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Culture Heritage Learning

The Battle of Flodden

6th September 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

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One of the worst military disasters in Scotland’s history

On the 9th of September 1513, an invading Scottish army under King James IV fought an English army under Catherine of Aragon, fighting on behalf of her husband King Henry VIII of England. 

The two sides met at Flodden Hill, Northumberland.  The defeat was catastrophic for Scotland’s leadership, claiming the lives of the King as well as many leading nobles.

In 1513 the relationships between England and Scotland were fractious. James IV, King of Scots, was an ambitious, determined and powerful figure in his kingdom, and keen to make Scotland a player in the European theatre of politics. Henry VIII, King of England, had been ruling his kingdom for some four years, and similarly had grand ambitions, claiming overlordship of both Scotland and large parts of France.

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James IV of Scotland

 

A chance for James IV to assert his position in Europe emerged when rivalries between city-states (including the Papal States) in Italy came to a head, spilling into a wider European conflict. England had sided with Pope Julius II in a war against France, using the pretence of loyalty to the Pope in order to expand English control in France. James IV, though technically at peace with England, had been angered by Henry VIII’s claims in Scotland. The ‘Auld Alliance’ between Scotland and France had been dormant for some years, but Henry VIII’s departure for France in April of 1513 presented the opportunity James IV desired, to revive the alliance with France and attack England.

 

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Henry VIII (1491-1547)

Setting off in mid-August, James IV brought his army of 30,000, as well as artillery including the Mons Meg cannon, to the river Tweed, which he crossed on the 24th of August. Besieging and destroying several castles in England, James IV made progress south. In keeping with the tradition of chivalry, James IV had notified Queen Catherine of his intention to invade a full month before the invasion took place. As a result, the English managed to prepare an army and supplies ahead of James’ arrival.

Meeting at Flodden

The two armies met at Branxton village in Northumberland. The Scottish army had been stationed at Flodden hill, but under threat of a flanking manoeuvre by the English, moved to another hill near the village. In this movement, the Scottish army was not able to properly set up its artillery; the English army, however, was able to begin an extensive and destructive bombardment of the Scottish infantry on the hill from their position lower down.

Unwilling to sustain any more losses, the Scottish infantry moved at pace down the hill towards the English line. Initially maintaining the compact ‘sheltron’ formation with long spears, the Scottish infantry began to lose its shape as the ground was uneven and muddy. Upon reaching the English, the infantry were unable to reform. In the face of the shorter, more flexible English weapons (the ‘bill’, a spear with hooks), the Scottish army was massacred. Among the casualties were King James IV himself, along with dozens of Scottish nobles and leading Churchmen.

The Aftermath & Legacy of the Battle

After the battle, the English army pressed north into Scotland. The state of chaos following King James’ death meant that no formal defence was organised. In this of this, towns in the Borders region of Scotland took to creating their own militia to defend themselves from the English pillagers; these groups of armed townsmen with no formal military training were called Common Riding. Though existing before the battle of Flodden, these organisations are recognised today for the role they played in the aftermath of the defeat.

Several towns in southern Scotland also hastily constructed walls around their urban settlements to allow for improved defence against English pillagers. The Flodden Wall in Edinburgh is one such example, though this fulfilled an economic as well as military function, allowing for more control over the entrances to the medieval burgh.

Image & Audio © National Museums Scotland, University of Glasgow / Francis James Child, National Galleries of Scotland, Lennoxlove House LtdLicensor Scran

A Day Trip to Dunoon

21st March 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

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1950s booklet © Argyll & Bute Library Service

Scran paid a visit to Dunoon & it was a grand day out!

The purpsose of our visit was to meet the team of volunteers working with Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust as part of their Pop Up Programme. The Trust is in the midst of an exciting project to reclaim what is one of the town’s most important civic buildings. The 1873 Hall, listed on the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland,  is currently undergoing a major refurbishment and restoration programme. If you are curious to see the before pictures, there are 99 images available via Historic Environment Scotland on Canmore.

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Zoomorphic figure at main entrance © Crown Copyright: HES

Meanwhile the volunteers are not letting the dust settle – they are investigating local heritage and all things relating to the history of this seaside town & the wider Dunoon community. During our visit we were able to show everyone how to access Scran, free of charge using their Argyll & Bute library cards. Together we looked at and discussed a host of collections material, including the day the Waverley ran aground – seen below in 1977. Some of the volunteers remembered it clearly & memories were exchanged. There were other reminiscences too, relating to more controversial events in 1984 when different peace demonstrations took place in Dunoon.

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The Waverley 1977 © The Scotsman

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Pop Up Scran! 2016 © Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust

Of course the relationship between Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust & Scran pre-dates this visit. The Trust previously contributed film footage from Holy Loch Heritage – the American Presence a project which aimed to bring to life the 30 year period when the American Naval Base was sited at nearby Holy Loch. We are delighted to say our partnership is set to extend into 2016, when we look forward to sharing more Dunoon ephemera surfacing from the restoration works. To see what’s been lurking under their floorboards, watch this space.

