All rooms are equipped with an overhead projector
Rooms C, D, E, F, G and H (H only on Saturday): slide projector (framed slides, carrousel. There are extra carrousels available to set up your presentation in advance)
Rooms C, D, M, N, O, U and Committee Room 2: beamer to connect your laptop. You have to bring you own laptop. (If you want to use your Apple notebook, please contact us, as it may be incompatible.)
Rooms C, T and U: VCR
|The Establishment of General Registration in Scotland|
|The compulsory registration of vital events was secured considerably later in the British Isles than in many other parts of Western Europe. An act for registering births, deaths, and marriages was eventually passed for England in 1836, but Scotland did not obtain equivalent legislation until 1854, despite the fact that her churches, municipal authorities and medical practitioners all expressed support for the principle of vital registration. In particular, the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons of Edinburgh campaigned vigorously for the improvement and standardisation of the birth and death registers, in order to provide reliable statistics of the number and causes of deaths throughout Scotland. Yet, even though it was generally accepted that the existing system of parochial registration was inadequate, no fewer than eight parliamentary bills on this issue foundered. This paper will explore the reasons for their failure, demonstrating that, although the Scottish churches and municipal authorities broadly favoured vital registration, their objections to particular clauses concerning the nomination and payment of registrars, the imposition of fees for registration and penalties for non-registration, and the provision of new administrative facilities, repeatedly impeded the bills’ progress through parliament. More importantly, four of the bills were linked to measures for reforming the marriage law, which were so offensive to Scottish sensibilities that the registration bills were damned by association. Only by altering these contentious clauses and eschewing any interference with the law of marriage did Lord Elcho’s bill of 1854 succeed. The lengthy gestational period preceding the Scottish legislation did, however, result in the compulsory registration of births and deaths — unlike the English act, which contained no penalty for the non-registration of deaths — and secured a greater breadth of detail in the Scottish registers. This led to an iteration between the two systems in England and Scotland, with each using the other as a model to press for greater compulsory powers and more effective registration.
The paper is based on little-known records in the National Archives of Scotland, where material concerning the nineteenth-century history of registration has survived in greater bulk than in the National Archives of England.