Festival Diary

Rogues Gallery: Faces of Crime 1870-1917

Fri, 17th Nov - Sun, 26th Nov

Previously unseen albums held in Edinburgh City Archives, together with official records of trials from National Records of Scotland brought toge…

Fri, 17th Nov

The Flyting

Fri, 17th Nov 19:30 - 21:30

​A welcome return for this lively showcase for the Scots language. William Dunbar and Walter Kennedy, the two great makars at the court of James …

Sat, 18th Nov

Jean Findlay : In the footsteps of CK Scott Moncrieff…..

Sat, 18th Nov 12:30 - 13:30

From the outside an enigma, Scott Moncrieff left a trail of writings that describe a man expert at living a paradoxical life: fervent Catholic co…

Annie Gray - Greedy Queen

Sat, 18th Nov 14:00 - 15:00

Voracious and adventurous in her tastes, Queen Victoria was head of state during a revolution in how we ate - from the highest tables to the most…

In The Footsteps of the Enlightenment

Sat, 18th Nov 14:30 - 16:00

Join writer and walking enthusiast Stephen Millar, author of Edinburgh’s Hidden Walks, on a wee wonder around Edinburgh’s Old Town and discover t…

Sarah Fraser : The Prince Who Would Be King: The Life and Death of Henry Stuart

Sat, 18th Nov 15:30 - 16:30

​ Henry Stuart, Prince of Wales was once the hope of Britain. Eldest son to James VI of Scotland, James I of England, Henry was the epitome of h…

Trevor Royle : Culloden

Sat, 18th Nov 17:00 - 18:00


Aaron Edwards : War. What is it good for?

Sat, 18th Nov 19:00 - 20:00

War has been a perennial feature of human history since ancient times, yet it remains a poorly understood phenomenon. It has done much to shape …

Runaway Slaves In Britain

Sat, 18th Nov 19:30 - 21:30

Relatively little is known about the enslaved people who lived and died in 18th century Britain. Runaway slaves inadvertently generated records o…

Scotland : A Century of Nationalism

Sat, 18th Nov 20:30 - 21:30

For many, the very real possibility of a sovereign Scotland brought the Independence movement with its hopes, dreams and aspirations into sharp f…

Sun, 19th Nov

A Very Short Introduction To : Hieroglyphs

Sun, 19th Nov 12:30 - 13:30

​Hieroglyphs were far more than a language. They were an omnipresent and all-powerful force in communicating the messages of ancient Egyptian cul…


Sun, 19th Nov 13:30 - 15:00

Opened in 1846, this is one of the Capital’s early Victorian designed garden cemeteries.


Sun, 19th Nov 13:45 - 14:45

Do you have what it takes to join the crew of a Black Flag pirate? How would you fare on the decks of a cruising 30 gunner looking for prey off …

David Weinczok : Castle Hunter

Sun, 19th Nov 15:00 - 16:00

David Weinczok hunts castles, and for that Scotland is undoubtedly the place to be. You won't find him at many gold-laden palaces; he's more the …

Pixelated Pagans: Four Decades of Vikings in Video Game History

Sun, 19th Nov 15:00 - 16:00

Christian Cooijmans of the School of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Edinburgh looks at the Vikings

A Very Short Introduction To The Napoleonic Wars

Sun, 19th Nov 16:00 - 17:00

​The Napoleonic Wars have an important place in the history of Europe, leaving their mark on European and world societies in a variety of ways. I…

How To Play Like A Spartan

Sun, 19th Nov 16:15 - 17:15

Sadly, this event has had to be cancelled.

Ghosts, Skeletons and Koopa Troopas: A Brief History of Baddies in Computer Games

Sun, 19th Nov 17:00 - 18:00

​Anyone will tell you that since the beginning of entertainment history, the baddies have always had the best lines, the smartest gear and the co…

HAPpening: History in Art Projects Launch 

Sun, 19th Nov 19:00 - 21:00

HAPpening: History in Art Projects Launch Previously… is launching History in Art Projects, a new scheme to encourage the exploration of history…

Bob the Gob : In Conversation with Phil Differ

Sun, 19th Nov 20:30 - 21:30

​1967. A truly historic year for Scottish football. England, World Cup winners and undefeated since their victory in 1966 (we put the date in, be…

Mon, 20th Nov

Reformation Dramas

Mon, 20th Nov 13:00 - 13:30

​From Robin Hood to Mystery Plays and The Satire of the Three Estates. Part of the FREEDOM AND FAITH 1517-2017 series.

