Recording history today for the future

Central Library’s Edinburgh and Scottish Collection have a long history of collecting material relating to the changing life and times of the city.

Today, we also collect digital submissions from people who can upload their own pictures and memories to Edinburgh Collected, our online community archive (www.edinburghcollected.org).

During these strange times of lockdown living we are asking the public to help us record the visual signs of how life in Edinburgh has changed so that these momentous times are preserved for history.

Saturday at the Grassmarket, shared by Sufly9 on edinburghcollected.org

We’re particularly keen to see the little acts of creativity and messages of thanks and positivity that are helping us all to keep smiling.

We’ve received some lovely picture memories so far but we’d like to capture a complete picture of Edinburgh at this time. Do you have any photos of your neighbourhood that you’ve taken whilst out for your daily exercise or going to the supermarket that you could share?

Anyone can create an account and add pictures and memories to Edinburgh Collected. Once added, we’ll add your contributions to the ‘Edinburgh 2020 – coronavirus pandemic’ scrapbook.

Stay home, shared on edinburghcollected.org by jintyg

Our colleagues in Museums and Galleries and in the City Archives are also collecting material related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Museums and Galleries Edinburgh are looking to collect objects for their museum collections which represent experiences of people in Edinburgh during the pandemic. They’re hoping for donations of everyday objects that have helped you get through the lockdown, e.g. certain equipment you’ve used to keep you safe, a note from your neighbour or the rainbow you made for your window.

If you have something to offer, please email anna.macquarrie@edinburgh.gov.uk. Explain what the item is, what it means to you, and include a photo if you can. (Please note, staff won’t be able to physically collect any material until it is safe to do so and venues reopen.)

Edinburgh City Archives are collecting diaries and journals covering this period. They will collect these in various forms; whether that is paper or digital, text or audio-visual, published on a website/social media or kept privately in an app, book, or document.  If you keep any of these and would be willing to donate it to the Archives for posterity please visit their webpage for more information: www.edinburgh.gov.uk/archives/edinburgh-city-archives-1/2

My happy childhood memories living in the Dean Village – Gail’s story

Following on from Patrick’s blog post yesterday, this second article from the Dean Village Memories group on Edinburgh Collected features one wee girl that spent her childhood in Dean Village.

Many people will be familiar with the picturesque images of Dean Village with its bridges and housing and with the Water of Leith flowing below.

It wasn’t always like that, at one time there were no fewer than 11 working mills there fuelled by the waters below. Due to the development of larger and more modern flour mills in Leith, Dean Village’s trade diminished for many years and the village became associated with poverty and decay, reaching a low point around 1960. The community was predominantly working class. Times were very hard for families struggling to bring their children up in the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s with poor social and economic conditions prevalent, with Village families having very little money and home comforts. Some of the Dean Village housing could best be described as Dickensian, in that they housed large families, in small rented rooms, with many families having outside toilets.

Thanks to one young girl growing up in Dean Village, we have a snapshot of what it was like during the 50s and 60s and her story has been shared on Edinburgh Collected.

Born in her granny’s home in 33 Dean Path in 1944, her name was Gail Featherstonehaugh. Together with her father, mother and older sister Avril, she lived in “the Village”. Luckily for us Gail was given her first camera when she was 7 and throughout her childhood and adult life took many photos of the Dean Village. Because of these images we can see what “village” life was like.

Gail, her mother,and sister Avril – 1945

The community of Dean Village has always been a strong one, with generations of families either living with each other or very close by. The village had its own school (Dean School which Gail started in 1948, aged 5), a Mission Hall and grocers (Burnside’s). The village was also home to several larger premises. There was Mutries, a Costume and Theatrical Hire warehouse, that burned down in 1957. Legget’s Tannery, who’s Clydesdale horse, Prince, Gail looked after. A Bottle Exchange (which paid money for handing in empty bottles) and a Stick Factory where Gail’s mother used to get kindling for the fire.

Life as a child growing up in the village seems to have been quite idyllic, with their playground the large green place that surrounded them. Gail has shared with us memories of family days out at Cramond and later as a teenager, of listening to Winifred Atwell on Radio Luxembourg with her sister Avril.

