School of History, Classics & Archaeology

Edinburgh's War - hub launched at Central Library

A unique centre that collates information on the history of Scotland’s contribution to World War 1 was officially launched at Edinburgh Central Library on Wednesday 10th of October.

Design of World War I hub

The WW1 History Hub initiative is a first in the UK and is a product of years of work between Edinburgh City Libraries and the University of Edinburgh.

The hub provides a visually stimulating, dedicated space where the history of Scotland's contribution to WW1 can be brought alive for all generations. The launch was attended by representatives from museums, galleries, libraries, government, local history groups and educational institutions.

The main focus of the Hub is to run workshops and seminars, and carry out military and diaspora genealogy research. Members of the public will have the chance to talk to experts and to find the story of their own family’s World War One history. There will also be a programme of poetry, art and music events, bringing Edinburgh during 1914-1918 to life.

Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s Culture and Leisure Convener, said: “Over 140,000 Scots gave their lives between 1914 and 1918 and as we approach the centenary of WW1 I can think of no better tribute to their memories. We’ve been delighted to work with the University of Edinburgh on this fantastic project and I look forward to welcoming the public into the Hub over the coming months.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland’s significant contribution to WW1, and the toll it took on all our communities, must never be forgotten.

“I congratulate Edinburgh City Libraries and the University of Edinburgh for ensuring these stories live on through the World War 1 History Hub, which will commemorate this important part of our nation’s history and the role and sacrifice of Scottish servicemen and women and their families.”

The hub builds on the work of a small group of dedicated volunteers, who have been supported by Yvonne McEwen from the Centre for the Study of Modern Conflict at the University of Edinburgh.

The group have already collaborated to produce the Edinburgh’s War website. It is hoped that in the next two years, in the run up to the centenary of the start of World War One, that the work can be expanded to be Scotland’s War.

Yvonne McEwen, Project Director 'Edinburgh's War', The Centre for the Study of Modern Conflict, The University of Edinburgh, said: "The establishment of the WW1 History Hub is a testament to the successful cooperation that exists between the University of Edinburgh, the City of Edinburgh Libraries, and the people of Edinburgh, Leith and the Lothians in remembering the enormous sacrifices made on the fighting fronts and the hardships that were endured on the home front."