All Mary's Men

Mon, 20th Nov 14:00 - 15:00

​To lose one husband might be careless or unfortunate but to lose three and almost net a fourth seems extravagant. Who were Mary's men, and what …

Coffee, Tea and a PhD : Mark Huggins : A Thousand Years Of Easter

Mon, 20th Nov 15:30 - 16:30

A chance to join some of our brightest young researchers as they bring the freshest research to us. Why not grab a coffee and some delicious cake…

Caroline Young : Tartan Rebels

Mon, 20th Nov 18:00 - 19:00

​Tartan. The favourite of fashionistas as diverse as Queen Victoria, Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier. A badge of rebellion for Jacobites…

Struan Stevenson: The Course of History

Mon, 20th Nov 18:30 - 19:30

​Many decisions which have had enormous historical consequences have been made over the dinner table, and have been accompanied (and perhaps infl…

Diane Watters : St Peter's, Cardross: Birth, Death and Renewal

Mon, 20th Nov 19:30 - 20:30

​It has been called both Scotland's best and worst twentieth century building. In 1992, it was listed category A. One of its architects suggested…

Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas : Scotland and Empire

Mon, 20th Nov 20:00 - 21:00

​Doctor Stephen Mullen (University of Glasgow) argues that from an economic perspective, the British Empire was actually a 'good thing' for many …

Tue, 21st Nov

Kings, Demons and Witches

Tue, 21st Nov 13:00 - 13:30

​Why did witchcraft in Scotland become a focus for fear and persecution? Part of the FREEDOM AND FAITH 1517-2017 series


Tue, 21st Nov 13:30 - 15:00

A stroll around the historic milling village, which once fed the City of Edinburgh, where many old buildings still survive.

Wars of Religion

Tue, 21st Nov 14:00 - 15:00

​Despite his personal motto, 'Blessed are the Peacemakers', James VI and I set the scene for a century of bloody conflict. Why was 17th century S…

Pat Clark : Charles Mackie

Tue, 21st Nov 14:30 - 15:30

In her wonderful biography 'People, Places And Piazzas: The Life And Art Of Charles Mackie', Pat Clark wrote of Mackie, "His epitaph would resid…

Coffee, tea and a PhD : Iida Saarinen : Making Priests in the 19th century

Tue, 21st Nov 14:30 - 15:30

​Iida's PhD research has taken her to explore the lives of priests-to-be, or seminarians, in the nineteenth century.

Ways of Seeing : representations of disabled people in visual culture

Tue, 21st Nov 15:30 - 16:30

​Sasha Callaghan of Disability History Scotland explores how the world of visual culture has represented the disabled from the art of William Ho…

The Myth of British Tuition of the CIA

Tue, 21st Nov 18:30 - 19:30

According to the official historiography of the CIA, American foreign intelligence did not exist before the 1940s. It portrayed that as a terribl…

'Child Murder by a Nurse Girl’ - The True Story of Agnes Norman in the Press

Tue, 21st Nov 18:30 - 19:30

​On Monday the 17th of April, 1871, a court in London convened to hear an inquest to the death of 14-month-old Jessie Jane Beer while in the ca…

Max Adams : Alfred The Great

Tue, 21st Nov 19:00 - 20:00

At Easter 878AD Alfred, king of the West Saxons, could claim lordship over no more than a few square miles of Somerset marsh.


Tue, 21st Nov 19:00 - 22:30

​Immanuel Kant is a giant among philosophers, whose work examines the core values of human life: ethics, knowledge, truth,... dinner parties?

Aaaaaaargh! Macbeth... Without the Shakespeare Bollocks

Tue, 21st Nov 20:30 - 21:30

​ Bruce's Fummey's comic observations probe deep into medieval Scotland. Shakespeare shamefully misrepresented a man who, in his time, was a pop…

Ye Jacobites By Name

Tue, 21st Nov 20:30 - 21:30

The word Jacobite has come down to us as short-hand for a romantic, doomed cause. But who were the real Jacobites? What did they stand for? Why d…

Wed, 22nd Nov

Unionists and Jacobites

Wed, 22nd Nov 13:00 - 13:30

​Explore the Old Town haunts of heroes, spies, sangsters and rebels. Part of the FREEDOM AND FAITH 1517-2017 series

Protestant Union ; Jacobite Cause

Wed, 22nd Nov 14:00 - 15:00

​Why did the 1707 Union of Parliaments not settle Scotland's conflicts? What drove the Jacobite Risings? Part of the FREEDOM AND FAITH 1517-20…

