Art & Design Library October exhibition

The Parrots by Edward Lear: an exhibition of fine art prints of Lear’s illustrations of parrots opens on Monday 8th August in the Art and Design Library in Central Library on George IV Bridge, Edinburgh. The exhibition runs from October 8th to October 31st.

Edward Lear is famous for his nonsense poetry and travel writing, but before his literary career, he was a talented ornithological illustrator.  In 1830, when Lear was still a teenager, he embarked on an ambitious and comprehensive series of hand-coloured lithographs.  This remarkable series of fine drawings was published under the title Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots and consisted of 42 drawings published in an edition of 175.

The exhibition features fine art prints of all 42 of these beautiful drawings, bringing a gorgeous splash of colour and life to the Art and Design Library.

Leith Miscellany goes online – part 3

This blog post highlights items found in the last 5 volumes of the Leith Miscellany (volumes IX – XIII) – and there is a lot to cover!

There are images of various shops in Leith. One photo shows David Ford’s fruit and veg shop which was in the Kirkgate. Two female shopkeepers are captured standing proudly outside alongside their display of produce. In another, the Leith Walk Co-op state firmly “SCWS (Scottish Wholesale Co-Operative) Goods Are All Scottish Made”.

Ford’s shopfront – Kirkgate grocer

The Leith Hospital Pageant was held each June from the 1890s for many years to collect money for the hospital. Floats and employees representing many of the businesses in Leith took part. In the image below from around 1931, we can see Leith bakers leaving the Bakers’ Rooms in North Fort Street to join the Pageant.

Leith bakers

Trams and transport feature a lot in these five volumes. During World War One, Leith Corporation employed women as conductresses and drivers to replace men who had joined the armed services. You can view a picture of a group of wartime conductresses as well as tickets for a journey from Junction Bridge to Granton costing 1d.

Tramway Ticket Junction Bridge – Granton

The last batch of photographs are taken from various productions from the Leith Amateur Opera Company. These cards show the performers and costumes of the various productions including The Mikado.

Leith Amateur Opera Company – Mikado

We hope you have enjoyed looking at some of the material from the Leith Miscellany volumes. To see the items from all thirteen volumes visit Capital Collections.

To see more highlights from the collection catch up with the previous posts in this series:
Leith Miscellany part one, volumes I – IV
Leith Miscellany part two, volumes V – VIII

Leith Miscellany goes online – part 2

Continuing our short series of posts about the Leith Miscellany volumes, the next four volumes in the series (volumes V – VIII) again show various aspects of Leith and environs. We see images of Newhaven, featuring the Newhaven Fishwives’ Choir. Unfortunately, these are in black and white so we are unable to get the full impact of how they really looked, dressed in their traditional costume of striped coloured petticoats under a gathered skirt and brightly coloured tops with shawls over their heads and shoulders.

Newhaven Fishwives’ Choir

There are pictures of another Leith Harbour, this one in South Georgia in the south Atlantic. This was a whaling station run by Christian Salvesen Ltd between 1909-1965. Salvesen’s whaling ships brought the first penguins back and donated them to Edinburgh Zoo, which became the first zoo in the world to keep and breed penguins.

Leith Harbour, South Georgia

The photographs and newspaper cuttings in the thirteen volumes of Leith Miscellany were collected by the Reverend Dr James Scot Marshall.The depth of knowledge of the history of Leith earned Dr Marshall a reputation as the area’s historian. He completed his doctorate on the history of Leith and wrote histories of South Leith and Kirkgate Church, The Church in the Midst and The Story of North Leith Church.  Various churches in and around Leith also feature among this set. One grand looking church, Leith Kirkgate Church which was demolished in 1975, stood at the beginning of Henderson Street where South Leith Parish Church Halls stand now. We can also view various plans of South Leith Parish Church.

South Leith Parish Church

These volumes truly are eclectic, offering something for everyone. Did you know that Leith had its own Olympian back in 1920? Another picture here depicts Alec Ireland in true fighting pose, commemorating his silver medal win in the 7th Olympiad, which was held in Antwerp in 1920. He lost out on a gold medal by one point!

Alec Ireland (1903-1966)

Keeping with the sporting theme, there are several images of local football teams. Does anyone remember Leith Hawthorn, Leith Rosebery  or Leith Athletic football teams?

Leith Athletic football team, c1924

View all the volumes on Capital Collections and look out for the third and final installment previewing volumes IX – XIII.

