Lifting the lid: a history of food and drink in Scotland


22 September 2017
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A new touring display from the National Library of Scotland tells the story of centuries of food and drink, and opens at New Lanark World Heritage site on 23 September 2017.
Lifting the lid: a history of food and drink in Scotland Images

A new touring display from the National Library of Scotland tells the story of centuries of food and drink, and opens at New Lanark World Heritage site on 23 September 2017.

The display is made up of a series of colourful panels which tell the story of food and drink in Scotland, based on photographs and descriptions of material in the National Library’s collection. The display will help visitors understand more of how their ancestors lived and how their diet links to what we eat today.

The information in the display is taken from the popular exhibition Lifting the Lid: 400 years of food and drink in Scotland which was staged at the Library’s Edinburgh headquarters in 2015. The display will also include objects from collections across Lanarkshire to look at the story of Scotland's relationship with food and drink over the centuries.

Food and drink in bygone Scotland

The display will also include objects from collections across Lanarkshire to look at the story of Scotland's relationship with food and drink over the centuries.

Scotland has a rich and diverse natural larder with plentiful supplies of fish, game, cereals and fruit. Yet, Scots have been branded the 'sick man of Europe' and their diet condemned. 

Before the industrial age, the rural poor were said to be 'remarkably healthy' with a simple, frugal but wholesome diet. For most, meat was an occasional luxury and desserts unknown. But, those who could afford to do so consumed large amounts of meat and used copious amounts of sugar now considered damaging to health. 

Exhibition details

Colourful panels in 'Lifting the lid' feature content from the National Library of Scotland's printed and manuscript items, including pages from recipe books, food advertisements, quotations, illustrations and photographs. 

Lifting the lid: a history of food and drink in Scotland is at New Lanark until 12 November 2017. Entry is included within the price of admission to the site. 

New Lanark, Lanark ML11 9DB; tel: 01555 661345; website.