Growing Up In Scotland : A Century of Childhood

Wed, 22nd Nov 15:00 - 16:00

Childhood has changed tremendously in the last hundred years. Today most children in Scotland are protected, cosseted and well fed: just over a h…

Pam Wardell : Soviet Dissidents Secret Love

Wed, 22nd Nov 16:00 - 17:00

​Growing up in Glasgow, Pam Wardell was always fascinated by her mother’s stories about pre-revolutionary St Petersburg, the place she and her fo…

Enemies Within: The Paranoid Style in Revolutionary Russia

Wed, 22nd Nov 18:30 - 19:30

​Dr Iain Lauchlan of the University of Edinburgh looks at the revolutionary events of 1917, which provoked three distinctive Russian manifestatio…

Edinburgh in the Shadows

Wed, 22nd Nov 19:30 - 20:30

​What the tourist guides never reveal - stories, tales and poems of drugs, murder, witchcraft, executions and hatchet jobs that reveal the truth …

Tom Devine in conversation with Kevin McKenna

Wed, 22nd Nov 20:00 - 21:00

Professor Sir Tom Devine. A man not known for his reticence. Kevin McKenna. An interviewer not known for his deference.

Thu, 23rd Nov


Thu, 23rd Nov 13:30 - 15:00

​A guided tour of Edinburgh’s first designed garden cemetery, opened in 1843, formerly neglected in parts but now being cleared of excess weeds b…


Thu, 23rd Nov 13:30 - 15:00

​A stroll around the historic milling village, which once fed the City of Edinburgh, where many old buildings still survive.

Anne Pia : Scottish Italians

Thu, 23rd Nov 16:00 - 17:00

​Where do I truly belong? This is the question Anne Pia continually asked of herself growing up in the Italian-Scots community of post-World War …

Bearsden : The Story of A Roman Fort

Thu, 23rd Nov 17:00 - 18:00

David Breeze published the detailed report on his 10 years excavating the Roman fort at Bearsden on the Antonine Wall last year.

Trailblazers: the world’s first football club, founded in Edinburgh in 1824

Thu, 23rd Nov 17:45 - 19:00

​John Hutchinson and Andy Mitchell, sports historians The Football Club is the world’s first known organisation dedicated to football. Founded b…

Revenants and Robert Louis Stevenson - The Scottish Undead in literature and history

Thu, 23rd Nov 18:30 - 19:30

From the fearsome 'Hundeprest' of Melrose Abbey, (the priest who really went to the dogs) to Robert Louis Stevenson's Thrawn Janet, the undead ha…

Curse You, Carruthers!

Thu, 23rd Nov 18:30 - 19:30

Sadly this event has had to be cancelled.

Cafe Voices : Mythistory Tales

Thu, 23rd Nov 19:00 - 21:00

​Never let the facts get in the way of a good story! Home truths and blatant lies from Scotland’s past with Andy Cannon.

That Was Then : This Is Now : Schiehallion and Gravitational Waves

Thu, 23rd Nov 19:00 - 20:30

​In 1774, Nevil Maskelyne, the Astronomer Royal, found himself stuck on the Perthshire peak of Schiehallion for six weeks. It was truly, a Scotti…

Detroit 67 : Memphis 68

Thu, 23rd Nov 20:00 - 21:30

​Stuart Cosgrove, author, football pundit, broadcaster and iconoclast explores two US cities in two crucial years, in not one but two extraordina…

Fiona Watson : Edward I and Scotland, 1296-1306. Delusions of grandeur or just doing his job?

Thu, 23rd Nov 20:00 - 21:00

​Fiona Watson challenges the view that, in attempting to conquer Scotland, Edward I of England was doing something ridiculous and unprecedented.

Fri, 24th Nov

John Knox: A Long Goodbye

Fri, 24th Nov 14:00 - 15:00

​Each succeeding century has had a different take on Knox - from historical player, to hero to scapegoat. Where are we now in the 21st century - …

The Antonine Wall : What World Heritage Sites can do for you

Fri, 24th Nov 14:00 - 15:00

​Ten years ago the Antonine Wall, the Roman frontier in Scotland, was nominated as a World Heritage Site. This ultimate accolade, handed down by …

Coffee Tea and a PhD: Laura Harrison: "Big Men need Big Swords" - The image and impact of William Wallace’s longsword

Fri, 24th Nov 14:30 - 15:30

​In 1814, the 11th Earl of Buchan unveiled a 6.6-meter statue of William Wallace on his Dryburgh estate in the Scottish borders.

