Sixteenth report of the General Board of Directors of
Prisons in Scotland (1854)
This report is a very interesting read on the state of
the prison service in Scotland.I have
onlypicked out a few informative
Library -“The Chaplain reports that the books in the library,
consisting of standard popular and instructive works, well adapted to incite
and gratify a desire for mental, moral and religious improvement, are read with
advantage and are in good order.Every
prisoner who can read is supplied once a week with a religious and secular
Exercising -The average time for exercise is 72 minutes daily.The exercise pattern has been changed from the 7th November and the
prisoners that were to be kept in strict separate confinement no longer walk in
single file or wear masks.
Rules for the Governor -No. 27 “He shall see that the Prison is at all times
quite secure ; and shall not allow any trees to grow against any of the walls…”
Uniforms -The male dress consisted of a “jacket, waistcoat, with
sleeves, trowsers [sic] shirt, pocket handkerchief, shoes and stockings,
neck-handkerchief and cap when necessary, a belt, (when the prisoner has been
in the habit of wearing one.In winter serge
drawers, and the waistcoat to be lined with serge, and for those who require
it, an under waistcoat of serge.”
The female dress was “striped shortgown, twilled cotton
under petticoat, blue plaiding under petticoat, bodice of stout twilled cotton,
shift, pocket handkerchief, shoes and stockings, neckerchief, cap when
necessary, other necessary articles.In
winter a drugget upper petticoat , instead of a cotton one.”
Sickness -In total 96 persons have been placed on the sick list out
of these forty seven have been “seriously and dangerously ill, and forty nine
more slightly.”In total 9 prisoners died
from various illnesses- such as consumption, progressive general paralysis (a
disease to which the insane are peculiarly liable) and a severe nose bleed.
However, there was an incidence of diarrhoea in the prison but out of all the inmates only two died and these “were those of two Insane prisoners, who obstinately refused all medical assistance.”
The United Nations Library to commemorate the 70th anniversary has produced a website
70 years, 70 documents
presenting an exploration of the seventy key documents that have shaped the United Nations and our world.
I recently put together a display in the National Library of Scotland demonstrating the range and depth of the library's Official Publications collection. I chose to do this by selecting one year, in this case 1948. UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948 in Paris and I chose to include this in the display. It also appears in the UN's 70 years, 70 documents as the key document for that year.
We are now in the official run up to the 2015 General Election. Find out what will happen if the election results in a hung parliament.
This is when the election results in no single political party winning an overall majority in the House of Commons, this is also known as a situation of no overall control.
This is from
the minutes of evidence taken upon the second reading of the bill intituled
“An Act for
dissolving the Marriage of John Worrall, Esquire, with Sophia Mariner his now
wife, and for enabling him to marry again; and for other purposes therein
Jackson was called in and having being sworn, was examined as follows:
Are you the wife of Mr Abraham Jackson of Leeds?
known Mr and Mrs Worrall?
Did you ever
live in the Family, or were you employed as their Washerwoman?
employed as their Washerwoman.
remember Mr Sanderson coming to the house?
"Did he visit
while Mr Worrell was away?
remember Mrs Worrell going away?
being in the family way by Mr Sanderson”
As an aside,
whilst reading the minutes, I noticed that when a woman was called to give
evidence she was asked if she was the wife of whomever, but when a man was
called he was never asked if he was a husband of somebody.
Report from the Committee on Employment of Boys in Sweeping
of Chimnies [sic] : together with the minutes of evidence taken before the
Committee andan appendix.
House of Lords paper 16 Vol. XCI 1817
This report is "to examine the several petitions which have been
presented to the House against the employment of boys in sweeping chimnies."
The minutes are quite harrowing to read as they describe the
treatment of the boys in this trade, the age of the children going up the
chimneys can be as young as a four year old, the deformities, the diseases and
the ill treatment are dreadful.The following
are some extracts from the minutes.
One of the questions from the minutes of evidence is “Had
you any information how often they were washed, or if any care was taken that
they should be washed, by those persons who were not considered as respectable masters?
– We found that among the less respectable class of chimney sweepers the boys
were taken to the New River of a Sunday morning in the summer season. “
The same question was asked about the winter months the
answer was “we had reason to fear there was not, and which would account for the
disorders generated by remaining longer that the week in their filthy garments.”The main disorder was a cancer that affected
the scrotum, known as sooty warts!
