Edinburgh Napier University

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Bonfire Night and The Gunpowder Plot

Bonfire Night and The Gunpowder Plot

According to market research Company Mintel, in 2018 UK consumers spent £316m celebrating the event variously called, `Bonfire Night’, ‘Fireworks Night’ or `Guy Fawkes Night’. The majority of that money literally went up in smoke, having been spent on fireworks and bonfires. Fireworks displays were recorded as the most popular way of marking the night, with up to 38% of the population attending some form of event. 

The Gunpowder Plot

This peculiarly British annual entertainment can be traced directly to the aftermath of a 17th Century religious and political event. The Gunpowder Plot was a failed conspiracy by a group of English Catholics. Led by Robert Catesby, they planned to blow up the Protestant King James, and his government, at the State Opening of Parliament on November 6th 1605. (Catesby had been involved in a previously failed rebellion against Queen Elizabeth from which he extricated himself only at the cost in today’s money of £6 million.) 

This was to be the prelude to a revolt that would replace James with a Catholic head of state. Ending the persecution suffered by many Catholics following the split with the Roman Church over half a century previously. 

Guy Fawkes

Though we now principally associate the name of Guy Fawkes with the plot, he was a minor player in the conspiracy. He was, however, literally left holding ‘the baby’ or in this case 36 barrels of gunpowder when, following an anonymous tip-off, the authorities searched the cellars of the Palace of Westminster and discovered the explosive cache. 

This ‘search’ continues today before every State Opening of Parliament, albeit ceremonially, with the searchers, the Yeoman of the Guard, being rewarded with a glass of port.  

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Black History Month

Black History Month

October marks Black History Month in the United Kingdom.

Known as the ‘Father of Black History, Carter Godwin Woodson brought forward the celebration of Black History in 1926 in the United States. Initially, it was the second week of February, as Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass celebrated their birthdays. But in February 1969, at Kent State University, it was proposed that it should be a whole month and the first Black History Month was celebrated at Kent State a year later.  President Gerald Ford became the first President to recognise Black History Month in 1976.

Black History Month in the United Kingdom

Black History Month was first celebrated in the United Kingdom in October 1987. That year marked the 150th anniversary of Caribbean emancipation, the centenary birth of Jamaican political activist Marcus Garvey and the 25th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity. October also coincides with the start of the Academic year. It was seen as an opportunity to bring in mainstream education. As organiser Akyaaba Abdai-Sebo recalled

I was stirred up in the mid-1980s by the identity crisis that Black children faced. A crisis of identity faced us squarely despite the Race Awareness campaigns of the Greater London Council and the Inner London Education Authority. More had to be done and so I conceived an annual celebration of the contributions of Africa, Africans, and people of African descent to world civilisationSource Link

At first, there was a focus on Black American History, but the emphasis shifted to ‘recognise the contributions and achievements of those with African or Caribbean heritage in the UK (BBC)

Decolonising our Collections

Here at the Library, all our Librarians are working hard to decolonise and improve the diversity of our Library collections. We realise the importance and significance of the work we need to do here at the Library. Not just when celebrating Black History Month but all year round to make our Library inclusive to all.

You can see some newly added books on our BIPOC virtual bookshelf.

More Information

Remember to check out our library/book displays at each campus site.

You can find out more including details on all the events that are taking place across the country at:

https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/

Also, check out our Library catalogue for more information on Black history and to see new titles we have added.

By Maya Green

National Poetry Day 6th October

National Poetry Day 6th October

Today is National Poetry Day. An annual celebration whose aim is to celebrate excellence in poetry and to increase its audience. Poetry is a vital service, according to the statistics. The National Literacy Trust tells us that in 2020 66.5% of children and young people agreed that writing poetry made them feel better during lockdown. Furthermore, in the same year sales of poetry books rose by 33% in October. And a report by Runnymede Trust and Penguin Random House found that poetry is the most common way for secondary students to encounter a Black, Asian or other minority ethnic author.

