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
‘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’
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?
Women’s suffrage was the pursuit of the right for women to vote in political elections. Pursued by both women and men, it was a long and arduous campaign that lasted 86 years before the Representation of the People Act came into force on 6 February 1918 and gave, some, women the right to vote. Some … Continue reading Scotland and Women’s Suffrage
Enthusiasts for the Georgian first New Town of Edinburgh sometimes called it New Edinburgh. Anyone who called it this knew that Register House was its most important building, as it remains today. As the home to our country’s archival history, this building plays an important role in celebrating the Scottish Enlightenment for both citizens and … Continue reading Register House and New Edinburgh
Throughout December our office has been blessed with a veritable stream of sweets and treats as colleagues bring in baked goods and sweeties, in the festive spirit of giving and sharing (and the winter spirit of needing sugar to burn!). As I prepare to leave work for the Christmas break, my mind invariably goes to … Continue reading “Your confection is perfection” Henry Lauder
There are times when the conservator’s bench can be blessed by an object capable of tickling one’s imagination. That is what happened to me when a single section booklet from a Gift and Deposit collection in the National Records of Scotland materialised on my table: an 18th century recipe book from the papers of the … Continue reading A Lovely Gift
Christmas is now well established in Scotland as a time for giving, enjoying the company of loved ones, decorating the Christmas tree and of course, indulging in some Christmas feasting! But until relatively recently, Scotland did not celebrate Christmas, at least, not openly. For over 400 years, Christmas was frowned upon in Scotland and its … Continue reading Christmas: Banned in Scotland!