Images © Argyll & Bute Library Information Service, Historic Environment Scotland, The Scotsman, Dunoon Burgh Hall TrustLicensor Scran 

Gathering the Voices

26th January 2016 by Scran | 1 Comment

3715_25717_005-000-012-847-R_2016-01-20_13-24-08Holocaust Memorial Day, 27 January, is the day for everyone to remember the millions of Jews murdered during the Holocaust, and the millions of people killed Nazi Persecution throughout World War Two.

In recent years, the Gathering the Voices Association has been collecting and recording survivor’s stories – some came on the Kindertransport, meanwhile others survived concentration camps and many made remarkable journeys to get to safety in Scotland.

3717_25765_005-000-012-871-R_2016-01-21_12-55-14One such person was Marion Camrass; her story begins in Poland 1932. She was born into a wealthy family in Krakow. As a child during World War Two she fled the fighting by travelling into Soviet Russia and eventually to Siberia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. In 1946 she joined her aunt in Glasgow, where she completed her school education, went to university and finally settled.

3715_25751_005-000-012-864-R_2016-01-20_14-05-45We are delighted to say the Gathering the Voices Association has shared a selection of material with Scran, becoming our newest contributing partner.

Now you can listen to the interviews on Scran, not only the story of Marion Camrass but also that of Gretl Shapiro – hear all about their lives in Scotland after World War Two. Each interview has a full transcript available for reference and fascinating, accompanying images.

There are also supporting materials on topics such as religious discrimination and sectarianism.

 

Images © Gathering the Voices

The Ian Landles Archive

26th August 2015 by Scran | 1 Comment

A fascinating insight into the lives of Scottish Borders folk in the last century comes to Scran.

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This series of interviews and sound recordings collected by local historian, retired teacher and author, Ian Landles, between the 1960s and 2010 was originally started in order to preserve the memories of local men who had fought in World War One and is a great complement to existing material on Scran about the conflict. However, the archive also offers a rich seam of oral testimonies from local women as well as men and covers themes including the Hawick Common Riding, poetry and music, farming life and mill life and the original Border railways. Many of the interviewees speak in the local dialect of Border Scots known as ‘Teri Talk’ which gives the recordings great linguistic significance.

The collection of 150 tapes was donated to the Scottish Borders Council Archives at the Heritage Hub in Hawick by Ian Landles in 2014. Digitisation of the interviews was carried out by Tobar an Dualchais with financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Ian Landles Collection is also being made available through Scran in the form of segmented interviews with full summaries. Some transcripts are also available. Interviewees who talk about their life in the Scottish Borders include:

There will be regular new uploads to the site from the collection so do keep your eye out. We’ll keep you posted from our end.

Image © Scottish Motor Museum Trust, Alvis 1920s. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk

Kite Aerial Photography

25th August 2015 by Scran | 3 Comments

Recently we’ve been getting to grips with the kite aerial photography kits provided by Dr. John Wells of the Scottish National Aerial Photography Scheme (SNAPS). As you can see we visited Tantallon Castle for a practice flight. We were quite pleased with our results & the potential for learning.

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We are planning on piloting this activity with schools over 2015/16, so if you are interested please contact us & lets’s go fly a kite! 

We believe exploring the aerial photography collections on Scran, in combination with the active learning involved in kite aerial photography, could lead to all sorts of creative learning.

For example, studying aerial photography can support the following Curriculum for Excellence experiences & outcomes within Social Studies.

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  • describe the major characteristic features of Scotland’s landscape and explain how these were formed (SOC 2-07a)
  • discuss the environmental impact of human activity (SOC 2-08a)
  • explain how the physical environment influences the ways in which people use land by comparing the local area with a contrasting area (SOC 2-13a)
  • use knowledge of a historical period to interpret the evidence and present an informed view (SOC 3-01a)
  • compare settlement and economic activity in two contrasting landscapes (SOC 3-13a)
  • explain the impact of processes which form and shape landscapes on selected landscapes in Scotland, Europe and beyond (SOC 3-07a)
  • evaluate the changes which have taken place in an industry and debate their impact (SOC 4-05b)
  • discuss the sustainability of key natural resources (SOC 4-08a)

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    Salisbury Crags Holyrood Park

  • assess the impact of developments in transport infrastructure in a selected area (SOC 4-09b)
  • describe and assess the impact of human activity on an area (SOC 4-10a)
  • explain the development of the main features of an urban area and evaluate the implications for the society involved (SOC 4-10b)

Falkirk’s First World War

24th August 2015 by Scran | 0 comments

World War One memories of Falkirk people now available on Scran.

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This three-part collection from Falkirk Archives has been digitised from original cassette tape recordings compiled for Falkirk Museum’s First World War exhibition held back in 1984.

Interviewees talk about life on the Home Front in Falkirk and away on the Western Front during the conflict. Women recall their roles working in local munitions factories and the attitudes of male workers in the factories to women at this time. There are recollections of the Suffragette Movement and when women gained the vote after the war. Men recall their experiences in the trenches during the conflict and remember the impact of The Armistice on those fighting at the Front. An interview with a female munitions worker in Falkirk during World War Two offers an interesting comparison.

Each Falkirk’s First World War interview comes with a summary with timecodes and a complete transcript.

Image © H L Foster