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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) 2019 Tom King and Lisa Sibbald.

The Graveyards and Cemeteries of Edinburgh

Charlotte Golledge

96 pages fully illustrated

Amberley Publishing

Published 15th February 2020

“The Graveyards and Cemeteries of Edinburgh” by Charlotte Golledge is the follow-up to the author’s 2018 book, “Greyfriars Graveyard”.

This new book covers the history of a small number of Edinburgh’s burial places, with an emphasis on the older graveyards and cemeteries, including some of the notable people buried there, and is well illustrated throughout, with much of interest for anyone interested in graveyards and local history. However, for a book which is limited in its size, I felt there was too much space given over to the history and background of some of the people and events included, rather than the actual graveyards and cemeteries of the title.

Although the author undoubtedly knows her subject, which was clear from “Greyfriars Graveyard”, this book feels a bit impersonal and somehow doesn’t capture the relevance and interest that these graveyards and cemeteries still have today.  I also have to admit that too many errors in spelling and grammar, especially the confusion between interment and internment (which admittedly may not have been the author’s error) were very distracting, and I found myself at times paying more attention to these than to the actual content of the book.

Having said all that, however, I am sure this book will be a good introduction to the subject for many readers, both locals and visitors to Edinburgh.

 

Review by Lisa Sibbald

Old Edinburgh Trams

Kenneth G Williamson

96 pages fully illustrated

Amberley Publishing

Published 15th November 2019

Old Edinburgh Trams by Kenneth G Williamson is the latest in Amberley’s successful series of transport books.

The author is described as having a lifelong interest in trams, and this clearly shows in this book, which has an impressive 180 illustrations.  It traces the history of Edinburgh’s trams from the earliest days of horse-drawn trams and cable cars right up until the day the last tram ran on 16th November 1956.  With the addition of a map of the tramway system, and all the routes that ran between 1950 and 1956, as well as previously unpublished images, the book gives an interesting insight into Edinburgh’s public transport systems.

While this book may at first glance seem to be specialised, and only for tram enthusiasts, the photographs will also be of great interest to anyone interested in Edinburgh’s history, as they give glimpses of a wide spread of Edinburgh streets, from the frequently photographed ones such as Princes Street and Leith Walk, to less often seen areas, including Portobello, Bruntsfield and Colinton.

Trams of course returned to Edinburgh after a gap of nearly 60 years, in 2014, but it will remain to be seen whether these will come to be remembered with such fondness and nostalgia in years to come.

Old Edinburgh Trams was published by Amberley Publishing on 15th November 2019.

 

Review by Lisa Sibbald

Edinburgh's Military Heritage

Gregor Stewart

96 pages fully illustrated

Amberley Publishing

Published 15th October 2019

Edinburgh’s Military Heritage by Gregor Stewart takes a look at Edinburgh’s history from ancient to modern, from a military perspective, in a very accessible way.

From the Romans’ arrival at Cramond around AD80, through to bombing raids of the Second World War, Edinburgh has been subjected to invasions, sieges, and battles throughout the centuries, and there are numerous buildings, remains, and memorials throughout the city which serve as reminders of its past.

Gregor Stewart’s book is fully illustrated with colour photographs, and his text brings Edinburgh’s military past vividly to life in a way which is easy to read and understand whilst still giving all the important details.  While it may perhaps skim over much of the history too lightly for serious historians, it’s an ideal introduction for the more general reader and visitor to Edinburgh, and would make a good starting point for anyone wanting to find out more about Edinburgh’s place in Scotland’s history.  It’s also good to see that, while Edinburgh Castle is rightly given its place at the centre of much of the history, more outlying areas of Edinburgh and its surroundings are included in this book.

Edinburgh’s Military Heritage is published by Amberley Publishing at £14.99.

Review by Lisa Sibbald

Lost Edinburgh

Liz Hanson

96 pages fully illustrated

Amberley Publishing

Published 15th July 2019

Lost Edinburgh by Liz Hanson is a very well illustrated book featuring many of Edinburgh’s historic buildings which are no longer standing, and parts of the city which have changed beyond all recognition.  It describes the people and history associated with these buildings and, whilst the book doesn’t go into great detail, it tells enough to explain the changes that have taken place over the centuries and to perhaps encourage the reader to find out more.

Although I have quite a large collection of books about Edinburgh and its history, there were many illustrations in “Lost Edinburgh” that I haven’t seen before, and it’s always a pleasure to see something different from the well-known pictures that appear time and time again.

One point which may confuse some people, and which I think perhaps Liz Hanson should have explained, is how she appears to have photographs of buildings which were demolished as long ago as the 1760s, long before photography was actually invented.  These photographs were in fact taken at the Edinburgh International Exhibition of 1886, when there was a reconstruction of a 17th century street with many famous buildings that had long since been demolished, complete with actors in period costume.

Lost Edinburgh is an interesting read for anyone interested in Edinburgh and its past.

 

Review by Lisa Sibbald

Secret Leith

Jack Gillon

96 pages fully illustrated

Amberley Publishing

Published 15th June 2019

Secret Leith, the latest book by Edinburgh local history author Jack Gillon, is published by Amberley Publishing on 15th June.

Secret Leith gives an interesting and well-researched insight into many of the lesser-known aspects of Leith and its history, and is well illustrated throughout.  Some items covered include a detailed look at the Leith Mural, landmarks around the Shore, and Leith businesses, as well as many other places, events, and people throughout the centuries of Leith’s history.

Even though I have read a great deal (and written about) Leith’s history, there were still several items featured here that I wasn’t familiar with, such as the story of John Sakeouse (Leith’s Inuit), and the German Kultur Panel.

This is a book that I’m sure will be of interest to all Leithers and a very informative addition to the bookshelves of anyone interested in Edinburgh or Leith’s local history.

 

Review by Lisa Sibbald

Edinburgh New Town A Comprehensive Guide

Jan-Andrew Henderson

96 pages fully illustrated

Amberley Publishing

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

Greyfriars Graveyard

Charlotte Golledge

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.

 

Review by Lisa Sibbald

A-Z of Leith

Lisa Sibbald

Published by Amberley Books

96 pages fully illustrated

Publication date 15th November 2018

BOOK PREVIEW & BOOK LAUNCH INFORMATION

Remembering the Fifties

“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

lizhare@blueyonder.co.uk

 

Review by Lisa Sibbald

Leith History Tour

by Jack Gillon & Fraser Parkinson

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

 

Review by Lisa Sibbald

Edinburgh at Work

by Malcolm Fife

BOOK REVIEW

MISS BLAINE'S PREFECT AND THE GOLDEN SAMOVAR

by Olga Wojtas

The paperback edition is published by Contraband and priced £8.99.  The book cover design is by Ken Leeder.

REVIEW

 

A-Z of Edinburgh

Lisa Sibbald

Published by Amberley Books

96 pages fully illustrated

BOOK REVIEW

   

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