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Thomson Family WW1 scrapbooks (volume 1)

Thomson Family WW1 scrapbooks (volume 1)
Thomson Family WW1 scrapbooks (volume 1)
This is the 1st of 2 scrapbooks compiled during World War One by the Thomson Family who lived at Glengyle Terrace in Edinburgh. Most of the items pasted into the scrapbooks are press cuttings, leaflets, scraps and adverts but there is some personal ephemera, such as letters and a ration book, which give personal details and an indication of the impact of war on the family. Many of the letters of correspondence are sent to Thomas Thomson. Yet Thomas Davidson Thomson was only 3 years old at the outbreak of war and so, we think that his parents collated and maintained the scrapbooks, which span the full period of the war, on his behalf.

The first scrapbook starts with newspaper articles relating the news of the 'impending European War'. There are illustrations of the Allied military in their different uniforms and newspaper cuttings of the British and Belgian Royal Families. There are propaganda cartoons and advertisements.

Most evocative are the personal items, including thank you letters addressed to young Thomas Thomson for his charity donations. One shilling was gratefully received by the YMCA to buy 'nails for the Bairn's Hut' and £1 for the Blind for the Blinded Soldiers' and Sailors' Fund. There are a couple of regulation postcards sent from the front, stating baldly:
'I have received no letter from you'.

Life on the homefront is starting to change. A letter sent 'on his Majesty's service' appeals for the 'immediate help of every man, woman and child in my effort to reduce the consumption of bread'. A Parliamentary Recruitment letter received in December 1914 asks all households to return names of those resident 'who are willing to enlist in war'. An official leaflet from Edinburgh City Police asks all citizens to observe the 'black-out' in case of night-time air raids. Another page shows pictures of Edinburgh's 'Unreturning Brave' - the young men killed at war.

Browse volume 2 of the WW1 scrapbooks or or read about Central Library's search to trace the Thomson family who donated the scrapbooks on our blog.