Bookshelves and Bookmarks

I have made a catalogue of my Edinburgh and Leith local history books at Library Thing. You can view it here. I have made extensive use of these books in writing these threads and converting them to blog posts.

Some of the Leith books from my shelves.

Other invaluable sites I make heavy use of, and nearly always visit all of them before putting pen to paper or fingers to keys are listed below. I am neither an academic nor a “proper” historian, so I keep things at the level of what’s generally accessible and understandable to the lay person such as myself.

  • Free to Use (registration may be required)
    • – Need access to an old book? Search and you can probably find a free to read digitised, searchable copy of it.
    • The Books of the Old Edinburgh Club – The online, digitised Books of the Old Edinburgh Club, an annual publication by the club since 1908 covering any and every aspect of Edinburgh (and Leith) history
    • Britain from Above – an online searchable database of 95,000 high resolution aerial photography in the first half of the 20th century
    • British Library on Flickr – the BL have helpfully put masses of their PD content on Flickr making it quick and easy to search and view images.
    • Capital Collections – Edinburgh City Libraries online image collection
    • Canmore – the online image, plan and historical archive of the former Royal Commission on Historic and Ancient Monuments in Scotland
    • Dean of Guild Court – Joe Rock’s amazing Annotated Catalogue of the    Edinburgh Dean of Guild Court; Architectural Plans and Planning requests for Edinburgh and Leith from 1700 – 1824.
    • Dictionary of Scottish Architects – Does exactly what it says on the tin. Find architects, design and construction details for as much of Scotland as is known about.
    • Dictionary of the Scots Language – Online dictionary of Scots words and their meanings and derivation
    • Edinburgh Bookshelf – A searchable online, digitised collection of the most important antiquarian books on Edinburgh history
    • Grace’s Guide – an extensive Wikipedia of British industries and industrialists
    • JSTOR – The digital library of Academic Journals, and one of the few places someone without an institutional affiliation can get access to academic articles. Either create a free account or use your Google logon and you can read 100 journal papers a month for free.
    • National Galleries Scotland – the online national collection of art for Scotland
    • The National Library of Scotland eResources – Scotsman, Times and Burney historic papers archives
    • Post Office Directories – From the National Library of Scotland. Online, searchable and digitised copies of nearly every Post Office directory ever published in Scotland prior to 1920.
    • The National Library of Scotland Map Library – The best site on the internet! Endless and seamless digitised maps of Scotland (and the UK) going back to since when maps were a new thing
    • The Surnames of Scotland – Online digitised book of the meanings and history of the principal family names of Scotland
    • Tenement Town – Diarmid Mogg’s excellent stair-by-stair mini biographies of Southside Tenements makes use of many of the same tools and sources that I do, in a totally different way.
    • Virtual Mitchell – Glasgow City Libraries online image collection
  • Subscription or Payment required
    • – best used with caution due to the volume of well meaning but unsubstantiated connections on it, but again an invaluable way to do geneological research on Scottish families
    • The British Newspaper Archive – does exactly what it says on the tin (free to search but payment required for images)
    • NCAP – The National Collection of Aerial Photography of Historic Environment Scotland. Mainly UK photography, but lots worldwide too.
    • – the online archive of Historic Environment Scotland; images, sounds, films and archives of many other Scottish institutions (note, if you are the holder of a card for a Scottish council library, you can probably log on for free)
    • Scotland’s People – the online searchable database of the geneological records of the National Records of Scotland (free to search but payment required for images)

If you have found this useful, informative or amusing and would like to help contribute towards the running costs of this site (including keeping it ad-free) or to the book-buying budget, why not consider supporting me on ko-fi.