kinlochmoidart House in the Highlands, the exhibition includes two terrific scale models of one of his buildings but also a large luxury yacht he designed for a Russian tsar! The exhibition features contributions from Scran’s esteemed colleague, Mr Simon Green of Historic Environment Scotland.

Definitely worth a look if you are in Glasgow city centre, the exhibition runs until mid-September.

Templeton's Carpet Factory

Leiper exhibition poster

Images © Charles McKean, Andrew James Licensor Scran

‘Excessive golfing dwarfs the intellect…’

7th June 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

canmore_1439121Tom Morris known as ‘Old’ Tom Morris is a Scottish golfing legend and famous golf course designer.

In recognition of his achievements, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club House in St Andrews permanently displays his portrait. Born and bred in St Andrews, at age eighteen, Tom Morris was apprenticed to Allan Robertson (1815-1859) the greatest player of his time. Tom Morris was a golf ball and club maker before turning to professional play. In 1862 he won the British Open by 13 strokes and this margin of victory still stands as a record. He won the Open Championship four times. In 1867 Morris won his final Open.

 

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The Tom Morris 27 1/2 gutta percha golf ball

‘Old’ Tom and his son ‘Young’ Tom became the only father and son to hold successive open titles when ‘Old’ Tom became the oldest player to win a title, aged 46 years and 99 days, in 1867. ‘Young’ Tom won in 1868 and in the following year he won again and his father finished second. ‘Old’ Tom later became custodian of the links at St Andrews. As a renowned as a club and ball maker, he established his own club-making firm and designed many famous Scottish golf courses.

 

02290129‘Young’ Tom Morris (1851-75) was outright winner of the Open Golf Championship at St Andrews 1868-1870, when he claimed the Challenge Belt as his own after the hat trick. ‘Young’ Tom Morris has the distinction of being its youngest ever winner. There was no Open Championship in 1871. He won the 1872 Open and was awarded the new Claret Jug trophy. Young Tom died at the age of 24, just three months after the death of his wife. His grave is in the grounds of St Andrews Cathedral, beside that of his father, Old Tom Morris; a memorial stone is set in the old priory wall.

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The origins of golf are a matter of controversy. Only from the mid 18th century, when the first golf clubs were formed, do records appear which give a more detailed account of the game. Golf was almost exclusively a sport for the Scots until the second half of the 19th century, and it was played by a limited number of people. It expanded quickly, particularly after 1880 and was taken up by the English and by women. The game became increasingly popular, leading not only to the creation of new golf courses, but also to an outpouring of golf literature. This is apparent in the appearance of books of instruction in golf, such as this, histories of clubs, anthologies of golfing prose and verse, and journals devoted entirely to the sport.

 

07570131Sir Walter Simpson’s 1887 book, ‘The Art of Golf’, was the first to feature photographs and is informative as well as humorous. Discussing the mental qualities needed to be a good golfer, he famously wrote, Excessive golfing dwarfs the intellect. Nor is this to be wondered at when we consider that the more fatuously vacant the mind is, the better for play. It has been observed that absolute idiots play the steadiest!

Images © Historic Environment Scotland, National Library of Scotland, St Andrews University Library| Licensor Scran

Shackleton & Endurance

17th May 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

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Chart of South Polar Regions © Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

Sir Ernest Shackleton, British explorer, is best known for his Antarctic expeditions, particularly his trip on the ‘Endurance’.

He famously underwent a gruelling journey to rescue his crew after his ship was crushed in the ice in the Weddell Sea in October 1915. Shackleton had had significant polar exploration experience and was respected in the field. He had been the Secretary of the RSGS Royal Scottish Geographical Society when the ‘Scotia’ succeeded on the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition in 1904.

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‘Scotia’

In 1916, South Georgia was where Shackleton eventually found help after the ‘Endurance’ had been crushed. He led his party some 180 miles to the safety of Elephant Island, and from there he made an 800 mile long voyage in a small lifeboat with five companions. The men then had to cross from one side of the South Georgia island to the other, across the mountain range before finally walking into Stromness on May 20th 1916.

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Ernest Shackleton’s Arrival © Shetland Museum & Archives.

It was a most remarkable feat, in truly terrible conditions, and of the 28 crew members not one man lost his life. Shackleton arrived at Stromness, accompanied by Frank Worsley and Tom Crean after an epic trek of 30 miles from King Haakon Bay – where they had left three comrades with the lifeboat ‘James Caird’. It was their first contact with the outside world for seventeen months.

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Shackleton’s Gravestone © Shetland Museum & Archives

On his final expedition aboard the ‘Quest’, Shackleton subsequently died on South Georgia on 5th January 1922. His body was buried in a whalers’ cemetery there, at Grytviken. For years a rough cross marked the grave, and a carved gravestone was later put up. On the back of the gravestone is a quote from the poem ‘The Statue and the Bust’ by Robert Browning, I hold that man should strive to the uttermost, for his life’s set prize.

At the top of the stone is a nine pointed star; supposedly this was Shackleton’s own particular symbol throughout his lifetime. He was quite a superstitious man, and noted that the figure 9 recurred strangely in his life. He adopted the nine pointed star as his particular emblem, and had a silver figure 9 made, which he fastened to the door of his cabin on the ‘Quest’.

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Adelie Penguins, South Georgia © Shetland Museum & Archives

South Georgia is an island near Antarctica where several whaling stations were based from the 1900s to the 1960s. Thousands of men worked at the Antarctic whaling during the summer season, and each whaling station became its own little community. The conditions were harsh though, even in summer time. The island is rugged and barren with glacier covered mountains. The near proximity of Antarctica, and the permanent ice-field of the Weddell Sea keeps the temperatures permanently low, the annual mean is only a degree or two above freezing. The prevailing westerly winds are strong and steady.

Images © Royal Scottish Geographical Society, Shetland Museum & Archives Licensor Scran