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Posts Tagged ‘fife’

I’m building up a collection of old postcards of places that are important to me. I lived in St Andrews from 1990-1994, and holidayed there most summers throughout the 1980s. And after my husband and I graduated from St Andrews University, and married soon after, we were determined that we would stay living in the near area, which we’ve managed to do.

My three latest postcards cover a range of dates from the 1920s through to the 1970s, the latter not long before I started my childhood holidays there.

The earliest, dated 1928, shows The Pends at the end of South Street, near the Cathedral. This is a pretty postcard, coloured, and has a nice note on the back.

Postcard of The Pends, St Andrews

Back of postcard of The Pends, St Andrews

Note on postcard of The Pends, St Andrews

The next chronologically, dated 1965, shows University Hall, the hall of residence on Kennedy Gardens – then for female students only – which I stayed in during 1990-1991. It shows the older part of the building, the prettier bit, not the modern wing I stayed in. I like that the postcard writer was up in St Andrews for a graduation. I wonder if the graduate had stayed in University Hall.

Postcard of University Hall, St Andrews

Back of postcard of University Hall, St AndrewsNote on postcard of University Hall, St Andrews

The third postcard is from nearest to my time, 1977, and shows the view down to the harbour. Again there’s a note on the back, which I’ve scanned in here. If I have a choice between two otherwise identical postcards, one that’s been used and one that’s been unused, I’ll go for the used one every time, because the note is always a nice example of social history.

Postcard of the harbour, St Andrews

Note on postcard of the harbour, St Andrews

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I originally posted this on my general genealogy/ancestry stories blog, but I think it, and any more future personal postcard posts, would be better suited to my academic historian’s blog. So reblogging here.

Viv's Ancestry Blog

I lived in Cupar from 1995 to 2001. It was the first proper home I had with my husband. We lived in a flat in Cupar Mills, which is a converted old mill building on the Millgate, with massive thick stone walls. I looked into some of the past inhabitants of the building, in 19th century census returns, and valuation rolls, and got quite interested in the local history.

So I have a soft spot for Cupar, and keep an eye out for interesting postcards. And I’ve just bought three, all looking as though they date from the early 1900s.

The first, postmarked 1919, shows the River Eden, near the old Gaol, which later became a pub where we often ate high teas.

Next up is a view along the Bonnygate. This reminds me of the many times my husband and I would get ice cream on Sundays from Luvians…

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Inspired by various twitterers I’m adopting the #AcWri hashtag to carry on the good results from #AcWriMo. And to help me make progress I am planning to continue to blog about my goals for research and writing, and how I’m getting on, and the outcomes. Hopefully this will encourage me to get more things finished, rather than have vague ideas still lingering about.

My next goals are to move two research projects forward. Both are aiming at journal papers in the end, and one ideally needs to beat that 1st April 2013 open access submission deadline. So I need to push on.

The urgent one, let’s call it Project 1, is to look at the role of chapmen in reading habits in Scotland in the 1700s / early 1800s. I found out quite a lot of useful information about this, including uncovering unanalysed primary source material, in my PhD. And I’ve since found more good stuff, that I now have at home and need to transcribe and analyse. So my goal for Project 1 in the next few weeks is to finish transcribing the list of chapmen admitted to the Fife Chapman Society in the late 1700s. I’m using this rare local record to give me a sense of how numerous and widespread chapmen were throughout Scotland. At this period chapmen, travelling sellars who sold cheap print, are largely invisible in historical records, so to have such a relevant and rich primary source that can be usefully analysed is too good to overlook. Once I’ve done that I’ll be able to start moving the writing forward. The list of chapmen admitted to the society isn’t too long, so it’s just a matter of me sitting down by the microfilm and getting on with it.

The other project I’m looking at is to examine some valuable library borrowing records I found in kirk session collections in the National Records of Scotland. I have two good sets of library borrowing records to work through, in the form of digital images at home. One, a library in Shetland, is particularly appealing because it’s from the 1870s, so I can look for the borrowers – since I have names and addresses – in the census returns, to find out more about them. In the future I’m planning a large-scale study of the Balquhidder library borrowing registers from Perthshire, which can also be studied alongside census returns. But this kirk session example would be an ideal small pilot case study. And it’s worth writing up as a paper. So to move it forward, let’s call it Project 2, I need to transcribe the borrowings for this library from the kirk session records. Not sure I’ll manage that in December, but I can make a start on it. I can work on it on and off, on my laptop, even while sitting on the sofa at night.

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