Voices of Scottish Librarians Voices of Scottish Librarians. The evolution of a profession and its response to changing times, compiled by Ian MacDougall and edited by Alan Reid and David Fletcher. Published in 2017, in association with John Donald, an imprint of Birlinn Ltd.
Conducted in the 1990's by the social and labour historian Dr Ian MacDougall, these conversations record the experiences of 14 individuals working in the public library sector across Scotland over the preceding 60 years. The publication includes an introductory essay from Professor Peter Reid, Professor of Librarianship at Robert Gordon University, on the history and cultural impact of the public library service in Scotland in the 20th century.www.birlinn.co.uk/Voices-of-Scottish-Librarians.html
Journalistic Recollections Voices of Scottlsh Journalists, personal recollections by Scottish Journalists, compiled and edited by the Trust’s research worker, Dr Ian MacDougal, was co-published with Birlinn Ltd in November 2013 and is available in print and in e-book format for £25 direct from Birlinn.
Twenty-two journalists from throughout Scotland were interviewed, including four women: the earliest started work in 1930 on the Perthshire Constitutional and together their recollections cover most of the twentieth century. Among the papers where the journalists worked are dailies such the Scotsman, the Glasgow Herald, the Aberdeen Press and Journal, the Dundee Courier, the Times, the Guardian, the Daily Express, the Scottish Daily Mail, the Daily Record, the Daily Herald and the Daily Worker. The Sundays represented were the Sunday Express, the Sunday Post, the Sunday Mail and the Sunday Sun, and local weekly papers from the John O’Groat Journal to the Dumfries and Galloway Standard. There are descriptions of what it was like to work on such papers as well as on hours, wages, working conditions, colleagues and on various events, garnished with amusing anecdoteswww.birlinn.co.uk/Voices-of-Scottish-Journalists.html
Bondagers Bondagers (Tuckwell Press, 2001) presented the recollections of eight women who had worked as bondagers on the farms of south-east Scotland. It has quickly sold out but it is hoped that a reprint will become available before long.
Oh! Ye had to be careful Oh! Ye had to be careful (Tuckwell Press, 2000) is the edited recollections of eleven veteran workers employed between the 1930s and the 1950s at the former Roslin gunpowder mill and bomb factory in Midlothian, which had flourished for 150 years before its closure in 1954.
Onion Johnnies Onion Johnnies (Tuckwell Press, 2002) contains the recollections of nine French Onion Johnnies (one of them a woman) who worked in Scotland.
Voices of Leith Dockers Voices of Leith Dockers: Personal Recollections of Working Lives was published for the Trust by Mercat Press in 2001. It consists of edited interviews with seven veterans. A reviewer in the journal Contemporary British History wrote,"Historians should be grateful for projects that preserve the past in this way. But this book deserves a wider audience, for it depicts the world of hard manual labour, practical skills, closed shops and tough but hard-won trade-union power. It is a world that we have lost but should not forget if we want to understand the regional and class divisions that continue to fracture British society."
Miners' Association Minutes 1894-1918 Mid and East Lothian Miners' Association Minutes, 1894-1918 were published by the Trust in 2004 in association with the Scottish History Society. They are among the earliest known surviving minutes of any miners' union in Scotland and the first of any trade union to be published in full.
Lewis in the Passing Calum Ferguson's Lewis in the Passing: Twentieth Century Autobiographical Sketches was published by Birlinn in 2007. After retiring from a distinguished career as a teacher and then with the BBC. Calum Ferguson, between 1989 and 2003, conducted interviews with twenty-one people who have spent most of their lives on Lewis, all born before the second world war. Some of the interviews were in Gaelic for which there are parallel translations.
image Voices of Scottish Librarians
image Journalistic Recollections
image Bondagers
image Oh! Ye had to be careful
image Onion Johnnies
image Voices of Leith Dockers
image Miners' Association Minutes 1894-1918
image Lewis in the Passing

The Bartholomew project

The mapmaking firm of John Bartholomew and Son was one of the best-known family firms in Edinburgh for over 150 years. Six generations of Bartholomews presided over its fortunes and it is still an internationally respected name in the world of cartography.

In the 1980s, it was taken over first by Readers Digest, then by News International, and today continues as Collins Bartholomew, part of the publisher HarperCollins in Glasgow, which recently published the Times Atlas of Britain (2010).When the company finally moved out of its Duncan Street premises in Newington, its extraordinary archives were acquired by the National Library of Scotland.


Several research projects have been associated with the archive, and the SWPHT has been involved in one of them. The employees of Bartholomew past and present have always had a strong sense of involvement, and at an event in 2009 held at the Map Library in Causewayside, there was support for an oral history project to complement the material archive. As a result, in August – September 2010, a series of interviews were recorded with former (and a few present ) staff. The interviewers were Siân Reynolds for the SWPHT and Chris Fleet and Karla Baker for the NLS.

We interviewed over 20 former Bartholomew staff, from all departments (including drawing, engraving, lithography, printing, colourists, computer specialists, library and office staff). The interviews covered recollections of all the specialised processes, many of which have quite vanished from mapmaking. They also provided a great deal of information about the economics, careers, management and social life  inside the company and revealed everyday details which helped to give a context for the NLS archives. One former cartographer brought in the box of old gramophone needles he used in his work!

The recordings were made with the Trust’s new technical equipment and are held on computer as an oral record by the NLS Map Library. It is hoped that, with some funding from both the company and the Trust, transcribing can be started in the New Year, and may  be incorporated into a publication.