No announcement yet.

17th September 2010

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 17th September 2010

    Electric Scotland News
    Electric Scotland Community
    The Flag in the Wind
    Book of Scottish Story
    The Kingdom of Fife
    Scottish Loch Scenery
    Oor Mither Tongue
    Geikie's Etchings
    Town Council Seals of Scotland
    Historical Tales of the Wars of Scotland
    Scotland and the Scots
    History of the Town of Greenock
    Robert Chambers - Songs of Scotland
    The Heather in Lore, Lyric and Lay (New Book)
    History of the Town and Castle of Dumbarton (New Book)
    The Paisley Shawl and the People who made it (New Book)
    Letters of John Cockburn of Ormistoun to his Gardner (1727-1733)
    Travel article
    Banffshire Maritime and Heritage Association
    Poems by John Henderson

    Electric Scotland News
    I am looking at doing some more histories of the Canadian Provinces as reading some of the histories it's plain that the early Scots settlers were very influential in the development of the country. I'd also like to do more on some of the US States. I feel that this would give us some context on the early development of the new lands and how Scots played their part in their development. This week I was reading the history of British Columbia and it's amazing how Scots were very influential in this Province and how Scots in the USA also played their part in helping to decide the boundaries of it. I'll certainly be working on this BC history so you'll be able to read this in the weeks ahead.


    As you've likely noticed I am also working on more areas of Scotland. I noted I was somewhat skewed towards the Highlands of Scotland so am now working more on the Central belt and Borders.

    Mind if you are interested in an area of Scotland do let us know and we may be able to find something for you that we can add to the site. I have marked a future work on Burntisland as an interesting addition. Also John Henderson is starting work on Partick near Glasgow which we'll start to add to the site next week.


    Someone sent me a book about the early history of Elora, Ontario and vicinity by John Connon for which many thanks. Problem is that the only identifier was it came from the Univeraity of Toronto so don't actually know who sent it to me. So if you are reading this here then many thanks! I'm also unable to share it with you as it's in copyright so can't publish it to the site more's the pity.


    I've agreed to give a talk at Simon Fraser University in BC on 17th Feb 2011 (Thursday). I'll be staying on for the Friday and returning home on the Saturday. Would be happy to meet with any that live in the area while I'm there.


    125th Anniversary issue of the Burns Chronicle

    I was told there was a wee article about us in this issue and got sent in a copy of it...
    Electric Scotland has almost a cult following in the world of the web. A mass of information about Scottish heritage and culture, and very big on Burns, their page carries a multitude of contributions, and reprints of some old writings. For some real gems of Burns knowledge get into Frank Shaw's major work 'Robert Burns Lives', on URL This consists of articles by laymen and scholars regarding Burns.

    There are currently 97 articles or chapters on this website. All of the articles are for your enjoyment and research and new articles are posted on a regular basis. You will also find some book reviews on Burns. Several at the top of the list are Robert Crawford's Saltire Prize award winning biography The Bard, which was called early on by the poet Don Paterson as "the world's least necessary book". Frank predicted in January 2009 it would become the definitive biography on Burns and stands by that. Then there is the outstanding book Fickle Man by Gerry Carruthers and Johnny Rodgers, a most necessary book for any scholar - real or imagined, as well as Merry Muses of Caledonia..."with explicit adult content" by Valentina Bold. Frank poses the question; Is Burns "the most famous smut master" of them all? You will also meet the "Dean of the Bard". Dr. G. Ross Roy, as well as many others who eat, breathe and live with their subject. Just as importantly, you will find articles by everyday people or laymen, or, as described by Burns, the common man.
    Frank will take articles for his website, contact him at

    You can become a member of the Burns Club and receive their publications at

    So now you know... if you are reading this you're part of a cult!!! <grin>


    I just wanted to note that where I'm providing information in a pdf file I try to send you to an html page where you can click on a link to load the pdf file. I'm working on the principle that many still use dial up to access the internet so figured it's better to do it this way rather for you to sit there for ever to download a pdf unless you think it's worthwhile to do so. As I usually add new material at the end of the page you'll nrormally find the most recent articles there so may need to scroll down to find them.

    Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's New" section in our site menu and at

    Electric Scotland Community
    We're having some interesting discussions this week and one is about languages where we're discussing if it is worth the effort to support dying languages.

    Another topic is old TV programs where Gordon has been sharing some of his old favourites and placing YouTube videos up to remind us of some of them.

    And continued discussions on Burning the Koran.

    Our community can be viewed at

    This weeks issue was compiled by Jennifer Dunn. In this issue she provides us with an interesting artcle on computer games.

