Mark Stephen and Helen Needham with part 2 of their chat with Karine Polwart.
It was a time when the people of Aberdeen lived in terror of bodysnatchers – the grave robbers who would dig up your recently deceased loved ones to be dissected at the hands of anatomists and medical students.
Added in to this febrile atmosphere, 190 years ago, was the national revulsion at Burke and Hare, convicted of murdering 16 people in Edinburgh and selling their corpses to the resurrection men.
Not, you might think, the best time to be making plans to open your own anatomy room in the Granite City – a place where students were already being chased and attacked as “Burkers”.
But, undaunted, famed doctor, Dr Andrew Moir pressed ahead with his vision to teach and show the workings of the human body, opening his Anatomical Theatre in 1831 on St Andrew’s Street, an imposing building with blacked-out windows, where the Sandman Signature Hotel now stands.
A month later, a furious baying mob set it ablaze, wrecked it and almost succeeded in demolishing it in a riot involving possibly as many as 20,000 angry citizens, enraged after a dog dug up human bones behind the grim building.
Dr Moir and his students fled for their lives and the medic was forced to flee the city for a while, reviled by the citizens of Aberdeen. Continue reading
IT IS now recognised as one of Glasgow’s finest buildings – but the city’s School Board gave its famous architect a sharp rap on the knuckles when he submitted his final plans.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh got a bit of a row when he ‘added some creative flourishes’ to his original ideas for Scotland Street School, according to a letter which has resurfaced in Glasgow City Archives.
“It seems true that Mackintosh had definite ideas and may have been difficult to work with,” smiles archivist Michael Gallagher. “In the letter, they state they have ‘no desire for controversy but the attitude taken by Mr Mackintosh in his interview with the committee and in his letter…leaves us no alternative’, and called the architect’s embellishes, ‘absolutely objectionable from the point of view of school working’.”
More Lankum on The Hobbledehoy
Katie Cruel is a traditional American folksong, likely of Scottish origin. As a traditional song, Katie Cruel has been recorded by many performers, but the best known recording of the song is by Karen Dalton on the album In My Own Time. The American version of the song is said to date to the Revolutionary War period. The song is Roud no. 1645.
The American lyrics appear to contain an oblique story of regret. As given in Eloise Hubbard Linscott’s The Folk Songs of Old New England. The opening verse of the song bears a strong resemblance to the Scottish song, Licht Bob’s Lassie, whose opening verses mirror the song in both notional content and form.
First when I cam’ tae the toon
They ca’d me young and bonnie
Noo they’ve changed my name
Ca’ me the licht bob’s honey
First when I cam’ tae the toonWikipedia
They ca’d me young and sonsie
Noo they’ve changed my name
They ca’ me the licht bob’s lassie
Lankum are a contemporary Irish folk music group from Dublin, consisting of brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch, Cormac MacDiarmada and Radie Peat. Their music has been characterised as “a younger, darker Pogues with more astonishing power”. Reviewing their third album The Livelong Day for The Guardian, Jude Rogers described it as “a folk album influenced by the ambient textures of Sunn O)) and Swans, plus the sonic intensity of Xylouris White and My Bloody Valentine”. In 2018 they were named Best Folk Group at the RTÉ Folk Music Awards, while Radie Peat was named Best Folk Singer.