Susan Morrison explores the rich and sometimes murky depths of Scotland's past.
Striking Gold and Surviving a Nuclear War
Nuclear journalist, Julie McDowall introduces Susan to living on the eve of destruction with the local government plans made for World War 3 - where to put the bodies? How to evacuate the cities? Collapsible coffins complete with tassels... It would all have done us no good whatsoever if The Bomb had actually dropped but people felt they ought to at least try. On a less doom-laden note, trying to get to California was all the rage in 1849 when Scotland went mad for the Gold Rush. Devin Grier of Edinburgh University introduces Susan to the hazards of the journey and the many ways to lose your fortune, even if you did strike gold. Finally, was there a cow’s eye view of witchcraft? Dr Lizanne Henderson of Glasgow University has been researching why cows come into so many witchcraft accusations, and whether they might actually have been affected by some of the 17th century magical practices people tried on them.
High Flats and Dodgy Doctors
Dr Valerie Wright of Glasgow University takes us into the world of the High Flats just over fifty years ago and what people thought of their new cities in the sky - it wasn't all doom and gloom, but then again there's getting a big 1960s pram up all those stairs when the lift wasn't working. Toddlers getting on your nerves? Needing a lie down after that - what would an 18th century doctor prescribe? Dr James Kennaway of Roehampton University introduces Susan to John Brown, one of the most irresponsible doctors of the Scottish Enlightenment - a one-man party who liked to hit the opium, booze and banqueting and recommended his patients did the same. Nowadays NHS Health Scotland would be trying to hunt him down and gag him before he gave out any more 'health advice'. It goes without saying - don't try this at home! Finally we're off to the historic Kirk of Calder with Ciaran Jones of Edinburgh University and our resident historian Dr Louise Yeoman. We're on the case of a demonic possession from the 1720s and there's a shocking twist in the tale.
Female Convicts and Invisible Agents
The female is more deadly than the male. History enthusiast Susan Morrison interviews Dr Nadine Akkerman of Leiden University about her new book 'Invisible Agents. Women and Espionage in Seventeenth-Century Britain' where we'll be finding out the fieldcraft used by women spies and hearing the story of one of the Scottish spies Ann Murray, Lady Halkett who pulled a Flora Macdonald-style rescue long before Flora was even thought of. Then there's the problem of naughty women and where you put them when your society isn't really geared up for jails, Dr Eric Graham tells Susan the horrid saga of a cargo of female convicts bound for Australia on the ill-fated ship commanded by Captain John Hunter of Ayr. Then finally, happiness is not having your leg cut off whether smoking or not smoking on the battlefield. Dr James Kennaway of the Surgery and Emotion Project explores smoking in 19th century battlefield surgery and the suprising things it tells us.
Port Riots and Dogs' Lives
Was it a dog’s life in 17th century Scotland? Susan Morrison talks to historian of animal-human relationships, Laura Moffat of the University of Strathclyde about her pet subject. Find out what you were supposed to do if you were bitten by a mad dog back in the day (clue - it involves the worst smoothie in the world), and why James VI shouldn’t have let his wife Anne of Denmark out with his dogs. If dogs had it bad in the 17th century, people had it worse in the 1540s, during the harrowing wars of the ‘Rough Wooing’. Dr Amy Blakeway is back to tell us about women in the ‘Rough Wooing’ and sisters doing it for themselves - those nunneries needed defending. Looking at the more sinister side of Red Clydeside, Tomiwa Folorunso, who’s a regular contributor to BBC Scotland’s The Social talks to Dr Jacqueline Jenkinson of Stirling University about the Glasgow Port Riots of 1919 when their white compatriots turned on Black British sailors who had suffered alongside them during the war.
Deadly Insults and Decisive Shipwrecks
Rev Dr Nikki Macdonald on flyting and scolding before the Kirk Sessions - the Scottish church courts - including the amazing range of insults people used. Top up your vocabulary with 'lukenbrowit witch' (having a mono brow!) mensworn dog (perjured) and having the grandgore (syphillis). Early modern Scots could give modern day rappers a run for their money with their disses and burns.
Jeni Park (Hub Project Manager at Unlocking Our Sound Heritage Project, National Library of Scotland) on their sound archive digitisation project
The shipwreck that could have taken the future of Jacobitism with it - Dr Eric Graham and Dr Mark Jardine explain how if the wreck of HMS Gloucester had gone that little bit differently. Scottish History would have changed out of all recognition.
Louise Yeoman on the fate of Jimmy Gilligan a homeless old soldier from 19th century wars who lived in a cave at Caiplie near Cellardyke in the early 20th century which he’d kitted out with a door and a stove and a bed.
Burning questions of the day - racism, heresy and witchcraft. Pioneering pan-Africanist Dr James Africanus Beale Horton came to Edinburgh from Sierra Leone for his qualifications only to find the famous university town was a hot bed of a new kind of racism - Dr Henry Dee and Dr James Kennaway take us into that world. Moving back in time: you’ve heard of Henry VIII but how much do you know about the dramatic life and times of his rival James V of Scotland when both heretics and traitors burned? Dr Amy Blakeway of St Andrews University looks at the darker side of James’s brilliant Renaissance reign. James grandson, James VI, presided over burning people too - for witchcraft. We hear from Ashleigh Angus from Curtin University Australia on the Orkney rebels and the accused witches who were in their camp.