Photograph of Dunbar fisher lass, c1900

Self Help: Edinburgh, Lothians and Fife

Three sections on this web site cover chosen themes from the whole project. The three areas we look at in more depth are:

Friendly Societies

Exploring "benevolence" and "fraternity" in Edinburgh, Fife and the Lothians. From the medieval guilds onwards, this website examines local friendly societies, unity or affiliated friendly societies, and many fraternal organisations. Topics include growth and variety; the law and their role in society; and urban and rural examples. All selected from around the Lothians and Fife.

Free Gardeners

Scotland's own unity friendly society came out of the seventeenth century operative gardeners' guilds. In the nineteenth century it grew and expanded as 'free gardeners'. The story compares the Gardeners with freemasonry, and ends with the twentieth century decline of the Order.

Learning Self - education and libraries

In our time the government has placed increasing emphasis upon life long learning. This was a message known and understood by the artisans of Edinburgh two centuries ago. Learning in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife has a rich and honourable tradition. This section examines the development of libraries, institutes and other organisations that played a part in informal education.


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