Historic film treasures help celebrate UNESCO day
The event on 27 October, presented by the Scottish Screen Archive, features historic treasures of amateur and professional film-making. Entitled 'A woman's work is never done!', the programme includes a range of subjects, such as:
- Biscuit-making and laundry services in the 1920s and '30s
- First World War suffragette hospitals at the front line
- Engineering in a Second World War munitions factory
- Learning how to use the 'Knitmaster' knitting machine
- The expectations of a housewife and mother in the 1960s.
Rare footage of the 'Queen Mary'
As a further celebration of the UNESCO day, an early film of the liner 'Queen Mary' leaving the River Clyde in 1936 will be available online for the first time from 27 October.
Recorded by amateur film-maker James Blair, the film offers rare colour images of the world-famous liner before her wartime service. Restoration work by the Scottish Screen Archive has brought the previously faded colours back to life.
27 October 2010
Choice highlights from the Scottish collections
A richly illustrated book published this week celebrates the extraordinary and varied nature of the Scottish collections of the National Library.
'Rax me that buik' presents a selection of the most fascinating, intriguing and historically significant material among our Scottish holdings. Some items may be surprising in a national collection, but they indicate that the collection's scope goes far beyond the obvious 'treasures'.
Personally chosen by Dr Iain Gordon Brown, NLS Principal Curator in Manuscripts Collections, the selection reflects many aspects of Scottish history, life and thought. It also illustrates the history and development of the Library from its 17th-century origins.
Among the carefully chosen highlights are:
Full Prosody image
- A facsimile (1809) of the first English newspaper, reporting the Battle of Flodden (1513)
- A letter saying that newly independent America would make 'but a ridiculous figure in history' (1777)
- A lithograph showing fossilised raindrops (1851-1853)
- An invoice for a supply of chocolate by an Italian to the Viceroy of India (1907)
- A verse letter from George Bernard Shaw to would-be Scottish writer James Kennaway (1947)
- A Gaelic text-messaging guide (2003).
Priced £16.95, the book is published in paperback by Scala, specialists in high-quality books on arts and heritage topics.
And the title? For those unfamiliar with Scots, the closest English translation is 'Reach (or 'hand') me that book'.
15 October 2010
Jings – a complete 'Oor Wullie' collection at NLS!
1940. By courtesy of
Lyon and Turnbull.
Two extremely rare editions of the 'Oor Wullie' annual will shortly arrive at the National Library of Scotland.
We have been looking for a while for the first and second volumes of cartoon tales about one of the iconic characters in Scottish popular culture. All that was missing to complete our collection of the annuals were those from 1940 and 1942.
Very few copies of these 2 paperback annuals are known to survive, and those we bought at auction are in good condition, considering their age.
A Scottish favourite
Dundee-based publishers D C Thomson created 'Oor Wullie' as a cartoon strip in the 'Sunday Post' newspaper in 1936. These were the only 2 annuals produced during the war years, due to paper shortages, and it wasn't until 1948 that the book began to appear regularly. It went on to become a Scottish favourite and a popular Christmas gift.
'The "Oor Wullie" collection serves as a great reminder of Scotland's publishing history,' says Andrew Martin, NLS Modern Scottish Collections curator.
1 October 2010
Shrinking our carbon footprint
Energy saving measures at the National Library of Scotland in the past year have reduced our carbon emissions by 15%.
NLS was 1 of 47 Scottish organisations who graduated from the Carbon Trust's Carbon Management Programme this month. The progamme is designed to help organisations develop a framework, targets and strategy for delivering carbon-reducing practices over 5-10 years. Among other things, it can improve management of buildings energy use, vehicle fleets and waste recycling.
Aiming for a 5% reduction this year, we exceeded our first target through the involvement and creativity of staff, contractors and unions. We have also published our Carbon Management Plan for 2010-2015 (PDF) (670 KB; 58 pages).
Our success was recognised by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, John Swinney, at the graduation event in Edinburgh. As well as receiving our graduation certificate, NLS representatives gave a presentation on the work we are doing.
To help achieve our target, we have also installed energy efficiency technology which should lead to a 10% drop in electricity costs. By introducing Voltage Power Optimisation, in association with powerPerfector, we can improve power quality so that our electrical equipment operates more effectively. This will bring an annual saving of over £18,000 and 140,000kg of C02.
1 October 2010
Cannabis study report from British India re-issued
ganja smokers, Khandesh.
An 8-volume report on the effects of cannabis use has been re-issued in its entirety for the first time since the 1890s.
'The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission report 1893-94' was the most comprehensive study on the effects of cannabis ever carried out.
In 36 cities across India, the commission cross-examined over 1,400 witnesses. It reported on the physical, psychological, economic and sociological effects of using cannabis or 'hemp'.
Commissioners concluded that, generally speaking 'the moderate use of hemp drugs appears to cause no appreciable physical injury of any kind. The excessive use does cause injury.'
Photos of production and consumption
Published by Hardinge-Simpole in association with the National Library of Scotland the facsimile report includes photographs of cannabis cultivation, production and consumption. It is available to buy on Amazon.
Find out more on the Official Publications Unit blog.
1 October 2010