The NPD was founded in 1994, but poetry itself is as old as humanity. It may, in fact, be our oldest form of artistic expression; it certainly predates literacy. The word poetry comes from the ancient Greek poieo meaning “I create”, and humans have been creating down the centuries, using poetry to articulate every emotion as well as to record oral histories, and important events, to entertain and to offer prayer.

Do you know your haiku from your limerick? Your ode from your epic? There are dozens of different types of poetry. You’ve probably had a go at a few of them yourself, and if you’d like to participate in this year’s celebration, see here:

Events – National Poetry Day

Library Resources for National Poetry Day

Of course, we have a huge range of poetry resources that you can access via LibrarySearch.

LibrarySearch Library Catalogue 

We have books on how to read it, how to write it, how the greats do it, and why it matters. We also have access to the Poetry Archive which houses recordings of poets reading their own work out loud. It features the works of contemporary poets alongside historic records of Seamus Heaney, W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot and many others.  Of course, we may be biased, but we believe that one of the best poems within the archive, is Library Ology, written and presented by Benjamin Zephaniah. You can listen to it here:

Library Ology – Poetry Archive

Or how about checking out Poets on Screen, a library of 879 video clips of poets reading their own and other poets’ work. We may be biased, but we love this tender and moving poem – The Keepsake – written and read here by Fleur Adcock (spoiler alert – it features witty librarian jargon).

The Keepsake Read by Fleur Adcock – Literature Online – ProQuest

Learn more about the power of reading in our post on International Literacy Day.

By Lesley McRobb

 

Image source: Unsplash Álvaro Serrano

Bridges of Scotland

Bridges of Scotland

On the 30th of August, it will be 5 years since the Queensferry Crossing opened. If you have ever travelled to Fife and beyond by car then you will have crossed it! This lifeline artery was built as a replacement for the old Forth Road Bridge which was beginning to suffer from corrosion in the suspension cables. This resulted in a loss of strength with weakening calculated to accelerate. This would result in traffic restrictions to limit loading and would impact heavily on tourism, logistics and commuting from Fife, Perth, Aberdeen, Dundee and the Highlands. In 2007 Transport Scotland decided to proceed with a replacement bridge. Known as the Forth Replacement Crossing, the bridge was finally named in 2013 following a public vote with Queensferry Crossing receiving the most votes. Scotland has many interesting and attractive bridges and here are a few you may be interested in:

Sluggan Bridge

Remote from a town or village this tall bridge over the River Dulnain seems quite out of place to modern eyes, but at one point this was part of General Wade’s military road and a vital crossing. Originally the crossing was merely a ford, but a two-arch bridge was built in the 1760s. This was swept away in a flood in 1829 and was replaced in the 1830s with the single-span bridge you can see now. Major repairs were carried out to the bridge in 2001/02 by Sustrans as part of the National Cycle Network Route 7. Sluggan Bridge is category A listed and a scheduled monument. The Wade Road is an ancient right of way.

Craigellachie Bridge

This elegant bridge spanning the River Spey is the oldest surviving iron bridge in Scotland. Built between 1812 and 1815 it was designed by the world-famous engineer Thomas Telford. Telford allowed for floods and the bridge withstood a major flood in 1829 when the Spey rose by 4.7 meters. The spandrels are formed of diamond lattice to form a delicate design. The castellated towers that decorate the abutments are hollow with false arrow slits. The bridge, with minor modifications, continued in use until 1963–64 and was bypassed and closed to vehicles in 1972 when its pre-stressed concrete replacement just downstream, was opened. Craigellachie Bridge is now an outstanding historical and scenic amenity used by pedestrians and cyclists.

Forth Bridge

This iconic bridge is sometimes referred to as the Forth Rail Bridge, but that’s not its official name. It spans the Forth estuary carrying the railway lines connecting the north and south of Scotland, and when it opened it was the world’s longest single-span cantilever bridge. The first design to be approved for a rail bridge across the Forth was by Thomas Bouch. This design was abandoned following the Tay Bridge disaster because that bridge had also been designed by Bouch. In the end, the design by John Fowler and Benjamin Baker was chosen and the bridge opened in 1890. At the busiest point in construction, 4000 men were employed; unfortunately, 57 men died. The bridge carries 200 trains each day and 3 million passengers each year. In 2015 the bridge was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in its 125th anniversary year.