Dean Village children playing in the Auld Ducks Damside – 1954

When Gail left Bellvue Secondary school “for 1 year I walked the road from my house in Dean Path to train as an Electronic Assembler in Ferranti’s Technical College” which was now based in her old Dean School.

In 1962, aged 18, Gail joined the Red Cross and volunteered in the old Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, and the following year she became engaged to Robert Haldane. They married in 1964 and became parents to twins Gillian and Paul.

Gail (left) and friend Helen pictured in their Red Cross uniforms – 1962

1965 found Gail still with Ferranti’s, now based at their Sub Station at West Granton Road. Also, in that year, STV were filming a documentary about Dean Village and Gail was asked if she would walk up Dean Path pushing her twins in their pram. She recalls that her mother watched it when it was aired.

Twins Gillian and Paul – 1966

Gail left the Dean Village in 1966, but she continues to keep the community of it alive. In 2013 she attended the 1st Dean Village Ex Villagers Reunion, which has been an annual event ever since. Her visits to the village continue, visiting on her 60th birthday in 2004 with her daughter and grandchildren, and latterly on Remembrance Sunday in 2019.

Group photo taken on the 6th Dean Village Reunion – 2017

We hope you have enjoyed reading Gail’s story. You can browse her complete scrapbook on Edinburgh Collected as well as many more memories from the Dean Village Memories group.

A post from Patrick

This is the first of two blogs featuring memories from the Dean Village shared on Edinburgh Collected.

Today’s blog is written by Patrick McCole, a founder member of Dean Village Memories, a group of former villagers, who lived in the Dean Village from the late 1920s to the mid-1970s.

“I was delighted to receive an invitation to the inaugural launch of the Edinburgh Collected website in April 2015 at Central Library, to which I attended.

The Edinburgh Collected website has given our group of former Dean Villagers, a platform to record the social history of our community which includes memories, stories and photos of our past, to a worldwide audience.

Our community was 99.9% working class. Times were very hard for families struggling to bring their children up in the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s with poor social and economic conditions prevalent, with Village families having very little money and home comforts. It was apparently just the same, as with other Edinburgh working class communities. Some of the Dean Village housing could best be described as Dickensian, in that they housed large families, in small rented rooms, with many families having outside toilets, as experienced by my mum and dad, when they first moved to their basement Well Court house, number 52, in the mid-1930s.

The history of the Village goes back a long way. The Dean Village comes from the word dene, meaning a deep valley. It was known previously as the “Water of Leith Village”. The name appears to have been transferred around 1885 by J. R. Findlay, the developer of the Well Court. For more than 800 years the village was a Grain Milling Area with 11 working Mills driven by the strong currents of the Water of Leith producing flour (for the making of bread for the Citizens of Edinburgh.) The Mills of Dene were first mentioned in King David 1st Founding Charter of Holyrood Abbey dated around 1145 in which he granted one of his Mills of Dene to the Abbey.

Our Village was an industrial working Village housing a Tannery Factory on our doorstep which dated back to 1836-1969 and with other local businesses located in the Village.

We owe it to our children, grandchildren as our memories are part of their roots and to the community and public at large, to record this unique heritage of ours, which was tucked away on the boundary line of Central Edinburgh, an 8 minute walk from the West End.

It’s quite clear that if these memories, stories and photos (including family) of our past community, are not recorded now, they will definitely be lost forever.

A photo taken from the High Green with the Dean School to the left, 1955

I am always amazed when I meet the former Villagers, as they all share with what I would describe as a magnetism and a deep bond of where we grew up, in our cherished Dean Village. We have not forgotten our childhood and when we meet, we enjoy speaking and reminiscing about our memories and the various stories which are all unique.

It has given our group a great deal of satisfaction of re living our childhood and family memories, experiences and the characters that were about in the Village at that time, that we want to share with others.

