UNESCO adds NLS items to cultural heritage register

Film still showing men on steep cliffs
St Kilda film.

Items from the National Library of Scotland are included in a worldwide online catalogue of cultural merit that is launched today.

The United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has developed a UK version of its Memory of the World Register. Focusing on items of outstanding universal value, it promotes the UK's documentary heritage across the UK and the world.

UNESCO has chosen a film and three collections from the NLS archives as Scotland's first items to gain Memory of the World status:

Page detail with words 'I rode anone and thought'
  • 'St Kilda: Britain's loneliest isle, 1923-1928' — a film capturing scenes of a community that was to disappear in 1930 after 2,000 years
  • The Pont maps — a collection of hand-drawn maps by pioneering cartographer Timothy Pont that offer an important insight into 16th-century Scotland
  • The Chepman and Myllar Prints — a volume by Scotland's first printers which contains the earliest surviving dated book printed in Scotland (1508)
  • The archive of the Company of Scotland - which includes the Darien Papers held at NLS. This company was involved in the ultimately disastrous scheme to set up a Scottish trading colony in Panama in the 1690s. The Royal Bank of Scotland also owns part of the archive, and the nomination of this collection was made jointly by NLS and RBS.

All 10 of the first inscriptions on the UK Memory of the World register have been described as 'some of the UK's exceptional, but lesser-known, documentary riches'. They were formally recognised today in an event at the House of Lords.

Read more in our UNESCO Memory of the World press release.

14 July 2010

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