Skye Bridge

The short 500m crossing between Skye and the Scottish mainland was made by ferry until the Skye Bridge opened in 1995. The bridge is a concrete arch supported by 2 piers and it is 2.4 km long with the main arch being 35m high. Although the bridge is free to cross now, this was not always the case. The bridge was built with private rather than government funding. This meant that the private company that owned the completed bridge could charge a toll to cross it. This charge applied to locals and tourists alike which meant that whenever an islander needed to access services or visit family on the mainland, they had to pay the toll. A campaign group SKAT (Skye and Kyle Against Tolls) was set up and in 2004 the Scottish Government purchased the bridge and abolished the tolls. The bridge has made Skye much more accessible and in recent years this has caused a large increase in tourism due to exposure on tv programmes promoting the outdoors and the historical fantasy series Outlander. Islanders now complain of rubbish being dumped, busy roads and erosion of paths due to the large numbers visiting Skye.

Scotland’s newest bridge-Lossiemouth East Beach Bridge

The town of Lossiemouth in Moray relied heavily on fishing and when the industry fell into decline in the 1970s the town began to rely on tourism. There are many lovely walks and interesting attractions to visit in the area, but the town’s biggest asset is the several miles long sandy East Beach. With pristine sands and a large dune system, the beach was well used by tourists and in recent years supported a surf school. But in order to get to the beach, the estuary of the River Lossie had to be crossed. Access was by an old wooden bridge and in 2019 a member of the public reported hearing a loud crack as they crossed it. The bridge was surveyed, and it was decided it was a risk to the public, so it was permanently closed. This was devastating to local tourism with shops and hospitality businesses reporting large falls in trade and cancellations of bookings. The estimated collective annual cost of closure was £1.5 million. However, help was to come from an unexpected source. When the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020, the UK government put financial help packages in place for hotels, restaurants and shops across the country. This ensured that Lossiemouth’s businesses were protected not only from the effects of the pandemic but from the loss of its biggest tourist attraction.

Meanwhile a tendering process was carried out and eventually, preparation works for a new bridge began in November 2021. The new bridge was completed in April 2022 and was officially opened in May. If you would like to see the bridge, beach and do some people watching, then click here.

 

You can use Library Search to find books and articles on more bridges of Scotland, bridge construction and tourism pressures.

By Vivienne Hamilton

The history of Sighthill Campus

A lot has changed since John Napier was born in the tower at Merchiston Castle in 1550, during turbulent times for Scotland.

Times are still a little turbulent… but what would Napier think of our modern-day university campuses?

As you may know, Edinburgh Napier has 3 campus locations – at Merchiston, Craiglockhart and Sighthill. Not long after being renamed Edinburgh Napier university in 2009 (previously Napier University), the University opened its brand new £60m Sighthill campus in 2011.

 

 

Sighthill campus

Sighthill Campus, photograph from Edinburgh Napier Image Bank

 

Situated in the west of Edinburgh, sights of Sighthill include Burton’s biscuit company, Edinburgh Beer Factory, Edinburgh College  and of course our own Edinburgh Napier Sighthill Campus.

More than 5000 students choose to study at Sighthill campus, which houses the School of Health and Social Care (SHSC) and the School of Applied Sciences (SAS).

Applied sciences courses include Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Marine Biology and Conservation, as well as Sport Sciences, Social Sciences, Psychology, Policing and Careers Guidance. Facilities include Sport and exercise science labs, biotech labs and an environmental chamber to simulate high altitude conditions!

Health and Social care courses include Nursing, Midwifery, Allied Health professions and Social Work, as well as Health & Social Care Sciences. Step inside and you’ll find a 1000 sq metre Clinical skills centre with hospital wards, where students can treat ‘patients’ in a life-like setting.

https://www.napier.ac.uk/about-us/our-location/our-campuses/sighthill

 

 

image of nurse and training dummy

Nursing, photograph from Edinburgh Napier Image Bank

 

The opening of the 2011 Sighthill campus, with its brand new 5 storey Learning Resource Centre library, meant the bringing together of staff from a number of small ‘school of health’ libraries at Livingston St John’s hospital, Canaan Lane campus which was on the grounds of the Astley Ainslie Hospital and Comely Bank campus which was situated within the Western General Hospital’s grounds.