Undoubtable, the enthusiasm of sharing stories with fellow villagers has brought us closer together. As a group it has given us a new dimension to where we were brought up and to see the stories highlighted professionally on the Edinburgh Collected website.

I have found that the Edinburgh Collected website is very easy to use. If I have any questions staff are always available to help and offer support.

As the co-ordinator for this research, it has been a great privilege for me and an honour to be able to co-ordinate these stories, and to see the pride that my former Villagers have, in wanting to share their memories to others. I am working on a few stories at the moment and in the pipeline I have a further 32 to be exact, thus creating a library within a library.

You too, can be part of a group creating Scrapbooks, or individually you can create a Scrapbook, tell your story, share your memories about the house or area that you grew up in, it’s as simple as that.

Please rest assured your story will be professionally presented when it is published on the Edinburgh Collected website, something that you will be proud off.”

Read the second blog post from the Dean Village Memories group – Gail’s story of her happy childhood memories living in the Dean Village.

Take a step back in time with Edinburgh Collected to the 1960s National Coal Board Computer Centre

Back in May 1963, the National Coal Board opened a state-of-the-art Computer Centre at Sighthill featuring the latest technology. It’s no longer there but thanks to photographs taken on the day we can see just what that technology looked like, and how much it has changed!

National Coal Board , Sighthill – Official Opening, 1963

The photos show massive big pieces of machinery, churning out reams of paper. Operators sitting in front of machines featuring rows and rows of switches. Computer equipment that is taller than those standing next to it. One thing you do notice, is that most of the equipment is being operated by women.

Staff member operating computer at the official opening of the National Coal Board Scotland Computer Centre

The images have been added to our Edinburgh Collected website where we encourage anyone to upload their photographs. Anyone can share their pictures and memories to Edinburgh Collected whilst contributing to the City’s digital heritage collections.

Although the Coal Board photos were most probably taken by a professional photographer, the bulk of photos on Edinburgh Collected have been taken by amateur photographers. They offer a more personal perspective on the past but can still capture areas of Edinburgh, or perhaps industries, factories and activities that no longer exist.

The images in this scrapbook were all added to the site by The Living Memory Association, who have shared over 3000 images on Edinburgh Collected so far.

Nowadays everyone takes photos on their phones, and that’s where they stay. So why not have a look and put some on Edinburgh Collected?

Libraries Week focus: Edinburgh Collected

Join in this Libraries Week by sharing your pictures and memories of Edinburgh on Edinburgh Collected!

Edinburgh Collected (www.edinburghcollected.org) is a community archive for the city where everyone can browse and enjoy this growing online collection of pictures and memories.

Venchie Fun, 1983 from the Sentinel newspaper, picture memory shared by From There To Here

However, if you sign up for an Edinburgh Collected account, you can upload your own written or picture memories and save your favourite memories to scrapbooks. By joining Edinburgh Collected you’ll be contributing your memories to the city’s heritage collections and helping us to preserve and make history for the future.

My Brother Alec, aged 5 years old, is amongst these 30 children photographed, 1934, picture memory shared by Dean Village Memories

Memories could be from childhood or from yesterday. They all combine to create an online living history for the city.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Edinburgh Collected or need a helping hand to get started, contact the Libraries’ Digital Team via informationdigital@edinburgh.gov.uk or 0131 242 8033.

My Edinburgh – Photography Competition Winners

Two of our competition winners visited us in Central Library last week to collect prizes, canvas prints of their winning entries in the My Edinburgh Photography Competition.  Prizes were kindly donated by Jessops Edinburgh who sponsored the competition.

Photograph of Edinburgh Collected Competition Winners

Paddy and Helen collect canvas prints of their winning entries Botanic Gardens and Human Dovecote

Winning entries were selected from the dozens of pictures submitted to our photography competition on Edinburgh Collected for their combination of image and text describing favourite places in Edinburgh.

You can see all the fantastic entries to the My Edinburgh competition in a scrapbook on Edinburgh Collected.

My Edinburgh photography competition – the winners!

Our three judges from Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh Napier University and Jessops Edinburgh had the tricky job of choosing the 3 winning entries from the dozens of pictures submitted to our photography competition on Edinburgh Collected.

