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Welcome to Art Mouse - full name Arthur Mouse. Art Mouse will be our guide through a range of books to introduce children to the world of art, theatre, music and dance.
Art Mouse is (c) 2018 Tom King and Lisa Sibbald.
Edinburgh New Town A Comprehensive Guide
96 pages fully illustrated
Published 15th November 2018
Jan-Andrew Henderson’s latest book, Edinburgh New Town – A Comprehensive Guide lives up to its title, looking at the streets, squares and lanes of the New Town in his own inimitable style. The name “New Town” probably confuses many visitors, as it was built in the 18th century, but at that time it was literally a new town, carefully planned and built in a classical style, in sharp contrast to the Old Town which had grown haphazardly over the previous centuries and had become dangerously overcrowded.
In contrast to the many serious guidebooks available, Jan-Andrew Henderson writes with great wit, adding in “fun facts”, and “haunted ratings” and you can almost hear the voice of a tour guide (which he has been for many years) walking with you as you read the book. It’s fully illustrated with colour photographs, and lots of helpful suggestions of what to look out for.
This book is certainly comprehensive in the breadth of its subject, as it covers not only the original New Town designed by James Craig in 1766, but also the later extensions and additions to the north, east and west. Space dictates that some of the entries are necessarily short, but this book is a great introduction to the area and light enough to carry around while exploring, while a very extensive bibliography gives plenty of suggestions for further in-depth reading.
I noticed that my favourite lane in the New Town isn’t mentioned in this book, but that’s maybe intentional on Jan-Andrew’s part as it is a picturesque little haven away from the busy roads, and the fewer visitors that know of it, the better for the rest of us!
Review by Lisa Sibbald
Published by Amberley Books
96 pages fully illustrated
Publication Date 15th October
Greyfriars Graveyard by Charlotte Golledge takes the reader on a tour through the world-famous Edinburgh burial ground from its earliest beginnings to the present day. This well-researched and extensively illustrated book looks at the symbolism on many of the historic gravestones, and tells the story of some of the people buried there.
Greyfriars has many spectacular seventeenth century monuments and the author looks in detail at the monuments themselves and the inscriptions and symbols on them. Along the way, she dispels incorrect myths such as the one that a skull and crossbones denoted the grave of a pirate or plague victim; it is simply a Memento Mori – a reminder that death comes to us all.
No story of Greyfriars could be complete with mentioning Greyfriars Bobby, the loyal little dog who allegedly stayed by the grave of his late master for fourteen years, until his own death. The statue of Greyfriars Bobby just outside the graveyard is a very popular tourist attraction, and I’m glad to see a timely reminder in the book NOT to rub Bobby’s nose!
As someone with a great love of Edinburgh’s historic graveyards, I found this book interesting and very well-written, and it’s a worthy addition to the bookshelves of anyone interested in Edinburgh history.
Greyfriars Graveyard is published by Amberley Publishing on 15 October 2018.
“Remembering the Fifties” is the newly published book from Citadel Arts Group, a Leith-based group who preserve living memories from older people, and is part of their “Leith and Edinburgh in the 1950s” project.
For this book, Liz Hare and Laure Paterson worked closely with ten tenants from Gordon Street Sheltered Housing, along with contributions from others who remembered life in Scotland in the 1950s.
The book gives many lively and entertaining insights into life in Leith during this period, with stories of childhood, going out, working lives, and much more. For many, this was a time of hardship, yet there are a multitude of fond memories and recollections from the contributors, particularly of the great sense of community they felt.
It’s great to see these memories being collected and put down in writing, as they tell stories of a time not so very long ago, but which is very different from the experiences of people growing up today.
It was also lovely to see at the launch of the book that local schoolchildren had taken a great interest in some of these stories, and produced drawings and acted out their interpretations of some of the events they had read about.
Copies of Remembering the Fifties are available from Citadel Arts Group – contact
Leith History Tour by Jack Gillon and Fraser Parkinson is a handy pocket-sized guide to Edinburgh’s historic port of Leith.
Following a circular route, the tour takes in forty-six places from Leith’s past and present, giving a brief insight into their history. Fully illustrated throughout with historic and contemporary photographs, this is an ideal introduction to Leith which will hopefully leave the reader wanting to find out more and explore more of this interesting area.
Leith History Tour (softback) is published by Amberley Publishing at £6.99