Scotsmen and women have long been at the forefront of invention and Scotland was one of the countries that pioneered the advancement of photography. Commercial photography emerged following the official launch of the daguerreotype process in France in 1839 and the first recorded British daguerreotype rooms opened in London in March 1841, although James Howie later claimed that his Edinburgh studio was operational in 1840. Either way, the new fashion for mechanical portraiture was established from the outset in both Edinburgh and Glasgow; from then on Scottish photography progressed along similar lines to that throughout the developed world
Wilfred Owen, arguably the most well-known of Britain’s World War One poets, has now been commemorated with the unveiling of a plaque in his honour at the Edinburgh school he taught at while recovering from ‘shell shock’ in 1917. He is one of 11 historic figures to be recognised as part of this year’s Historic Scotland Commemorative Plaques Scheme, aiming to follow the popularity of English Heritage’s Blue Plaques and other schemes south of the border.
Leading family history data website TheGenealogist.co.uk has continued to affirm its status as a major resource for military records too with the release of more than 25,000 records detailing recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The records cover non-commissioned officers and 'other ranks’ who were awarded the DCM for their role in either the Second Boer War or World War One.
Before the outbreak of World War One in 1914, a woman’s role in the workplace was quite restricted. Jobs for women consisted mainly of domestic work, nursing, teaching and agriculture if their family owned a smallholding. The war changed the role of women in the workplace forever. These unsung heroes of the war kept the industrial wheels turning and the home fires burning, as well as nursing injured service personnel and serving in the forces as non-combatants – and in one remarkable case, in the trenches.
There are two different theories concerning the origins of the jacket called a 'blazer’. One states that bright red blazers were worn by members of The Lady Margaret Boat Club, founded in 1825 for the oarsmen of St John’s College, Cambridge. Tailored from bright red flannel, a popular 19th century fabric, these boating jackets were apparently so vivid that onlookers described them as “setting the water ablaze". The alternative account relates how in 1837 the Commander of the Royal Navy Frigate HMS Blazer, preparing for an inspection by the young Queen Victoria, tried to improve the appearance of his crew, which did not yet wear a standardised naval uniform. He devised a short blue (or possibly blue and white) jacket with Royal Navy buttons and reputedly the Queen so admired the effect that she ordered all sailors to follow suit. This probably inspired the double-breasted 'reefer’-style blazer/jacket familiar today, as these were worn by sailors for tasks such as reefing the sails.
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