However, Edinburgh Napier was present at Sighthill long before 2011!

Sighthill Campus was originally opened in 1968 as custom-built accommodation for Edinburgh College of Commerce. The Edinburgh Corporation established the college in 1966 and subjects taught here would have included management and business studies – which you will now find at Craiglockhart campus!

In 1974, Edinburgh College of Commerce was amalgamated with Napier College of Science & Technology – and Napier College of Commerce & Technology was born. In 1986, Napier College became Napier Polytechnic, and then Napier University in 1992.

 

Notably, in 1984, her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Duke of Edinburgh came to Sighthill campus to open the newly refurbished library! The library was given the apt name of ‘The Queens Library’.

 

 

Image of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to open Sighthill Library

Queen Elizabeth II opened Sighthill Library

 

 

Our present-day Sighthill LRC has a range of study environments fit for any royalty 👑 👑 👑!.

Across 5 floors, we have around 300 networked computers, spaces for laptops, study booths and collaborative desks for group work.

Our book collections are spread across the 3rd and 4th floors, with group study rooms, silent study areas and a relaxation space also available.

You can also borrow laptops from our LapSafe or ask for help at our Help Desk on LRC2.

Want to know more? Find out here.

 

Sources:

https://www.napier.ac.uk/about-us/our-history

https://www.napier.ac.uk/about-us/our-location/our-campuses/sighthill

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edinburgh_Napier_University

https://my.napier.ac.uk/library/about-the-library/sighthill

Seath, G. (2017). Beyond Logarithms & Bones: A short history of John Napier and his legacy.

The Napier Estate: past and present. (2007). Napier University.

 

By Judy Wheeler

Edinburgh’s First Commonwealth Games

Edinburgh’s First Commonwealth Games

The 22nd Commonwealth Games begin in Birmingham this month and are expected to be the largest yet staged.

Edinburgh has played host to the games twice. The first of these in 1970, the 9th British Commonwealth Games, was the first major multi-sport event ever staged in Scotland.

The Commonwealth Games Newsletters: A Fantastic Insight

The Library through the JSTOR database has access to an archive of the official newsletters published in the lead-up to those games.

These give a fascinating insight into the organisational efforts required to stage the games, reflect the excitement the games generated, and highlight some of the societal and technological changes we have witnessed since.

In addition to the nearly £4 million capital sum spent on creating the major venues, a general appeal was launched to fund the games with an initial target of £200,000.  The newsletters tell us that contributions received ranged from a single 3d (1.5p) stamp from an anonymous donor to £25000 from both Edinburgh and Glasgow Corporations. Dinner dances, whist drives, and fashion shows are all reported as helping to swell the coffers as the games approached.

For a celebration of athleticism, a donation of £1000 from a cigarette manufacturer may raise eyebrows today but was received without qualms at that time.

Donations in kind were also received. One fuel company offered to provide 10000 gallons of petrol for the official vehicles. How much would that be worth at today’s prices?

The vehicles were supplied by solid British manufacturers including Leyland and Rootes and volunteer drivers were recruited. Specific mention is made of the 20 “lady drivers” provided by the Edinburgh Junior Chambers of Commerce Wives Group.

Tickets could be purchased by post, or in person at the official ticket outlet, R W Forsyth’s, one of Princes Street’s leading stores.

In true Scottish fashion, the January newsletter tells us, “Telephone bookings cannot be entertained, as orders must be accompanied by the appropriate costs before tickets can be released”.

So, Nae cash! Nae ticket!

Edinburgh’s First Commonwealth Games

A day at the bowls arena cost 7/- 6d (38p) but a hefty £4 was required for prime seating at the closing ceremony, though there was an unreserved open-air seating option at 15/- (75p). Comparable seats at Birmingham are priced at £290

Edinburgh’s first Commonwealth Games Pin Badge

Teams were housed in a “Games village” at Edinburgh University’s Pollok Halls. It was reported that the catering subcommittee was “evolving Eastern and Western menus”, and one-third of the dishes were “non-British in origin”. However, haggis, porridge, and Scotch broth would be available as “novelties’’.

