Christmas in the collections

Reading time: 4 minutes
In acknowledgment of the upcoming winter break, the experts at the Centre for Research Collections (CRC) take a look at some unusual items with a Christmas theme or connection. Wishing you all the best for the season from the CRC teams, St Cecilia’s Hall and the School of Scottish Studies Archives.

A page from a 15th century Gradual depicting the Nativity (MS 33). Can you spot the bagpipes? Find out more on the Collections website.

Jingle all the way

The sound of a bell brings to mind many warm thoughts in the cold winter months. Cheery little bells, like jingle bells, are a common sound throughout the Christmas season and their bright, clear sound signals the excitement of the holidays.

We are all getting into the holiday spirit. Look around the galleries at St Cecilia’s Hall and you might find that even the lid paintings on our harpsichords are joining in on the fun!!

Sarah Deters, Learning and Engagement Curator

Jingling Johnny, MIMEd 6110. Find out more on the St Cecilia’s website.

Hi-hat mounted jingles, MIMEd 2402. Find out more on the St Cecilia’s website.

Sleigh bells, MIMEd 1744. Find out more on the St Cecilia’s website.

18-inch tambourine, MIMEd 0423. Find out more on the St Cecilia’s website.

Lid painting (with Santa hats added!) from a double-manual harpsichord by Andreas Ruckers the elder, Antwerp, 1608 (MIMEd 4303). Find out more on the St Cecilia’s website.

Carol Singing Nurses

There’s plenty of examples of festive spirit in Lothian Health Service Archive’s collections. At Christmas time nurses at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh performed an annual concert and sang carols to patients on Christmas morning. A piano was placed between wards and the nurses sang around several different locations so that all the patients could hear.

Louise Neilson, Access Officer, Lothian Health Services Archive

Lothian Health Services Archive P/PL1/E/065

Dreaming of a White Christmas

Six feet of snow! We all wish for a white Christmas, but this scene from a power station in South Georgia in December of 1918 is pretty ridiculous. This photo comes from the Salvesen archive which spans over a century of ship-broking, importation and whaling companies which started off in Leith in 1852.

If you click through to the hi-res image, you can see the smiles on the crew peeking their head out of the door below, clearly embracing the enormous amount of snow!

Daryl Green, Head of Special Collections

Page from a photo album from the archives of Messrs. Christian Salvesen Ltd (Gen.1925 B4). View the page on the CRC website.

Ronald the Prize Winning Christmas Bull

Meet Ronald the prize winning bull who was born on Christmas Day in 1900 at the Royal Farms in Windsor. He was later sold to Jose Miguel Benavides, Valparaiso, Chile, South America for 1500 guineas.

This is one of the Roslin Slides Collection which are from the 1870s to the 1930s, that were used for teaching. Many of the slides were produced by T.J. Walls, an optician on Forrest Road, Edinburgh, which is now a café enjoyed by staff and students. Find out more about the Roslin Slides.

Rachel Hosker, Archives Manager

A Scottish Winter Wonderland

 This lovely image of a tree in the snow was created by the much-missed Photographic Archive Curator, Ian MacKenzie (1958-2009).  It brings the senses alive – you can almost hear the crisp snow underfoot and feel the icy chill. Find out more about Ian MacKenzie.

Louise Scollay, Archives and Library Assistant

Ref: SSSA/IM/Cal12

Whiteout on The Meadows!

©Robert Blomfield - All Rights Reserved

Man with briefcase, snowstorm on The Meadows (1965) ©Robert Blomfield.

The recent arrival of the Robert Blomfield archive has revealed a wealth of street photography in Edinburgh in the late 1950s and early 1960s. You can just feel the cold in your bones in this snap in  white-out conditions on The Meadows in the winter of 1965! Find out more about the Robert Blomfield archive.