    She did mention Civilization in her article which reminded me that I'd suggested long ago that it might have been worth the Scottish Tourist Board commissioning a similar games but wholly based in Scotland.

    You can read this compilation at

    The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP diary is now back and can be viewed at

    Book of Scottish Story
    We've added "The Laird of Cool's Ghost" Part 2 which can be read at

    The other stories can be read at

    "Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life"

    We've also added the story "The Covenanter's Marriage Day" which can be got to towards the foot of the index page above.

    The Kingdom of Fife
    Its Ballads and Legends by Robert Boucher, Jun (1899)

    This week we added another chapter called "MacDuff: Fife's Lion-hearted Thane" which can be read at

    By the British Medical Association (1922)

    We've added another chapter to this book, "Glasgow as a Golfing Centre. By W. Stewart". By George Blake.

    You can read this at

    Scottish Loch Scenery
    From drawings by A F Lydon with descriptive notes by Thomas A Croal (1882)

    This week we added "Loch Tay" which you can read at

    The other entries can be read at

    Oor Mither Tongue
    An Anthology of Scots Vernacular Verse by Ninian Macwhannell (1938)

    We have now completed this book with these poems...

    Riddles in Scots (William Soutar)
    Aince upon a Day (William Soutar)
    Wullie Waggletail (William Soutar)
    The Mitherless Bairn (William Thorn)
    John Frost (David Wingate)
    The Sair Finger (Walter Wingate)
    Conscience (Walter Wingate)

    These can be read at

    Geikie's Etchings
    This week we've added more articles...

    Apples, Five a' ha'penny
    An Auld Couple
    The Scottish Piper

    You can read these at

    Town Council Seals of Scotland
    Historical, Legendary and Heraldic by Alexander Posteous

    Added this week...

    Keith to Kirriemuir
    Ladybank to Lossiemouth

    You can read these at

    Historical Tales of the Wars of Scotland
    And of the Border Raids, Forays and Conflicts by John Parker Lawson (1839). This is a new publication we're starting on which is in 3 volumes. We intend to post up around 3 stories each week until complete.

    This week we've added...

    Battle Of Largs - 1263
    Seige Of Berwick - 1296
    Battle Of Stirling Bridge - 1297
    The Siege Of Perth - 1310
    Siege Of Carlisle - 1315
    Campaign Of Edward The Third - 1327

    You can read these at

    Scotland and the Scots
    Essays illustrative of Scottish Life, History and Character by Peter Ross (1889).

    We have added the final two chapters to this book...

    The Union Treaty
    Noblemen I have known

    This is actually the first time I've read the Union Treaty of 1707 and so for that alone this is well worth a read.

    These chapters can be read at

    History of the Town of Greenock
    By Daniel Weir (1820)

    We now have several parts up for you to read... Parts 1 - 9.

    In part 8 it starts...

    We now turn to the Quays—that one thing, above all others, which has made Greenock the important spot it is and it is from this alone that she can date, not only her origin, but also her gradual improvement. The bay of Greenock is called in the document, at page 56, ''Sir John's Little Bay;" and at the time this was penned, namely, in 1697, the site of our spacious harbours was a fine sandy shore, washed by the waves. ln 1686 and 1700, Sir John made application to the Scottish Parliament, for public aid to build a harbour at Greenock; but both his applications were unsuccessful. Though thus frustrated, the measure was of too much importance to be overlooked. At this time the only pier, or landing-place, was at Sir John's Quay, where his barge was stationed, and was of less importance than the pier at Gourock. Vessels arriving, discharged their cargoes at Cartsdyke breast, or were run upon the shore near Cross Shore-street. The inhabitants, however, saw the advantages which would result from having a commodious harbour; and they made a contract with the Superior, by which they agreed that an assessment of 1s. 4d. Sterling should be raised from every sack of malt brewed into ale within the limits of the town, the money so levied to be applied in liquidating the expense of building a proper pier, and forming the harbour.

    The work was begun at the period of the Union, in 1707, and a capacious harbour laid out, containing upwards of ten Scotch acres, by building a kind of circular pier, with a tongue, or what is called the Mid Quay, in the centre. Some idea may be formed of the place by looking at the Port-Glasgow harbours, which were built afterwards on the exact model. These were formidable works, and the greatest of the kind in Scotland; and incurred an expense of more than 100,000 merks Scots, which was equal to £5555 11s. 1d. These works were completed about 1710; and on the 16th September of same year, Greenock was established a Customhouse port, and a branch of Port-Glasgow. The debt contracted alarmed the inhabitants very much; but such were the facilities to trade created by this new erection, that in 1740 the population was more than trebled; and the sums advanced were paid up, leaving a clear surplus of 27,000 merks Scots, or £1500 Sterling. ln 1783 the whole harbour dues amounted to £111 8d ; in 1792, £812 6s. was collected. Of lateyears, the harbours may be said to have been entirely rebuilt, no vestiges of the old being seen all around and certainly their present complete state reflects great credit on those who superintended and executed these splendid works. The first Act of Parliament for regulating the affairs of the harbours was obtained in 1773; another act was obtained in 1789; a third act in 1801; a fourth in 1803; a fifth in 1810; and a sixth act in 1817.