One respectable chimney master states that in cold weather
they do let the boys wash in warm water.
The chimney sweeps would have sores, bruises, wounds and
burns on their thighs and knees and “sometimes they get burnt by chimnes
partly on fire”.If a boy is unwilling
to go up a chimney the masters will use a rod or the threat of being sent back
to their home. They use pins in the feet to force the boy up the chimney. Apparently
they don’t light straw under them to encourage them to go up the chimney,
although one person has heard of a case that they do.They have deformities of the spine, legs and
arms and once they have grown too big for the job they are cast out without
being taught a trade or having any other means to make a living.
I found a beautiful little book in our Official Publications Indian paper collection
called "Bird friends and foes of the farmer."
The author a Mr P. Susainathan has devoted years to the
observation of bird life.In the preface
it states ”It is unnecessary to
emphasize the extent to which birds affect all those engaged in farming : but
apart from their importance to the agriculturist in this respect they are of
absorbing interest in themselves.We all
need recreation of some kind”
I particularly like the Shrikes or Butcher-birds. This bird
impales its prey on acacia and cactus thorns before commencing to make a meal
of it.This bird is beneficial to the
Another bird is the Hoopoes which like rubbish heaps and
termite mounds!The call of this bird
resembles the sound “Hoop-hoop” repeatedly.This bird should be encouraged and protected as its love of eating
insects helps to reduce the dreaded mosquito.
A bird which is also
useful to the farmer and people is the vulture, in particular the smaller White Scavenger Vulture
which is a foul feeder on human excreta and dead animals. This bird should be
encouraged in towns and villages.However, the parrot family includes a number of bird-pests to
agriculture which are a constant menace to standing crops!
This little book full of information and illustrations can
be found at IP/25/AD.1.
Today marks the 70th year of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human
rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein issued the following statement to mark this International Day of Commemoration in
Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.
“Seventy years ago on this forever
solemn day, Auschwitz-Birkenau – the largest killing centre of the Nazi
concentration camps – was finally liberated.
We continue to be haunted by the fate
of the millions of Jewish men, women and children, as well as Roma, Poles,
Soviet prisoners of war and other prisoners and deportees from all over Europe,
people with disabilities, homosexuals, and dissidents, who suffered and were
killed by this ghastly extermination machine. The memory of well over a million
Jewish children, and thousands of other children, who were put to death is
particularly unbearable. Both personally and as a representative of the United
Nations, I bow to every woman, man and child who was forced to endure such
The Charter of the United Nations –
which also commemorates its 70th anniversary this year – was shaped in response
to the atrocities of the Holocaust and the Second World War. The Charter seeks
to establish a new "vision of what the world should be". It should be
a world in which all people are able to exercise their human rights in freedom,
dignity and equality, in full accordance with international human rights law.
And yet the toxic influences of
discrimination and racial and ethnic hatred can still be felt among us, and the
catalogue of atrocities runs on and on.
Discrimination and hatred kill and
wound thousands of people. They also harm each one of us. They negate the
wonderful diversity of individuals and cultures within our shared membership of
humanity, and our fundamental and universal human rights.
In memory of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, and the pain that many
others have since endured, I believe that it is urgent for us all to strengthen
our moral courage. We must resist discrimination of every kind so that all may
live in liberty, with respect, equality and justice. “
Slessor died 100 years ago on the 13 Jan 1915 aged 67.
She was a Scottish missionary to Nigeria.
checked the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers database to see if she was
mentioned and found the following information.
was called and examined on Friday 21st May 1909 to give evidence for the report
of the Committee of Inquiry into the Liquor Trade in Southern Nigeria (Command
are quite a few gruesome facts she mentions in the inquiry and one example is
about the ordeal of oil, which she could see from her window every morning.
they had had a big drunk [sic.] the night before, and had all got headaches in the
morning, and were accusing their wives of all sorts of things, and they have the
ordeal to find out the guilty ones…"Then somebody takes a ladle of boiling oil
and pours it into their hands, and of course they run away screaming. .. if the
oil burnt down in this way (describing) there was no palaver, but if it did not
they were found guilty.”
they were found guilty “They were tied up with a stake with thorns on it, and
with the bones of a tiger, and trussed up close, and their legs tied close
together with the stick of thorns in between.” she mentioned “This was a thing
of daily occurrence, and that it was caused by drink.”
can read the full report in the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers database listed
digital collections.This is freely
available to readers in Scotland with a National Library of Scotland readers
ticket.Or you can read the original
command paper which can be found at the shelfmark P.P. 1909 vol. ix Cd 4907.
