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
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?
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
The Admirality yacht HMY Iolaire under the name "Amalthaea", Ness Historical Society, via Wikimedia CommonsThe first day of the New Year of 1919 brought tragedy to the Island of Lewis, when the naval yacht ‘Iolaire’ crashed onto rocks in the approaches to the harbour of Stornoway. Of the official total of 284 naval crew and … Continue reading The ‘Iolaire’ Disaster 1 January 1919
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!
Have you ever asked to be excused from jury service? Well you're not alone! For centuries potential jurors have sought to escape their civic duty on grounds of health, work or simple inconvenience. Here are some such requests which survive within the High Court of Justiciary held by the National Records of Scotland. Ill Health … Continue reading Please Sir, may I be excused?