Sportand leisure pursuits feature in the 'Fun and games' section of the exhibition. Not many printed references to sport survive from the 18th century and earlier. It seems that it was only after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745-46 that frequent accounts of the sporting activities of 'ordinary folk' are found. We are fortunate that the Library holds a number of early broadsides about horse races at Leith and Kelso.
Horse racing on Leith sands first took place in 1504. This broadside dates from the early 18th century, when Leith races were the most important in Scotland. Crowds of over 20,000 were attending at the end of the century. Note the early starting time for the 'big race' - 9.45 am!
But by 1815 the races had been relocated to nearby Musselburgh, as Leith had developed a reputation for rowdiness, drunkenness and animal cruelty.
Other broadsides from the National Library's collections can be view on the Word on the Street website.