Launched 2 years ago, GOV.UK brings together government services and information online. As the first ever single domain for government, it replaced DirectGov, Business Link and over 250 separate department and agency websites.
The top 3 most visited pages are find a job, renew your vehicle tax, and calculate your state pension.
You have an opportunity to have your say and respond to the Commission directly via their website from the 13th October 2014.
The terms of reference for the Commission are:
To convene cross-party talks and facilitate an inclusive engagement process across Scotland to produce, by 30 November 2014, Heads of Agreement with recommendations for further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament. This process will be informed by a Command Paper, to be published by 31 October and will result in the publication of draft clauses by 25 January. The recommendations will deliver more financial, welfare and taxation powers, strengthening the Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom.
Now available through the National Library of Scotland.
A full-text collection of 2,360 formerly classified U.S. government documents (most of them classified Top Secret or higher) which provides readers with the declassified documentary record about the successes and failures of the U.S. intelligence community in its efforts to spy on the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Details on how to access this resource can be found on the NLS Website
Churchill resigned from the House of Commons 50 years ago.He
started in the House of Commons in 1900 as a Conservative Member of Parliament
for Oldham.He was Prime Minister twice
1940-1945 and then 1951-1955.In 1959 he
was given the title Father of the House (the member with the longest continuous
the 28th July 1964 the then Prime Minister (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) said “ I beg to move, That this House desires to take this
opportunity of marking the forthcoming retirement of the right honourable
Gentleman the Member for Woodford by putting on record its unbounded
admiration and gratitude for his services to Parliament, to the nation and to
the world; remembers, above all, his inspiration of the British people when
they stood alone, and his leadership until victory was won; and offers its
grateful thanks to the right honourable Gentleman for these outstanding
services to this House and to the nation.”
thought I would check Hansard for some of his speeches from World War I and
from World War II.An example of one of
the many hundreds of speeches he gave in the House of Commons is on the 27th
November 1914 as the First Lord of the Admiralty where he states “But even if
we were single-handed, as we were in the days of the Napoleonic wars, we should
have no reason to despair of our capacity-no doubt we should suffer discomfort
and privation and loss-but we should have no reason to despair of our capacity
to go on indefinitely, drawing our supplies from wherever we needed them, and
transporting our troops wherever we required them, and to continue this process
with a strength which would grow stronger with each month the War continued
until, in the end, and perhaps not at any very distant date, the purposes for
which we are fighting are achieved.”
one of the most famous speeches he made to the House of Commons on the 20th
August 1940 was “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so
many to so few. All hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant
actions we see with our own eyes day after day....”
In my last post I mentioned
an EDM (Early Day Motion), EDMs are formal motions submitted for debate in the
House of Commons.Actually very few will
be debated but the EDM’s allow MPs to highlight an event or a cause.MPs can register their support by signing the
There was an early day motion
no. 341 submitted to parliament on the 12th September 2014 by Mike Crockart
about Dr. Elsie Inglis and the Scottish Women’s hospitals.
House celebrates the bravery, achievements and hard work of Dr Elsie Inglis and
the other women who set up and served in the Scottish Women’s Hospitals;
recognises that the Scottish Women’s Hospitals became one of the best medical
initiatives of World War One; acknowledges that these hospitals were set up
despite a severe lack of support from the British War Office; estimates that
the hospitals saved the lives of tens of thousands of people all in countries
such as Serbia, Belgium, France, Russia, Romania, Corsica, Corfu and Greece;
notes that the 14 women’s hospitals with a staff of over 1,000 women make up a
remarkable, yet unrecognised part of our history; further notes that whilst Dr
Inglis and the other women who served in these hospitals are recognised as
heroes in Serbia, their work and achievements are barely recognised in the UK
outside of Dr Inglis’ adopted home of Edinburgh; welcomes the proposal by
Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation to recognise the work of Dr Elsie
Inglis and her compatriots by establishing a training fund in the name of Dr
Elsie Inglis for staff to access courses which may not be available through NHS
Lothian; further recognises 16 August 2014 will be the 150th anniversary of the
birth of this medical pioneer, suffragist, and First World War heroine; and
strongly believes that during the centenary year of the outbreak of the First
World War, the work of the brave women who served in these hospitals should be
properly recognised and celebrated.”