However, after much deliberation, they have agreed on the winning entries. Entries were judged on the combination of image and text describing favourite places in Edinburgh.

You can see all the fantastic entries to the My Edinburgh competition in a scrapbook on on Edinburgh Collected. However our top three are:

1st Prize – The Meadows

Photograph of the Meadows

Hannahgforsyth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2nd Prize – Botanic gardens

Photograph of the Glasshouses at the Botanic Gardens

Padstar78

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3rd Prize – Human Dovecote

Photograph of a block of flats

Lizzy-Dripping

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prizes were kindly donated by Jessops Edinburgh. Canvas prints of the winning entries are awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place and the winner will also received a voucher towards a Jessops Academy Photography Course.

Thanks to everyone who entered the competition and submitted their brilliant picture memories to Edinburgh Collected.

 

 

The Living Memory Association and Edinburgh Collected

We’re thrilled to announce that the Living Memory Association, Edinburgh’s Reminiscence Centre, has moved its photo archive onto Edinburgh Collected (www.edinburghcollected.org) where it is searchable alongside other community photographs and memories of Edinburgh.

The Living Memory Association have been collecting old family and personal photographs donated by members of the public since 2002. Most are of Edinburgh, and the majority are from the 20th century, but the oldest photographs date from 1850.

Some people might wonder why they’ve collected family photos and snaps of everyday life –  images of family life, childhood, work, recreation, school and holidays?

Evelyn Whitfield (née Sime)
“The Guide uniform was a bright blue cotton tunic, worn with a leather belt with a buckle. Later, older Guides were allowed to wear the tunic tucked into a navy skirt. The tie was bright yellow and had to be folded and knotted correctly. The metal badge had to be polished with Brasso and pinned on. The embroidered badge showed I was in the Chaffinch Patrol. The beret was navy…
The calendar was a Guide Association one. The flying duck was, of course, one of a set of three.” – Evelyn Whitfield

Well, simply because they are ordinary. The archive is a celebration and a record of the richness of ordinary lives, lived, quite often, through some extraordinary times.

Violet Watt and sister Alice Flockhart pretending to ride Bryce Watt’s bike. (Probably Calton Hill.)
The bike is a 1952 AJS model 20 500cc twin.

You can now explore over 2500 images in the Living Memory Association’s archive of personal memories online on Edinburgh Collected.

Read more on this story on the City of Edinburgh Council’s News blog.

My Edinburgh photography competition 2018

Edinburgh Libraries invites you to submit an entry to the ‘My Edinburgh’ competition on Edinburgh Collected.

Add a photo of your favourite place in Edinburgh to Edinburgh Collected and tell us what makes it special to you.

The photography competition is free to enter but all submissions must be entered via the Edinburgh Collected website (www.edinburghcollected.org) where they will become part of a community archive for Edinburgh.

The competition is open to all, amateurs, enthusiasts, students and professionals alike. Your photo might show the place that offers your favourite view of the city, your favourite park, street, local café or pub. It doesn’t matter, so long as you tell us what makes that place special to you.

Granton Pier by arghnothingworks, 2016 competition winner

Entries will be judged by a panel of experts from Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh Museums and Galleries and Edinburgh Napier University.

Entries will be judged on both their photographic merit and on the accompanying text about your favourite place in Edinburgh.

The deadline for entries is 31 August 2018 and winners will be chosen in September 2018.

Jessops Edinburgh have kindly donated the prizes. We will award a canvas print to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place and the winner will also receive a voucher towards a Jessops Academy Photography Course.

Entrants must create an account with Edinburgh Collected to upload your image(s) and use the tag ‘competition18’ when uploading entries to the website so that they are identifiable. (Read the Edinburgh Collected terms and conditions.)

