The “Radical Rising” of 1820

The “Radical War” or “Radical Rising” of 1820, also known as the Scottish Insurrection of 1820, was a week of strikes and unrest in Scotland that culminated in the trial of a number of ‘radicals’ for treason. National Records of Scotland (NRS) holds the trial records and to mark the 200th anniversary of this event, … Continue reading The “Radical Rising” of 1820

Prisoners or Patients? The Story of Margaret Hunter or Beaton

Prisons have a much higher proportion of men and women with mental disorders than the general population. This was also true in Victorian times, when ‘the liability of the criminal classes to an excess of insanity is very great, and much beyond that of the free population of the country’. At this time, The Prisons … Continue reading Prisoners or Patients? The Story of Margaret Hunter or Beaton

‘Prisoners or Patients?’ – Exhibition now online!

In 2019 National Records of Scotland (NRS) partnered with Professor Rab Houston of the University of St Andrews, to explore the records of those people committed to the Criminal Lunatic Department in Perth, and produced the Fringe Festival exhibition ‘Prisoners or Patients? Criminal Insanity in Victorian Scotland’. This exhibition focused on the records amassed in … Continue reading ‘Prisoners or Patients?’ – Exhibition now online!

“A Lightbulb Moment” – Professor Rab Houston on Criminal Insanity in Victorian Scotland

The records and stories featured in our recent exhibition “Prisoners or Patients? Criminal Insanity in Victorian Scotland” are now available to view online  for the first time. Here Professor Rab Houston, who worked with National Records of Scotland to create and curate this exhibition, explains what first interested him in the project and how he … Continue reading “A Lightbulb Moment” – Professor Rab Houston on Criminal Insanity in Victorian Scotland

1320-2020 – 700 Years of the Declaration of Arbroath, by Dr Alan Borthwick

  6 April 2020 is the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath - perhaps the most famous and important of Scotland's historic documents. Drafted in 1320, the Declaration is a powerful call for recognition of the Kingdom of Scotland's sovereign independence and it's a key treasure in the National Records of Scotland archives. The … Continue reading 1320-2020 – 700 Years of the Declaration of Arbroath, by Dr Alan Borthwick

Fringe Festival Exhibition – ‘Prisoners or Patients? Criminal Insanity in Victorian Scotland’

‘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’