Jane Tulloch : Lost Department Stores Of Edinburgh

Fri, 24th Nov 15:30 - 16:30

Jane Tulloch is in love with a vanished world of glass-topped counters, mourning departments and warmly deferential shop assistants providing cus…

At the edge of the Empire: Rome's military presence in Scotland

Fri, 24th Nov 18:30 - 19:30

​ "To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a solitude and call it peace". Calgacus

Dan Jones : The Templars

Fri, 24th Nov 19:30 - 21:30

​ Dan Jones is a bestselling historian, TV presenter and award-winning journalist. His books include The Plantagenets, The Hollow Crown and hi…

Talking to the Dead

Fri, 24th Nov 20:00 - 21:00

​Ash Pryce is your guide to the world of the Victorian obsession with talking to the dead. Hydesville. New York. 1848. The young Fox sisters begi…

Sat, 25th Nov

Historic Fiction Writing Workshop with Margaret Skea

Sat, 25th Nov 11:00 - 13:00

Margaret Skea is an award winning novelist and short story writer, with acclaimed novels such as 'A House Divided' and 'Turn of The Tide' to her…

Coffee, Tea and a PhD - “Hear a Celtic race from their battle-place”: Irish and Scottish American Civil War Song Sentiments

Sat, 25th Nov 14:30 - 15:30

Catherine Bateson explores the sentiments and experience of Irish-born and descended soldiers who fought in the American Civil War (1861-1865), f…

Alan Ereira : The Nine Lives of John Ogilby Britain's Master Mapmaker and His Secrets

Sat, 25th Nov 15:00 - 16:00

​Alan Ereira brings us the life of John Ogilby, an astonishing picaresque adventure which is so fantastic as to be unbelievable.

Margaret Skea - Katharina: Deliverance

Sat, 25th Nov 15:30 - 16:30

​Award-winning novelist and short story writer Margaret Skea brings the story of Katharina von Bora to life in her novel, "Katharina: Deliverance…

Writing History Showcase

Sat, 25th Nov 16:00 - 18:00

Love Hilary Mantel? Come and discover some fresh historic offerings from authors Alex Nye, Fran Brady, Kaite Welsh, Maggie Ritchie and Snorri Kri…

Dangerous Women's Guide To Transgressive Behaviour

Sat, 25th Nov 19:00 - 22:00

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF TIME FROM PRINTED PROGRAMME There are women who have always refused the well-walked path, that easy life of the socially a…

Max Scratchmann: Last of the Burrah Sahibs

Sat, 25th Nov 19:00 - 20:00

​Max Sctratchmann was born in Calcutta, India, to Scottish parents in 1956. His autobiographical book, The Last Burrah Sahibs is a warm and witt…

Alex Salmond with Tom Devine : The Making Of Scotland’s Recent History

Sat, 25th Nov 19:30 - 21:30

Future academics studying Alex Salmond may be puzzled by the portrayal of the man who stood at the epicentre of Scotland’s recent history. Journa…

Sun, 26th Nov


Sun, 26th Nov 12:00 - 13:00

​Guided tour focussing on Dr Elsie Inglis

Family Tree Bootcamp with Dr Bruce Durie

Sun, 26th Nov 13:30 - 16:30

​ Ever wanted to find to find the really deep roots of your family tree? Dr Bruce Durie is the man to teach you. Bruce was, amongst many other…

Mary Hollingsworth : The Medici

Sun, 26th Nov 14:00 - 15:00

​Having founded the bank that became the most powerful in Europe in the fifteenth century, the Medici gained political power in Florence, raising…

Mary Somerville : Queen of Science

Sun, 26th Nov 14:30 - 15:30

​Is this Scotland's greatest woman scientist? Born in Jedburgh, raised in Burntisland, self-educated in Musselburgh, the woman who died in Italy …

Ajay Close : Petrol Scented Spring

Sun, 26th Nov 15:00 - 16:00

​Ajay Close, award winning writer, talks about her haunting and evocative book 'Petrol Scented Spring'.

An Afternoon with Elsie Inglis

Sun, 26th Nov 15:00 - 17:00

The funeral of Dr Elsie Inglis, who died on November 26th, 1917, brought the city of Edinburgh to a standstill. The woman the War Office told to …

Dr Lesley Orr

Sun, 26th Nov 16:30 - 17:30

Well behaved women never make history. But what is a well behaved woman?

Festival Diary
November 2017
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