19/11/2018
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

A Better World? Scotland after the First World War - new exhibition at National Library of Scotland

4b181fbe-69ef-4f39-8a30-d660652beac1

The scale of demobilisation, struggle for better living & working conditions and the changing political landscape are among the topics explored in a new exhibition at National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Marking 100 years since the Armistice, the exhibition explores many aspects of Scottish life in the aftermath of the war, including demobilisation, commemoration, the struggle for better working and living conditions, the changing political landscape, and an emerging Scottish cultural and political identity.

Entitled 'A Better World?: Scotland after the First World War', the exhibition reveals some of the many rare or unique items held in the Library's collections, including a hand-drawn plan of the Scottish National War Memorial, and more personal mementoes for men killed during the war. Visitors will also see newsletters, photographs and other original documents relating to what became known as 'Bloody Friday' — when a violent confrontation between police and 100,000 strikers in George Square in 1919 led to the deployment of armed forces to Glasgow.

Also on display are colourful election flyers and posters from a tumultuous period in politics when Scotland’s electorate swelled to more than two million, and parties were compelled to appeal to women voters for the first time. Scottish identity is explored through the correspondence of Christopher Grieve (Hugh MacDiarmid) with other young creatives — some of whom had seen active service — as they expressed cultural and political ambitions for their country.

An exhibition with a difference

Launching the exhibition, Professor Sir Tom Devine, said: 'The National Library of Scotland is to be warmly congratulated on this innovative and poignant exhibition in commemoration of the ending of the Great War in November 1918. Many such events will take place to mark the centenary of peace in Europe in that year but 'A Better World?' is an exhibition with a difference.

'It focuses on what happened in Scotland after 1918 and the hopes of the nation for a better future which would stand as the best possible tribute to those who had sacrificed their lives in the terrible conflict. Carefully selected original items from the wonderful collections of the Library then demonstrate the realities of what happened in Scotland during the 1920s and 1930s.'

      QUICK LINK: Scottish songs of World War I

Politicians promised a 'land fit for heroes' to a war-weary populace with a new-found political voice — a population with raised expectations of better homes, improved working conditions and hope for a brighter future. Visitors may well reflect on the struggles and achievements of that period, and on the topics that still resonate 100 years on.

Exhibition details

'A Better World?: Scotland after the First World War' runs at the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, from Friday 16 November 2018 until Saturday 27 April 2019. See an interactive version of the exhibition here.

QUICK LINK: Land ownership in the Highlands after World War I.

 

(image copyright National Library of Scotland)

Back to "Events & Exhibitions" Category

19/11/2018 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Painter William Dyce was born - On this day in history

Scottish painter William Dyce was born on 19 September 1806.


Historian Gilbert Burnet was born - On this day in history

Scottish historian Gilbert Burnet was born on 18 September 1643.


Precious David Linvingstone tableaux painstakingly restored as part of a £6.1M heritage project

A group of precious polychromatic plaster tableaux depicting David Livingstone's historic journey to Africa ...


David Dunbar Buick was born - On this day in history

Scottish inventor David Dunbar Buick was born on 17 September 1854.


Other Articles

On this day in Scottish history - King James VII of Scotland died

King James VII of Scotland died on 16 September 1701. ...


The Hector emigrant ship left Loch Broom bound for Canada

The Hector emigrant ship left Loch Broom bound for Canada on 15 September 1773.


Geographer Robert Gordon was born - On this day in history

Scottish geographer Robert Gordon of Straloch was born on 14 September 1580. ...


Call and Response: The University of Glasgow & Slavery

Members of the public are invited to react and respond to a new exhibition at the University of Glasgow that ...