The Other Einstein

The titles we get for our OverDrive Big Library Read club just keep getting better and better! Hot on the heels of the brilliant DC Daley (our May ebook read) we now meet an amazing woman in the form of Mileva Marić, the woman behind one of the most famous men of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein.

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict offers a window into the fascinating story of Einstein’s first wife. A brilliant physicist in her own right, her contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight. This historical fiction book, offers readers a window into a brilliant woman whose light was lost in Einstein’s enormous shadow.

Albert Einstein and Mileva Maric, 1912

“The moment I first learned about Mileva, I discovered that she was fascinating in her own right and I felt compelled to tell her tale,” said Marie Benedict, author of The Other Einstein. “The more I researched Mileva and came to know her through her letters, I realized that her story was powerful and important in itself, and instrumental in understanding our own history and the role of women in it.”

This Big Library Read will be available on our OverDrive site with unlimited downloads from the 12 – 26 June. All you need is a library card to take part. So if you are going away on holiday, this is the first thing to download and put in your suitcase! Why not encourage friends and family to read it too, it’s the perfect excuse to get together and have your own book group. Or join in online with the conversation about the book at



Myplace: Edinburgh a Competition for the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

Myplace: Edinburgh is a competition to celebrate the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016.

Between 1 June – 10 July 2016 add a photograph of your favourite Edinburgh place (eg a building, location, open space…) to Edinburgh Collected  and tell us what makes it special to you.


1st , 2nd and 3rd prize winners will be chosen by a panel of judges.  Prizes are kindly donated by the Festival of Architecture 2016 and will be awarded to  1st prize (£200),  2nd prize (£100)  and  3rd prize (£50).

Inch houseCompetition entries will be added to Edinburgh Collected a community archive of Edinburgh memories and featured on the home page.

Terms and Conditions

The photographs you add are your own work
2 Agree to Edinburgh Collected Terms and Conditions
3 Place or building must be within the City of Edinburgh Council boundary
4 Add the tag ‘competition16’  to your memory to enter the competition

pb beach

Visit the Edinburgh Pavilion  at the Pop-Up Cities Expo at the Mound 20th June to the 17th July to see the entries!  Follow us at #popupedin


A grand occasion: The Assembly Rooms comes to Central Library

Russell Clegg, Heritage and Outreach Assistant with Edinburgh Museums and Galleries, updates us on his Assembly Rooms project, which culminates this month in a fantastic exhibition at Central Library. 

Back in August of last year I contributed a post on this blog about my collaboration with the Libraries’ Digital Team for an Assembly Rooms story on Our Town Stories, and since then I have had greater opportunities to work in partnership with Edinburgh Libraries.

The main thrust has been by touring a small exhibition of Assembly Rooms related artefacts, telling the social and civic stories associated with the building, to selected libraries across the city.

Following the launch at the end of October last year, the exhibits travelled to the East Neighbourhood Centre and Craigmillar Library in November and went on to be hosted by Kirkliston Library in December.

Assembly Rooms exhibition at Kirkliston Library

Visiting these libraries as part of my outreach work also uncovered more stories about the venue and our collections. A visitor in Kirkliston told me of how he worked for Crawford’s, the Assembly Rooms’ catering provider in the 1970s, and when chatting to another gentleman at Craigmillar about Edinburgh’s glassmaking industry, I discovered that he had worked as an apprentice ‘thrower’ for Buchan’s Potteries in Portobello.

By working in partnership with Libraries, the Museums’ collections can be shared in a different way and memories of the city’s heritage venues can be revealed and documented.

This leads me on nicely to the Assembly Rooms exhibition on display throughout January on the Mezzanine level at Central Library.

This display reveals more stories and has new content. You cannot fail to miss the flame red ball dress, made out of a former wedding gown, and worn at a ‘Fireman’s Ball’ in the late 1950s. Also look out for a framed Burgess’ ticket to a ceremony conferring the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh on one Charles Dickens in 1841.

The Special Collections team at Central Library have delved into their own archives to uncover some gems of literature and which tie in with the literary connections of the Assembly Rooms.

My collaboration with Libraries now comes full circle, as I work again with the Digital Team to archive some of the exhibition images for Capital Collections so that future audiences may engage with the present cultural activities about the past!

Russell Clegg is the Heritage and Outreach Assistant with Edinburgh Museums and Galleries. Contact Russell via

The Assembly Rooms exhibition runs at Central Library until 2nd February 2015.

An unusual scene on Leith Walk

Here’s a view of Leith Walk, with McDonald Road Library in the background.

nowHere’s the same view in 1890.


The eagle-eyed among you might have noticed that this is no ordinary Victorian street scene. The elephants are a bit of a giveaway for starters.

In the 19th century there were hundreds of circuses operating in Britain and Sanger’€™s was one of those that travelled from town to town. ‘Lord’ George Sanger was the most successful circus owner of Victorian times. He was known for being a smart dresser, instantly recognisable by his top hat and diamond tie pin.

These images are one of the many “then and now” scenes you can explore on Our Town Stories, which brings Edinburgh’s past to life in a unique way. You can fade between “then” and “now” to get some interesting effects like the one below.

then and now

Other recent ‘then and now’ additions to the site include:

The Royal Arch on Newington Road

The Meadows Pavilion

South Queensferry High Street

The Shore, Leith

The Velodrome at Meadowbank

And many more. Take a few minutes to see our city as you’ve never seen it before.

Burke & Hare’s Edinburgh

Find out how two Irish men became Scotland’s most notorious serial killers in the latest tale from Our Town Stories.

Burke & Hare: The Westport Murderers takes you through the gory story of how opportunism and the thirst for medical knowledge conspired to create crimes that scandalised a nation.

21676 Execution of  William Burke

The story is illustrated with a fascinating range of images of Burke and Hare, their accomplices, victims and the scenes of the crimes.

Ten years that changed Edinburgh

An event at Blackhall Library shines light on a decade of change.

The birth of rock ‘n’ roll, the growth of consumerism, and the coronation of a young Queen…

Great change was taking place in 1950’s Britain, and Edinburgh was right at the heart of it. After the ravages of war it was time for the city to start again.

Proposed Dumbiedykes development, 1952 (

Grandiose recommendations were made in the Civic Survey and Plan, the International Festival and Military Tattoo were introduced as an antidote to post-war austerity and trams were usurped by buses and cars.

In “Edinburgh in the 1950’s: ten years that changed a city” Jack Gillon, David McLean and Fraser Parkinson show how Scotland’s capital embraced massive social change while maintaining its traditions.

And we’re delighted to say that the authors will be at Blackhall Library on Monday 30th June at 6.30pm to talk about the book and the issues surrounding it.

To book your place at this free event email or call 0131 529 5587.

The secret history of Edinburgh’s hospitals

New on Our Town Stories, the remarkable story of Edinburgh’s hospitals.

Discover the link between Sherlock Holmes and the Edinburgh Hospital for Sick Children, the story of the world’s first bionic arm, and the humble origins of the Royal Infirmary, which started out with only four beds!