    You can read the rest of this part at

    The other parts can be read at

    Robert Chambers
    Robert Chambers is a famous author and publisher and we do carry a few of his publications on our site such as the 3 volume Domestic Annals of Scotland and his 4 volume Biographical Dictionary of Significant Scots.

    John Henderson found his 2 volume Songs of Scotland which we both agree is a fabulous resource and so we are going to add this to the site in small chuncks in pdf format for you to enjoy.

    we now have up...

    Pages 1 to 21
    Pages 22 to 52
    Pages 53 to 84

    You can read this at

    I might add that I came across his "Book of Days, A Miscellany of Popular Antiquities in connection with the Calendar". I don't propose to put this on the site but I have found it to be an interesting read. He produced this 2 volume publication while in London but being a Scot he has included quite a few wee Scottish articles into it. I did add a few wee snippets in our forum which you can read at

    The Heather in Lore, Lyric and Lay
    By Alexander Wallace (1903)

    We already have up a large page on Heather but when I discovered this book I thought it would be a good one for folk to dip into as it were.

    The Preface sets the scene and here is part of it to read here...

    RUSKIN, in one of his friendly lecture-talks on art, with the sympathetic spiritual perception and originality of thought which characterize his unique genius, says: "Now, what we especially need for educational purposes, is to know, not the anatomy of plants, but their biography—how and where they live and die, their tempers, benevolences. distresses and virtues." The quaint sentiment voiced by the great philosopher many years ago is somewhat significantly in harmony with this dawning time of a simpler and brighter understanding of humanity and of nature. And could we find for such a flower biography a subject more entrancing, so seductive, almost eerie, so plaintively sturdy, so instilled with romance, with patriotism and with pathos—as the Highland Heather?

    There dwells, perhaps, no solitary plant or flower in the sheltered garden or in the lonely wild, whose family ties show no modest record hidden somewhere in the stately annals of history; but the crude fact of history, like a tale that is listlessly told, has little power to charm where lack the flash and glow of emotional ardor; and so I have invoked to my humble biographical narrative of this bonnie floral hermit on our bleak majestic Highlands, that ancient patron Muse of Scotia's departed minstrels—the Spirit of Caledonia.

    We learn from the histories of the vegetable kingdom that Calitma vulgaris—the generally accepted botanical term for Heather—has a wide distribution throughout European countries, and in other parts of the world. But so closely has the word Heather become associated with Scotland, that whenever we hear it spoken, or see it written, the fancy instinctively roams to the "land of brown heath and shaggy wood," the beauty of whose stem mountains, softened with their autumnal vesture of purple and brown blending in every-varying and never exhausted tints, has baffled the painter's genius, enchanted the poets vision, and inspired monarch and peasant alike to sing its praises.

    The Heather enters into the literature, the poetry, the lyrics, and into the home life of the Scottish people, to a degree unsurpassed by any other plant in the history of nations and the wonder is that its own interesting story has not before been told in some complete form. Scotland and the heather are inseparable; the flower derives its inheritance of unique renown, and somewhat, too, of rugged temperament, from the Caledonian mountain wild which has become so characteristically its home; thus it is in its identity with the land of Bums that I wish principally to consider it.

    The rest of the Preface and the first few articles can be found towards the foot of the page at

    I might add that a book we put up many years ago of a Scot who travelled to Canada to see how Scots were settling in to their new country came across a very successful farm. The women of the house was quoted as saying that it was a much better life than they had in Scotland but without heather it still didn't feel like home.

    History of the Town and Castle of Dumbarton
    By John Glen (1847)

    Another new book we're starting and here is the Preface...

