On 2nd August 1847, a young man named Archibald Burke allegedly attacked and raped Elspeth Duffus, the wife of the local carter, on a quiet country road in Couper-Angus. Under normal circumstances, once any physical evidence of wrongdoing had been gathered and once the proposed list of witnesses had been finalised and their declarations duly … Continue reading Tulloch, Burke and Brook
While awaiting his trial for assault in 1853, David Brook was temporarily incarcerated at Kirkcudbright Prison where he evidently took great care to secure the good opinion of the Prison Keeper, James Clark. Of his charge Clark wrote: ‘His general conduct is good. He is quite willing to work. He can write and that is … Continue reading The Dummy Dodge – Part 2
On the 30th March 1855, an article appeared in the Aberdeen Free Press seeking to alert its readers to the emergence of a worrying new phenomenon: a ‘class of sturdy beggars’ who falsely assumed the appearance of disability in order to reap ‘a rather plentiful harvest’, while leading lives of idleness and dissipation. Denounced as … Continue reading The Dummy Dodge – Part 1
There are 678 Registrars in Scotland and they record around 140,000 "life events" every year. These include births, still births, marriages, civil partnerships, and deaths, and National Records of Scotland have been safeguarding these records since compulsory registration was introduced in 1855. That's a lot of records, and what many people don't know is that … Continue reading Accuracy and Fidelity: Scotland’s District Examiners
‘Prisoners or Patients?’ is the latest part of a major project I began in 2016, to use the lessons of history to stimulate awareness of mental health issues in the modern world. Using free podcasts, social media, and photo exhibitions of asylum and prison patients I tried to reach out to sufferers and those close … Continue reading Fringe Festival Exhibition – ‘Prisoners or Patients? Criminal Insanity in Victorian Scotland’
Demographic information about Scotland’s population Today we’ve published ‘Scotland’s Population 2018 - The Registrar General’s Annual Review of Demographic Trends’, and here our statisticians explain the key findings in the report. How is Scotland’s population changing? Scotland’s population has continued to increase and now stands at a record high of 5.44 million. Since 2008, … Continue reading Scotland’s Changing Population
149 years after the birth of entertainer Sir Harry Lauder, NRS archivist Veronica Schreuder investigates his "Million Pound Fund", established to help soldiers returning from the battlefields of the First World War... Sir Harry Lauder was the highest paid artist in variety theatre during the First World War, and the enthusiastic driving force behind ‘The … Continue reading The Harry Lauder Million Pound Fund
A new free exhibition by National Records of Scotland (NRS) reveals the hidden histories of prisoner-patients of the Victorian era. Opening 1 August, Prisoners or Patients? Criminal Insanity in Victorian Scotland uses never before displayed records and photographs to reveal tragic stories of crime, treatment, recovery and release. Guest curator Professor Rab Houston of the … Continue reading Exhibition: Prisoners or Patients?
A snap of a visit to Edinburgh records the beginning of a long transformation that changed an entire profession... This seemingly innocuous photograph captures a moment in the long transformation of the once all-male world of the Scottish registrars, a profession now staffed predominantly by women. It captures a visit to New Register House in Edinburgh by members … Continue reading A Grand Day Out
National Records of Scotland has recorded life expectancy for people in Scotland since 1980-1982, life expectancy is always calculated for three years to reduce the effect of unusual years. For the three decades that followed, life expectancy has increased, meaning that people in Scotland live longer than at any other time in history. However, over … Continue reading Why is life expectancy stalling in Scotland?