Friday, 26 May 2017

A Hair-Raising Experience

    Something I have never really thought about before is how the whole concept of libraries came about. While they may have evolved differently throughout the world, I want to talk about the UK. I thought I'd find out a little more about it, because it's the 291st anniversary of the first circulating library opening in the British Isles.

    It was Edinburgh wig-maker, Allan Ramsay's interest in the written word that lead him to become a founding member of the, Easy Club in the city. The club's members were like-minded young men who had an interest literature. Ramsay's visits to the club developed his own writing skills. Leading him to  close his wig-making business and concentrate on being a poet, playwright and publisher. On, May 25th 1726, following the opening of his own bookshop, he began to rent out his stock of books and from this, the first library was born in the Britain.

    Ramsay wrote song and verse in English and Scots. Upon whose style, Robert Burns based his own wording in song and verse on.  Burns acknowledged this well respected man in this verse,

'Ramsay an' famous Ferguson
Gied Forth an' Tay a lift aboom
Yarrow an' Tweed, to monie a tune
Owre Scotland rings
While Irwin, Lugar, Ayr an' Doon
Naebody sings."

    Ramsay continued throughout his life to contribute to the arts in many ways, publishing other writers works and investing in plays being brought to theatre.

    We continue to fight for the survival of libraries and I wonder what this man would have to say about their demise.

Works by Ramsay:

The Gentle Shepherd (1725)
The Tea Table Miscellany (1724)
The Ever Green (1724)

Photo used of: Kings Bookshop Callander By CR

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