I was interested in reading what the House of Commons and Lords said in Hansard on the 5th August 1914 about
the European War as it was called.
House of Commons Hansard vol.65 1914
Prime Minister…Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs- a note
of which the following is a literal translation: “Belgian Government
regret to have to inform His Majesty's Government that this morning armed
forces of Germany penetrated into Belgian territory in violation of engagements
assumed by treaty. Belgian Government
are further resolved to resist by all means in their power. Belgium appeals to
Great Britain and France and Russia to co-operate, as guarantors, in defence of
her territory. There would be concerted and common action with the object of
resisting the forcible measures employed by Germany against Belgium, and at the
same time of guarding the maintenance for future of the
independence and integrity of Belgium…”
The House of Lords Hansard vol. 17 1914
The Marquis of Crewe
He reiterated what the House of Commons said about Belgium
but then carried on to say …That is all, my Lords, that I have to say at this
moment upon the general situation. But on the particular
points of the situation as it affects us here in our daily life and the financial
situation in this country, I desire to say one or two words. During the last
few days the Government have been conferring at great length with the most
important representatives of finance and commerce in the country, including
representatives of bankers, bill brokers, the Stock Exchange, discount houses,
and also with an almost complete representation of all the great industries of
the country-textile, iron, docks, and the rest; and I can say that we have
found an absolutely universal desire among those representatives of great
interests to combine so far as possible to meet the crisis which has arisen, in
the interests of the country at large. … Our main object has been that the normal
life of the country should be carried on with as little displacement as is
possible in the unprecedented circumstances in which we are placed, more
especially as they affect the wage-earning classes. We found that both the
financiers, speaking in the widest sense, and the captains of industry have
been absolutely of one mind in determining that so far as possible things shall
pursue their normal course, and that, so far as they are able to ensure it,
money shall be forthcoming to meet the ordinary needs and concerns of life. We
found that the great manufacturers are steady in determination to keep their
works open so far as is possible for them, contemplating, no doubt, that in
some cases they would be on short time, but with the resolve that so far as
possible men or women should not be altogether thrown out of employment. They
are prepared to do this even at the risk of accumulating stocks for which there
may be no obvious market at the moment, and I am sure the House will agree that
that is a most honourable and a most helpful determination on their part.
To read both statements you can find them either at GHC.5 for
the House of Commons Hansard and GHL.5 for the House of Lords Hansard or see
the electronic versions online, if you are a registered reader, in our licensed
Seventy years ago the Hansard Society was founded amidst the turbulence of world war. With the country facing what our founder, Sir Stephen King-Hall MP, described as ‘a life and death struggle for the preservation of parliamentary democracy’, he established the organisation to ‘promote future knowledge of, and interest in, Parliament and parliamentary institutions’.
June 6th 1944 Churchill addressed the House of Commons. He detailed successes in both Italy and the initial successes of the landings on Norman beaches by the huge allied liberating armies.
His speech can be viewed on the TheyWorkForYou site
You can also access Hansard from 1803-2005 via the National Library of Scotland's website if you live in Scotland and you have a library card. It is listed underlicensed digital collections and contained in the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers database.
Today is the State Opening of Parliament heralding the first day of a new parliamentary session at Westminster. More information can be found on the UK Parliament website. Compare todays event with this Pathe News footage from 1958.
Official Publications in the National Library of Scotland
Welcome to our blog! We are curators of the Official Publications collection in the National Library of Scotland (we have over 2 million government and government-related publications). You can find out more about who we are and what's in our collections on our web pages. Meantime, check our blog regularly for our posts on the latest publications, news, events, or anything we find interesting - you may be surprised!