 

Competition terms and conditions
1. Closing date for entries is 31 August 2018
2. The photographs must be your own work
3. You must agree to Edinburgh Collected terms and conditions
4. The place featured must be within the City of Edinburgh Council boundary
5. All competition entries must be tagged ‘competition18’
6. There is no limit to the number of entries you can submit, but there will be only one winning entry per participant

 

Your Library top ten of 2015

As the year draws to a close let’s take a look at which of our online services you used the most during 2015. Here’s the top ten:

1. Zinio

No surprise that this is our most popular resource. Free online subscriptions to over 100 magazines including New Scientist, Hello and Amateur Photographer. What’s not to like?

zinio_carousel (1)

2. OverDrive

eBook and audiobook downloads continue to increase at a phenomenal rate (up a whopping 56% from 2014!) helped in part by the addition of some blockbuster titles for you to download – need we say it – free.

3. Capital Collections

Showcasing the image collections of Edinburgh Libraries, museums and galleries, the fantastic online gallery draws visitors from all over the globe.

4. Your Edinburgh

The best place to find out what’s on in your area.

5. Edinburgh Collected  NEW!

A brand new space for you to share, explore and discuss your memories of Edinburgh. Don’t miss out – get involved!

6. Our Town Stories

The history of Edinburgh in words, pictures and maps featuring the ever popular then and now photographs.

7. OneClickDigital

Reflecting the increasing popularity of audiobooks, downloads from OneClickDigital have almost doubled in the last 12 months!

8. Edinburgh 4 Community

If you’re looking for funding, as many of you are, this is the best place to start.

9. Theory Test Pro

Essential for learner drivers, this theory test simulator also gives more experienced motorists an opportunity to put their knowledge of the rules of the road to the test.

10. Library Press Display NEW!

Another new entry, Library Press Display is a window onto the world’s press, offering library members the chance to catch up on the daily papers without leaving the house.

That’s our top ten, but your library card gives you access to many, many other online resources besides. Visit Your Library to see the complete list.

(Top ten based on average monthly use during 2015.)

 

 

Video: getting started with Edinburgh Collected

This short film explains what Edinburgh Collected is and how easy it is to add your own pictures and memories to the site.

Look what we’ve collected!

Just thought we’d share some highlights from the many memories that have appeared on Edinburgh Collected since its launch in April.

This fabulous shot captures the story of our summer so far –

Edinburgh Rainbow

Edinburgh Rainbow shared by SKerr

‘From There to Here’ have added some simply spectacular photos of children playing on Wester Hailes’ ‘Venchies’, a series of wooden play structures. The pictures date back to sunnier summers of the late 70s and early 80s.

Venchie Fun shared by From There to Here

Venchie Fun shared by From There to Here

We’ve also been collecting memories of the Church Hill Theatre which will shortly be marking its 50th anniversary as a community theatre venue. This wonderful ensemble shot documents the cast of the first ever pantomime at the Church Hill Theatre back in December 1965.

'The Enchanted Waltz' pantomime shared by Church Hill Theatre

‘The Enchanted Waltz’ pantomime shared by Church Hill Theatre

Go back to school with Kathleen Glancy who’s shared her memories of her 1950s schooldays. She remembers how she covered her school books with brown paper, the school nurse’s visits and her prefect duties of bringing in the crates of milk and keeping the classroom coal fire burning!

Kathleen Glancy's class photograph from P1 shared by Dean Village Memories

Kathleen Glancy’s class photograph from P1 shared by Dean Village Memories

And in celebration of Edinburgh’s Living Landscapes, there are some lovely pictures of floral meadows and natural grasslands that have sprung up around the city.

Floral Meadow at Silverknowes Foreshore shared by Edinburgh Living Landscapes

Floral Meadow at Silverknowes Foreshore shared by Edinburgh Living Landscapes

Contribute to the Living Landscape Photography competition and you could win a great prize and see your photo appearing on Edinburgh Collected!

Share your memories on Edinburgh Collected and and help us make history.

 

 

Share your memories and make history

edinburgh collected YL

Share your family snaps and favourite scenes with Edinburgh Collected, a brand new community archive for our city.

Take a look to see what early users have been adding to the site, and start uploading your own images and memories as well – helping build a unique record of life in Edinburgh past and present.

Visit Edinburgh Collected now!