    DURING his leisure hours of relaxation from business, for the last twenty years, the Author of the following pages has taken great mental delight in perusing old books and ancient documents, for the purpose of culling and collecting some scattered fragments of the history of his native place. An opportunity was afforded last winter of throwing these memoranda together, and delivering them in Lectures before the members of the Mechanics' Institution of this Town. The essence of these now appear on the pages of this unpretending little volume. It has been undertaken at the request of friends, and by the solicitation of the Directors of that valuable Institution. It is therefore launched into the world under their benign auspices. An author once published a book with this title, "Pen, ink, and paper well employed." It would be not a little presumptuous in him to imagine that his humble unostentatious production deserved the above designation; but still he might have employed these useful materials, during hours of relaxation, to purposes of less utility, than in thus sketching a brief outline of the history of the ancient "City of Alcluith." He has only acted the part of a rough pioneer, in digging anxiously for matter amongst musty volumes, ancient and modern; and the materials thus thrown together may prove useful to the future Historian.

    Dumbarton, 1st February, 1847.

    we now have up...

    Preliminary Remarks on the Ancient General History of Scotland
    Introductory Observations relating to our Local History
    Part I. Ancient History of Dumbarton
    Part II. Ancient History of Dumbarton
    Part III. History of the Town and Castle of Dumbarton

    There chapters can be read at

    The Paisley Shawl and the People who made it
    A record of an interesting epoch is the History of the Town by Matthew Blair (1904)

    And yet another new book and here is the Preface...

    IN January, 1901, the Governors of the Incorporated Weaving, Dyeing, and Printing College of Glasgow organized a Special Loan Exhibition of Paisley Shawls and similar fabrics, principally for the instruction of their students. These exquisite productions are now neither worn nor manufactured here, but many are cherished as heir-looms in families in the West of Scotland and elsewhere. One of the last acts of Her Majesty Queen Victoria was to direct two beautiful specimens to be sent to this Exhibition, thus renewing that interest which, particularly in its darkest days, Her Majesty had always taken in the Paisley Shawl Trade.

    The Exhibition attracted much attention because of the artistic beauty of the shawls, and the high degree of technical skill and patient care on the part of the weavers which they exhibited. Among the visitors were many artists, some of whom came from the large industrial centres of England. At the time a very general desire was expressed that some more permanent exhibition of these beautiful fabrics should be placed in one of the local museums.

    A hope was also entertained that some account of this industry might be written, as the period in the history of the town in which it was carried on was one of singular interest, not only on account of the merit of the articles produced, and the high talent shown in their manufacture, but for the marked influence which the conditions of the employment had upon the character of the work-people engaged in it.

    The writer was urged by friends to undertake this task. Brought up in the trade, he entered business life at the time when the industry began to decline. He thus witnessed the decay and extinction of the Paisley Shawl trade; and because of the consequent distress and lack of employment, had, like many other Paisley boys of that period, to go elsewhere to earn a living. Returning after an absence of more than forty years, he finds everything changed. The weavers are almost extinct. Not a draw-loom exists in the town. The very memory of the shawl trade is well-nigh lost. The present generation is engaged on other and more varied occupations, and, perhaps in consequence, the town has become one of the most prosperous in the kingdom.

    The epoch of the Shawl Trade in Paisley is now rounded off. Like a flower it came up, blossomed, and decayed. Its history is full of honour to the town, and pregnant with lessons that should never be forgotten.

    You can read more of this Preface and some of the chapters we already have up at

    Letters of John Cockburn of Ormistoun to his Gardner (1727-1733)
    It is books like this that give us an insight into parts of the social history of Scotland and a way of life for a section of the population. John Cockburn was very involved in making a garden around his home and growing a variety of vegetable as well as planting and caring for many trees around his estate. These are letters that he sent to his gardener giving instruction for how he wanted things done.

    I've ocr'd the Introduction and also the first few letters but due to the sheer volume of the footnotes I felt is was better for you to be able to download the entire book as a pdf file and so have enbled a link on this page for you to download it. The Introduction and a few of the letters will let you decide if you want to download the whole book.

    You can find this at

    Travel Article
    We have been getting in some wee articles from Holiday Cottages and you can read these at

    Banffshire Maritime and Heritage Association
    I got sent in a copy of their 2010 newsletter and an AGM accouncement of changes in their board which can be viwed at

    Poems by John Henderson
    John has sent in a couple of poems this week...

    The MacSporran Boys On Holiday
    Waashin Aa Fykes Awa

    John mostly writes in the Dorric language but he sometimes does the odd English poem and even does the odd translation of his Dorric poems so well worth a gander.

    You can read these poems at

    And to finish...


    A friend of mine overheard his daughter tell her pals that she and her sister had a kitten each.

    "How did you persuade your dad to let you have one each?" asked a pal.

    "Easy," replied his daughter.

    "We started off asking for a pony and let him negotiate us down to a kitten each."

    And that's it for now and hope you all have a good weekend :-)