A very precise 42/- 3d (£2.11) per day was allocated to feed the competitors but no one would be “refused seconds”. It was also noted that washing and toilet facilities would be available on every floor of the accommodation!

Modernism was creeping in. The games were the first to be measured in metric, so 400 metres replaced 440 yards etc. They were also the first with electronic timing and backstage at the weightlifting a “unique scoreboard with writing in light” was specifically mentioned. CCTV was also introduced so that competitors did not have to join the audience to watch their rivals in action.

Whilst upward of a “million paper photocopies” were to be provided for the press there was heavy emphasis placed on modern telecommunications. 500 extra private telephone/telex circuits were being installed, along with 200 new public telephones, including 12 in a bus for use on the cycle road race. Unfortunately, the mechanics of this latter operation are not elaborated on, but the concept of the mobile phone would appear to be not that new.

Events would also be broadcast on TV in colour, though the latter had only arrived in Scotland the previous December and was not yet that widespread.

Whilst today we take for granted many aspects involved in organising major sporting events, these newsletters reflect the remarkable nature of many of the preparations back then.

At an estimated £778 million it would certainly require many successful whilst drives to help assuage the costs of the 2022 games.

I wonder however if that same palpable sense of excitement at the ‘new’ evident from these newsletters can be duplicated in Birmingham.

Further reading

IXth British Commonwealth Games Newsletters

Sport in History Article

Remembering “The Forgotten Games”: A Reinterpretation of the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games

Boycotts and Bailouts

By John Baillie

Read more History on our blog:

Check out this article by John on Bonfire Night

Happy Fourth of July Independence Day🎉

Happy Fourth of July Independence Day🎉

Also referred to as Independence Day, the Fourth of July marks the anniversary of the then 13 colonies declaring independence from the British crown. It has a rich history of celebrations throughout the United States.

On July 2nd 1776, the then continental congress voted for independence. Consequently, two days later the 13 colonies adopted the declaration of independence. Thomas Jefferson famously drafted the document. The Fourth of July has been celebrated ever since. Fun fact, as it was the 2nd of July that congress passed the decision on Independence, future President John Adams refused to celebrate American independence on the fourth of July and marked celebrations on the second. He would die fifty years later on July 4th 1826 (History.com).

Celebrations range from family barbecues to street parades. In addition, firework displays are notorious and have been part of celebrations since 1777, with the first reported in Philadelphia. Early celebrations included having mock funerals for King George III, and the firing of muskets and cannons.  These were followed up by a public reading of the declaration of independence (History.com). In 1870, it was recognised by Congress as a federal holiday, although it was not until 1941, that it would be a paid holiday for federal employees. It was in the late 19th century with the rise of leisure time that family get-togethers and barbecues became more common celebrations (History.com)

Whatever you are doing this year have a happy fourth of July Independence Day!

Read about other celebrations on our blog such as St.Patricks Day and Chinese New Year

Want to learn more about American History? Try Librarysearch.napier.ac.uk for all sorts of information. Need to know how to use it? Read our Guide here.

By Maya Green

Photo by Paul Weaver on Unsplash

 

 

 

World Music Day 2022 🎵

World Music Day 2022: Fête de la Musique

Is there anything better than when your favourite song comes on? Whatever grey clouds are there, good music brings a little bit of sunshine. And that’s what World Music Day 2022 🎵 is all about.  An annual celebration that occurs every 21st of June, originating in France.

The first ever World Music Day took place in Paris in 1982, organised by the Minister of Culture for France. Its objective was to promote music by encouraging amateur and professional musicians to perform in the streets and organising free concerts to make more music accessible. Since it first began, over 130 countries have taken part in celebrations, as well as over 1000 cities worldwide.

Why not try out some World music events right here in Edinburgh this summer! Check out what’s on here.

