Scottish Property Valuation Rolls for 1920 Go Online.
‘Homes fit for heroes’? New historical records offer a fascinating snapshot of Scottish society in the wake of the First World War
The names and addresses of more than 2.6 million people living in Scotland during the post-WW1 period will be published online at 10am on Monday 28 October, as records of Scottish properties in 1920 are released on ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk, the government’s family history website.
Comprising over 76,000 digital images taken from 169 volumes, these new records – known as Valuation Rolls – cover every type of property in Scotland that was assessed as having a rateable value in 1920. As the records contain details for the owners and occupiers of properties, they will offer genealogists and historians fresh insight into Scottish society in 1920.
Each Valuation Roll entry on the website is fully searchable by name and address, with the records listing the names of owners, tenants and occupiers of each property – in many cases occupations are also included. As the Rolls include all types of property, from castles and mansions to crofts and tenements, in turn, the records also include people from across the whole social spectrum.
The Rolls also reveal some fascinating trends in Scotland’s social history at this time, such as the building of the first council housing estate, and the growth of urban allotments and gardens cultivated by working-class gardeners to achieve self-sufficiency. The Rolls also reveal the widespread disposal of land by owners who faced new tax and other burdens from 1918 onwards, and the opportunities for tenant farmers to buy their own farms.
Researchers at the National Records of Scotland have also been spotting celebrities (and family ancestors of famous people) in the records, and have highlighted entries for Muriel Spark’s father, Sir William Burrell, Sir Harry Lauder, Sir Matt Busby, Bill Shankly, Samuel Peploe and the great-grandparents of The Proclaimers. The researchers have even found a quirky entry for a cottage in Dunblane, named for a poem by Robert Tannahill, the contemporary of Burns.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs in the Scottish Government, said:
“ScotlandsPeople is a wonderful resource that enables Scots, those of Scottish descent and anyone with an interest in Scotland to discover more about our nation’s fascinating family and social history. The release of the Valuation Rolls for 1920 strengthens the digital tapestry of Scotland’s story that is available through Scotland’s national archive.”
Tim Ellis, Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:
“The release of the Valuation Rolls for 1920 will be of enormous help for family and local history research, enabling people to discover ancestors and where and how they were living almost a decade after the Census of 1911. The newly-available records are part of the commitment by the National Records of Scotland to improve our service to the public and provide researchers with the resources that they need.”
Annelies van den Belt, the CEO of DC Thomson Family History (formerly known as brightsolid online publishing), who enable the ScotlandsPeople website on behalf of the National Records of Scotland, said:
“We’re very pleased to add this fourth set of Valuation Roll indexes and images to the ScotlandsPeople website – bringing the current total of index entries on the website to over 94 million. These new records will complement the 1895, 1905 and 1915 Valuation Rolls, which have been published over the past 20 months, and will also help family historians who are looking to fill in gaps after the 1911 Census.”
The 1920 Valuation Rolls will be available on the ScotlandsPeople website (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk), at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh, and at local family history centres in Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Hawick and Inverness.
“Jessie the Flower o’ Dunblane” – Jenny Tennant, the sweetheart and muse of Robert Tannahill
One of Scotland’s finest love songs is undoubtedly “Jessie, the Flower o’ Dunblane”. The words were composed by the famous weaver-poet, Robert Tannahill. On Tannahill’s untimely death in 1810 at the age of 36, a search began to identify the girl immortalised in the poem. Although there were many contenders, it is believed that the real ‘Jessie’ was Jenny Tennant.
Jessie/Jenny had in fact been Tannahill’s sweetheart and muse for some three years, yet the poet believed she had been unfaithful. Tannahill then composed another poem to Jessie, this time entitled ‘Farewell’.
Jessie/Jenny was born in Braeport, Dunblane. A cottage, erected in 1808 on the site of her birthplace, can still be seen.
In the Valuation Roll entry included below, it’s possible to see the title of the poem in the ‘Description’ column (line number 504). The description reads:
“Cottage site of Birthplace of ‘Jessie, the Flower of Dunblane’, Windyhill Cot.”
We think this is the only Valuation Roll entry for 1920 (or any other year) that contains the title of a poem.
Valuation Roll entry for “Jessie, the Flower o’ Dunblane” – VR113/66/592
The ScotlandsPeople Media Website
To download images and stories for the launch of the 1920 Valuation Rolls, as well as background information and statistics, visit the ScotlandsPeople Media Website: