My London Journal

My London Journal
View from Westminster Abbey

Sunday, 19 August 2007

July 23: National Library & National Archives of Scotland

National Library of Scotland

The National Library houses the John Murray archive. John Murray established the John Murray Publishing House in 1768 and it continued for several generations. The archive includes correspondence with authors such as Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Charles Darwin and David Livingstone. The Library also has a wonderful, interactive exhibit that takes the visitor back in time, but also includes touch-screen technology. It is a fascinating look into the literary world.

National Archives of Scotland

We were blown away by the items that we were shown at this facility. First, we were given some basic information: The purpose of the archive is house the records of Scotland. It was established in 1174 and the building stone was laid in the 1780's. It is famous for the Adam Dome, named after its architect. The archive is open to the public. The collection dates from the 12th century to the present. New developments include an online catalog, and electronic ordering system, access to Scottish wills, "virtual volumes," digitization of Church of Scotland records, and an image projector (digital) for commercial purposes.

Most memorable items we were allowed to see:

  • the first recorded record of whiskey (1490's)
  • a letter Marie Antoinette wrote to her family

Wow! Besides wonderful hospitality, we saw amazing things: Marie Antoinette's letter home, first recorded reference to whiskey in 1494.

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