Resources for World Music Day 2022 🎵

The library has a wide range of musical databases that celebrate musical talent which you can find at our LibGuides

Or search for the vast amount of music scores and CDs available through LibrarySearch 

And of course, our Spotify account!

SO why not spend this day wrapped up in music? Listen to all your favourite songs and dance like no one is watching!

By Maya Green

Find out more about what the Library has to offer over the summer here.

Photo by C D-X on Unsplash

Refugee Week 2022

Refugee Week : 20th-26th June 2022

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word refugee originates from two Latin words: “fugere” meaning to flee and “refugium” – a place to flee back to. But specifically, the word refugee was first noted in 1685. It referred to the 50,000 Huguenots, French Protestants who fled religious intolerance in their home country.

There are no identifiable Huguenots today, but that’s the point about refugees – as local, national and global circumstances change, so do the movement of people and the labels we attach to them. Wherever there is war, famine, natural disasters or a clampdown on human rights, there will be refugees.

So, there have been refugees since there have been established human communities around the world, but it wasn’t until 1951 that there was an international standard on how to treat them. The Refugee Convention defined a refugee as someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted.

A refugee’s journey can be long, dangerous and highly publicised, but in fact, most refugees don’t travel far. Most stay in neighbouring countries until it’s safe enough for them to return home. Those who travel the furthest often feel the most alienated and are often least welcome in their host countries.  With this in mind, Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival that celebrates the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.

Refugee Week 2022 this year

This year’s festival runs from 22th-26th June. Its theme is healing – a celebration of community, mutual care and the human ability to start again. It will promote a programme of arts, cultural, sports and educational events alongside media and creative campaigns.

Here at Edinburgh Napier University, we have an amazing project designing refugee housing by Lara Alshawawreh. Check it out here.

In addition, if you want to get involved, please see here: https://refugeeweek.org.uk/

For more local information, get in touch with

https://www.scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk/

https://www.rst.org.uk

https://www.bikesforrefugees.scot

https://www.scottishactionforrefugees.org

In addition for information available in the library why not use librarysearch.napier.ac.uk

Need help using Librarysearch? Check out our article here.

By Lesley McRobb

Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash

Bike Week 2022: On yer bike!

Bike Week 2022: On yer bike!

No disrespect to Giovanni Fontana. I’m sure he meant well, but that bike he designed way back in 1418 really wasn’t practical.  For a start, it had 4 wheels and its gears were connected by rope. Still, he was on to something, and a mere 400 years later German baron, Karl von Drais, invented what is regarded as the first modern bicycle – or the steerable running machine as he called it. So what if it didn’t have pedals and the rider had to push it along the ground with his feet? It was the big bang of cycling – the realisation that mechanized personal transportation was a thing, and that thing was here to stay.

Not long afterwards the first pedal-driven bicycle with rear wheel drive was invented by a Scotsman – yay! He was either Kirkpatrick MacMillan or Thomas McCall. It’s been disputed since the 1860s – and that’s when cycling really started to, erm, motor.

Today, of course, bike technology is so advanced that there is a type and model for every type of cyclist, whether you’re into racing, mountain-biking, recreational weekend tootling, getting to work or just nipping down to the shops. And of course, cycling is not just a convenient way to get around, it’s healthy and good for the environment too.

According to charity, Cycling UK, British cyclists notched up 5.03 billion miles in 2020, and the trend is going up by an average of 3 billion every year.  We’re still lagging well behind our European neighbours, though.  Out of 28 countries surveyed, the UK came 25th for cycling.  So let’s all get saddled up and bump up those statistics.

Bike Week 2022

This month the national Bike Week takes place from the 6th to the 12th. To see how you can get involved, see here:

Bike Week 2022 | Cycling UK

And for more local information, check out: Edinburgh Festival of Cycling | Cycling UK

We at Edinburgh Napier are keen to promote safe cycling in and around the city.  To see what resources are available and how we can encourage you to get on your bike, please see here:

Cycling (napier.ac.uk)

By Lesley McRobb

Exercise is a great way to practise self care and get fit. For more ideas why not check out some of the books here.

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