Read more about the Leith Miscellany project in the first blog post in this series:
Leith Miscellany goes online – part 1.

Leith Miscellany goes online – part 1

We’ve recently undertaken a large project to digitise and make available online thirteen albums relating to Leith. We’ve named them the Leith Miscellany volumes I – XIII as the contents cover basically everything and anything to do with Leith. They provide an extraordinary and unique insight into the social history of the area.

Originally collected in shop-bought photograph albums, the sticky album pages and damp had caused minor damage to some of the contents, so as well as digitising the photographs, postcards, presscuttings and ephemera, we have remounted the items on archival cardboard and rehoused them in conservation boxes.

The Fish Quay, – looking up-river, c1830

This is the first in a series of three blog posts highlighting the material and covers volumes I – IV. Inside, you get a real feel of what it was like in the 19th and early 20th centuries, with photographs of cargo boats and steamers and images of the bustling port of Leith.

View in Leith Docks, c1865

There are photographs of streets in Leith that no longer exist. Adults and children caught in blurry images standing in cobbled streets with washing hanging above them. Bartenders stand proudly behind the bar of a local pub waiting for the next customer to come in. Outside the Custom House (image below), a large group of men have gathered. What are they doing – gambling, perhaps?.You find yourself wishing that you could just squeeze in among them to find out. Meanwhile people pass by, going about their own business.

Leith Custom House

In another image we see the many flat capped dockers on strike in 1913, with banners proclaiming, ‘We Are Out For A Living Wage’. The strike lasted from 26 June to 14 August. The dockers wanted an increase in pay (a penny per hour on the day rate), better conditions, a ban on hiring non-union workers and shorter hours. We get a glimpse of what working life was like in a busy shipbuilders, with a look in the Henry Robb shipwrights shop in 1921. We can see a dozen men going about their daily job of sawing and shaping wood, with piles of wood shavings at their feet.

Messrs Henry Robb Ltd, Shipwrights’ Shop at Albert Road

View the full albums on Capital Collections and look out for the next blog post in this series for more on this collection.

Read the second part in this series about the Leith Miscellany project and volumes V – VIII.

 

Join in with our audiobook group

Love audiobooks? Then come along to our monthly Stockbridge Library audiobook group starting on Friday 16 November, 2.30-3.30pm. You’ll get tea, biscuits and some lovely chat about our chosen audiobook! Our first title is Shaun Bythell’s The Diary of a Bookseller.

Shaun owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. In these wry and hilarious diaries, he provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates, recommends books and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life.

This audiobook is available for you to borrow for free from our RBdigital service. Simply download to your phone, tablet or computer to join in. Full user instructions can be found on our RBdigital help pages or get in touch with the Digital Team if you need any extra help (informationdigital@edinburgh.gov.uk  0131 242 8047).

PressReader drop-in sessions at Blackhall Library

We’ll be running a drop-in session on Wednesdays from 2-3.30pm at Blackhall Library starting on the 10th October for 6 weeks. Come along and find out all about using PressReader and get access to over 6000 worldwide daily newspapers and magazines including most of the big UK papers. You can read daily newspapers such as the Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and The Herald for free, delivered directly to your own device or within the library.

Bring along your tablet, phone or laptop and we’ll help you get set up. Or we’ll show you how to use it on library devices. Help will also be available for our other Library2go services too such as ebooks and audiobooks.

We also run regular Library2go drop-in sessions to get help with using downloadable ebook, audiobook, magazine and newspapers. Stop by the Mezzanine, Central Library  every Tuesday from 2-3.30pm or the first Thursday of the month from 10.30am – midday.

Big Library Read – digital book club

The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke is this autumn’s Big Library Read and unlimited people will be able to read it from our OverDrive site at the same time from 1st till 15th October. There’s nothing quite like a fantastic young adult novel so join in with the world’s largest digital reading club!

Sixteen year old Ellie Baum feels the weight of history on her when she arrives on a school trip to Berlin. After all, she’s the first member of her family to return since her grandfather’s miraculous escape from a death camp in 1942. One moment she’s contemplating the Berlin Wall Memorial, and the next, she’s yanked back through time to 1988 East Berlin when the Wall is still standing. Ellie becomes caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic when she meets members of an underground guild who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything, including her only way home, to stop them.

Readers can join an online conversation about the book at BigLibraryRead.com. All you need is library membership so you can login with your library card and PIN. Full instructions for using OverDrive can be found on our Your Library website.