Events at the National Library

Browse the list below to find out about talks, workshops and more organised by the National Library of Scotland.

Book online or phone 0131 623 3734. Places are limited, so we recommend that you book in advance. For more information, or to join the events mailing list, email nlsevents@nls.uk.

List updated: 22 May.


 

May events

 

The Quintinshill Rail Disaster

Quintishill memorial cross detail

Colonel Robert Watson talks about the worst rail disaster in the history of the United Kingdom. On 22 May 1915, two trains left Larbert station carrying men from the 7th Leith battalion: the Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment). At Quintinshill Junction, the first train crashed into a stationary local train. Very shortly after, an express train ploughed into the crash, igniting on-board gas cylinders. Of the 498 on board, 216 were killed.

26 May
14.00
Free. This event is fully booked.


 

Guided tour of the Library

Group of people on staircase

A guided tour of the building and introduction to the Library's collections and history. The tour will last approximately 45 minutes. Numbers limited, so booking is essential. Please let us know if you have special access requirements.

27 May
10.30
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.


 

Robert Burns in Edinburgh

'Burns in Edinburgh' book cover detail

Robert Burns visited Edinburgh on many occasions but little has been written about his time there. In their new book 'Robert Burns in Edinburgh', Jerry Brannigan, John McShane and David Alexander bring to life Burns's haunts and the people he met.

28 May
18.00
Free. This event is fully booked.


June events

 

Bees and honey

Bee illustration

As part of the Year of Food and Drink 2015, join Alan Riach from the Scottish Beekeepers' Association, and James Mitchell, Rare Books curator, to discover more about the art of beekeeping. This will be an opportunity to see items from the Moir Rare Book Collection, as well as more modern guides to keeping bees and using honey.

1 June
11.00 (1 hour)
Free.   This event is fully booked.


 

The Briggers: The story of the men who built the Forth Bridge

'The Briggers' book cover detail

Long recognised as one of the finest examples of Victorian engineering on the planet, the Forth Rail Bridge achieved iconic status as one of the great feats of western civilisation when it opened in 1890. With the new Queensferry Crossing due to open in 2016, Len Saunders and Tom Martin present the story of the Forth Rail Bridge and the men so intensely tied to its construction.

2 June
18.00
Free. This event is fully booked.


 

Bruce, Meg and me

Gregor Ewing

In 2012, Gregor Ewing and his dog, Meg, recreated the journey taken by Bonnie Prince Charlie when on the run during the Jacobite rising in 1746. In his new book, 'Bruce, Meg and me', Gregor is back in the hills with his faithful companion, following in the footsteps of Robert the Bruce. This promises to be a fun and informative evening, with the possibility of a guest appearance from a furry friend.

4 June
18.00
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.


 

Guided tour of the Library

Group of people on staircase

A guided tour of the building and introduction to the Library's collections and history. The tour will last approximately 45 minutes. Numbers limited, so booking is essential. Please let us know if you have special access requirements.

8 June
14.00
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.


 

Tricolour

Photo of a microphone

The monthly night showcasing three different poetry and spoken word talents. Three different voices, three different styles, three different takes on life. This month: Max Scratchmann, MacGillivray, and Suky Goodfellow.

8 June
18.30
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.


 

The Glasgow Looking Glass

Comic illustration of a sleeping monk

in October 2013, John Watson OBE sold a printing business in Glasgow whose first publication was called 'The Glasgow Looking Glass'. For around 180 years the significance of this satirical comic book has been overlooked. It is soon to be the centrepiece of two exhibitions: one at Glasgow's Hunterian museum and the other in Geneva. Why these places? And why is it so important? John McShane reveals the secrets of 'The Glasgow Looking Glass' and the mysterious artist called William Heath.

9 June
18.00
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.


 

Workshop: 'Plagues and Pandemics'

Material handling workshop for people with visual impairments

Plague illustration

To mark 'Make a Noise in Libraries' fortnight, join Anette Hagan, Rare Books Curator, for a sneak preview of some of the material being considered for the exhibition on plagues and pandemics at the end of the year. Get the opportunity to handle and learn more about these special items.

10 June
11.00 (1 hour 30 minutes)
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.


 

Forget gin and tonic: Gin and Edinburgh is the real match

Alex Nichol

Edinburgh consumes more gin than any other UK city. That's not a new phenomenon — the city has always had a love affair with what has been known as 'mother's ruin'. The founder of Edinburgh Gin, Alex Nicol, will share his knowledge of how Scotland's capital ended up with hundreds of stills in the 18th century and what gin means to the city today.

15 June
18.00
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.


 

Arthur and Merlin in Scottish history

'Finding Arthur' cover detail

Following a discovery on the shelves of the Library, Adam Ardrey wrote 'Finding Merlin and finding Arthur'. These evidence-based, time-lined, supernatural-free books show how Scotland is linked to these world legends. Now, for the first time, the wonderful legends of Arthur and Merlin are firmly fixed in Scottish history and geography.

17 June
14.00
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.


 

Fitba' crazy

Piper and football team

From local heroes to international superstars, from the Highland League to the Scottish Premiership League this is a chance to see a selection of the many items the Library has on Scottish football. You will see fanzines, club histories, biographies, match programmes and annuals covering over a century of Scotland's favourite sport.

17 June
14.00 (1 hour)
Free. This event is fully booked.


 

How the Scots conquered Waterloo

Owen Dudley Edwards

Join Owen Dudley Edwards as he discusses his latest book, 'How the Scots conquered Waterloo'. Edwards recollects the battle through the paintings, literature, letters, and diaries of soldiers and great Scottish artists who were there.

17 June
18.00
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.


 

Special viewing: Material relating to Waterloo

Detail from etching of the Battle of Waterloo

To mark the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, view contemporary material relating to Waterloo from the Library’s collections of rare books and manuscripts. Items on show include accounts of the battle, ballads and chapbooks, and a book which is said to have been taken from Napoleon's carriage after the battle.

18 June
14.00
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.


 

Inspirations at the Library: Rory Bremner

Rory Bremner

Rory Bremner is a household name famous for his work in political satire and his uncanny impressions of prominent British and Scottish politicians.This evening he will discuss the inspirations that have motivated him through his personal and professional life. More about this Inspirations event

Tickets: £5 per person
Refreshments included

22 June
18.00

This event is fully booked.


 

Guided tour of the Library

Group of people on staircase

A guided tour of the building and introduction to the Library's collections and history. The tour will last approximately 45 minutes. Numbers limited, so booking is essential. Please let us know if you have special access requirements.

24 June
10.30
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.


 

The New Livingstone Online

Detail from Livingstone's diary

Members of the Livingstone Online team will discuss the most recent phase of a 10-year digital project to bring David Livingstone's original words to a global audience. Livingstone left one of the most important written legacies of any Victorian traveller to Africa, largely hidden from view in libraries and archives.

24 June
14.00
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.


 

The road to Meikle Seggie

'Road to Meikle Seggie' cover detail

Richard Demarco is one of the most influential patrons of visual and performing arts in Scotland. 'The road to Meikle Seggie', written and drawn in the 1970s, is Demarco's most important creative manifesto, which until now has never been properly published. Join Richard Demarco and Donald Smith as they discuss the artwork and accompanying essay.

30 June
18.00
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.




Speak me