Edinburgh during World War One

Our latest story on Our Town Stories describes the impact of World War One on the people at home.

Find out about the zeppelin raid, the Gretna Rail Disaster, the city’s footballing heroes, recuperating war poets and pioneering female doctor, Elsie Inglis.

The war that was meant to be over by Christmas lasted over four years and touched the lives of all communities across Britain.

Camerons leaving for the Front, 1914

If you’re interested in discovering more about World War One, Edinburgh Libraries has many more resources for research and reflection. We’ve created a new page on our Your Library website where you can explore a growing collection of material related to the conflict.

Don’t panic! Sir Harrison Birtwistle at 80

One of the leading figures in contemporary music celebrated his 80th birthday recently and events are being held up and down the country to mark the occasion, culminating with performances at this year’s  BBC Promenade Concerts.

Birtwistle’s works combine a modernist aesthetic with mythic power and emotional impact, taking inspiration from contemporary art and the rituals of classical mythology and pre-history.

Birtwistle composes for a variety of ensembles but is perhaps best known for his stage operas, in particular, ‘Gawain’ (1991).

Panic’ , premiered at the Last Night of the Proms in 1995. Other major works include the operas `Punch and Judy’ (1967), ‘The Mask of Orpheus’ (1984), ‘The Last Supper’ (2000), and ‘The Minotaur’ (2008).

Want to know more? The Music Library have put together this specially curated selection of books and music by and about Birstwistle.

Library members can also stream Birstwistle’s music using Naxos Music Library and find out more about his life and career with Oxford Music Online.

Meadowbank and the Commonwealth Games

Edinburgh has hosted the Commonwealth games twice, an honour awarded to no other city. This unique relationship with the competition has left its mark on the Capital both architecturally and in the choice of leisure facilities available to the people of Edinburgh.

Meadowbank Stadium was built to accommodate the 1970 Games. It has a 400m running track, 100m sprint track, pitches for football and hockey, a velodrome, numerous sports halls and gym facilities available for use to the general public. The games for which the stadium was produced are to this day considered the most successful in the history of the competition. The stadium once again held the games in 1986 and although these were less successful due to political and financial issues at the time, the stadium was still a worthy centre-piece for such a prestigious international spectacle.

Meadowbank Stadium

As the Commonwealth Games return to Scotland for Glasgow 2014, and with some events taking place in Edinburgh, our latest Capital Collections exhibition on Meadowbank Stadium looks to paint a picture of the beloved stadium from its brush with Commonwealth glory to the present day.

Step out with us!

We’re so keen on the Medal Routes (short circular walking routes that start and finish at the same location) put together by Ramblers Scotland.

And not just because many of the routes start and finish at Edinburgh libraries!

Inspired by the Commonwealth Games, there are bronze, silver and gold routes, designed to take approximately 15, 30 or 60 minutes to complete.

When you’re done you can relax at the library (perhaps with one of these tales of walking adventure)

Visit the Ramblers Scotland site to download the maps or pick up pick up leaflets from the following libraries which features as start / finish points:

Currie, Granton, South Queensferry, Wester Hailes, Blackhall,, Leith, Portobello, Central, Craigmillar and Morningside.

And if you’re doing one of the Wester Hailes Library routes you can borrow a pedometer and starter pack, so you can see how far you walk in a day!

Make sure and ask too about the guided walks that the library are running throughout August – and check our progress chart to see which member of staff does the most steps between now and the end of the Commonwealth Games!

‘Elizabeth is missing’ author Emma Healey at Blackhall Library

‘A new talent with a remarkable knack for observation and an ear for dialogue.’ Toronto Star

‘The British author so fully inhabits the 80-year-old heroine… that it’s easy to forget the writer has yet to hit 30.’ Globe and Mail

Her slot at the Edinburgh International Book Festival sold out fast, but rising star Emma Healey will be joining us for a free event at Blackhall Library on Monday 11th August to discuss her acclaimed debut novel.

Elizabeth is Missing is a psychological mystery and a study of dementia narrated by the character of Maud, a forgetful eighty-one year-old whose mind is continually drawn to the disappearance of her friend.

This event, which starts at 7pm, is going to book up fast so reserve your place now by calling Blackhall Library on 0131 529 5587 or email blackhall.library@edinburgh.gov.uk

Track cycling at Meadowbank Velodrome

On a beautiful balmy evening late last summer, we were privileged to attend one of the regular track cycling training sessions at Meadowbank to enhance our library archive’s collection of sport images. The images and film clips show cyclists taking to the boards to train and race on the steep wooden slopes of the Velodrome.

Track cyclists, Meadowbank Veldrome

Meadowbank Stadium and Velodrome were built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games and both hosted the Games again in 1986 when they returned to the city. The training venue has been home to a number of Olympians, world and European champions over the years, including notably Olympian Sir Chris Hoy, former world gold medallist Craig MacLean and former world champion Graeme Obree.

See Edinburgh’s current track cyclists in action in our latest Capital Collections exhibition!

Ajay Close

Thanks to Ajay Close who popped in last week to tell us about her new novel Trust.

DSC_2932Ajay’s readings tantalized but didn’t give away the plot, and our Edinburgh Reads audience were impressed by the authors’ humour as well as her knowledge of the banking world and the miner’s strike.

Thanks Ajay!