Midway up at the stairs at the National Library of Scotland is a rather splendid window with lots of fabulous verticals for Jude. Designed by Alexander Ritchie Conlon, it was created by Helen Monro with assistance of students, John Laurie and Bill Courtney.


Apparently Helen, John and Bill were not too impressed with Conlon’s design. They thought it too traditional and unexciting, and so John and Bill added a tiny feature of their own. A mouse in the coat of arms. It shouldn’t be there but they couldn’t resist, and it only came to light in an interview shortly before Bill’s death. You can read it here, or by clicking on the gallery below. By the way I failed to read to the end of the article on the day I took it, so totally missed the mouse. If only I had kept reading.

If I had I could have gone to the top of the stairs and photographed the mouse myself. Still at least the crowns and thistle heads are all in squares and as a bonus are items usually found on top!

By the way the Faculty of Advocates is an independent body of lawyers who have been admitted to practise as advocates before the courts of Scotland. The reason their name is in the middle of the window at the National Library of Scotland is because the National Library owes its existence to them. The National Library was created in 1925 when the Library of the Faculty of Advocates presented its collection to the nation. The Faculty Library, which opened in 1689,Β  had been a copyright library since 1710 and the National Library of Scotland retains the right to claim a copy of every work published in Great Britain to this day.

111 thoughts

    1. Probably wasn’t you Carol, but WP. For the past 48hrs only a % of pingbacks have arrived 😦 looks like they may have fixed it today. So hoping to catch up with everyone


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    1. You are right I was a very happy pumpkin, at the bottom of the stairs there’s a cafe and also a shop selling great cards and books. πŸ™‚


    1. So glad you enjoyed Tish, promise you the mouse next time I am there!

      and yes you are so right about that. When I read about the fact they have the right to any book published in GB I was thinking well hold on the British Library has that – then duh it clicked . . . . two countries! I wonder what happens in Wales?

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  2. I wouldn’t describe an added mouse as unexciting, Becky, but if they were unimpressed by the window they wouldn’t stop to look at the finer details. I spot some of nature’s finer details at times; here’s one: https://wp.me/pVkLb-4RS πŸ™‚

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    1. Hi Tiong. Love this post. I can’t seem to comment directly on your blog. It says blog token not found – whatever that means. WordPress is being very slithery these days.

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  3. How very exciting. I love to read about these sorts of things. A shame you hadn’t read about it before you went, but that’s the way it goes. Nice vertical with added interest. One question: Where IS the National Library of Scotland? Glasgow or Edinburgh?

    in honour of my granddaughter who turns 16 today. I recall well walking her mother around the village where she lives whilst in labour! I imagine she does too. She (the granddaughter not the mother) often wears one, though in MY day they were simply called ‘buns’.

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    1. Glad you like the vertical, and huge shame didn’t realise before. Still we will be going back as MrB has lots more research to do in the library. It is in Edinburgh, on George IV Bridge


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