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University of the West of Scotland

Special Collections

UWS Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections Book of the Month



Hard Candy: a book of stories by Tennessee Williams, New York: MCA Artists, 1954 (limited edition with slip case).

Editors Note: two of the stories in this volume, Hard Candy and The Mysteries of the Joy Rio, are vairations on the same theme and emply the same setting; they are so different in result that it was thought both would be of interest. Hard Candy is the later version.

Book contains the stories;Three Players of a Summer Game, Two on a Party, The Resemblance between a Violin Case and a Coffin, Hard Candy, Rubio Y Morena, The Mattress by the Tomato Patch, The Coming of Something to the Widow Holly, The Vine, and, The Mysteries of the Joy Rio.

Housed in the Paisley Campus, Special Collections Department.


Lyra Celtica : An Anthology of Representative Celtic Poetry, eds. E.A. Sharp & J. Matthay with intro and notes by William Sharp, Edinburgh: John Grant, 1932.

Ancient Irish, Alban, Gaelic, Breton, Cymric and modern Scottish and Irish Celtic poetry. Part of Sharp/MacLeod Collection housed in Paisley Campus, Special Collections Department.


The Winged Destiny : Studies in the Spiritual History of the Gael by "Fiona MacLeod" arranged by Mrs William Sharp, London: William Heinehann Ltd, 1925 ed.


Part of Sharp/MacLeod Collection housed in Paisley Campus, Special Collections Department.


The Songs & Poems of Robert Tannahill : Renfrew District Council, 1994, with life and notes; also a history of the Tannahill Club, with an account of the Centenary Celebration on 3rd June, 1874.

Housed in the Paisley Campus, local history collection.

Robert Tannahill, weaver and poet, 1774 - 1810. Long neglected is now being resurrected as an eminent poet/song setter. This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. The publishers state: "we believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide".



St. John’s School Barrhead 1842 – 1966 : The Journey of a School and its People By Tom Higgins. Housed in Paisley Campus, local history collection.

This is a little gem of a book packed with interesting historical facts about Barrhead and the growth of St. John’s School coupled with the history and politics of the education system. The author has delivered a book which should appeal to both local historian and residents of Barrhead past and present.

This book begins with the early origins of Barrhead c.1750; the extensive industrialisation of Barrhead; the migrant labour (initially mainly Irish) who travelled to the area of Barrhead; the subsequent economic expansion of Barrhead and its surrounding villages in the civil parish of Neilston.

The origins of Barrhead can be traced back to around 1750 when a James Wilson built a cottage and weaving room almost opposite the Water Road. It was said that the name “Bar head” was derived from where it stood at the head of bars or rigs of land. (p.1)

A most enjoyable read and definately worth seeking out!

The Vagabond Book of Stirling by Marie Brammeld. Stirling: Lomax Press, 2010. Housed in Paisley Campus, local history collection.

The book is based on Stirling Council Archive’s ‘Vagabond Book’, a rogues’ gallery of crimes and punishments recorded by the burgh court between 1752 and 1787. Lots of interesting cases, including that of Martha Ferrier, a servant who ran off with her masters’ shoes (or rather, in them!), household domestic abuse, theft, breach of the peace and more. The crimes were largely petty in nature, rather than those which would be tried in a more serious court of law. Loose morals featured heavily, given the nature of the times, and ... as ... ever ... women came off by far the worst! Punishment was swiftly administered, a *vagabond could be apprehended by the town guard, thrown in the *Tolbooth overnight, appear before a *Baillie in the morning, and be whipped out of town by noon the next day. This small book delivers a unique slice of Stirling’s social history, showing us what life was really like up the crowded *vennels at the Top of the Town in the 18th century and often hinting at what went on behind the doors of the more fashionable residences too.

It's a gem of a book, the kind of book where you can just sit back, and take in some social history in a hugely enjoyable and well written manner - and it might even name one of your ancestors!

*vagabond – vagrants, drifters, tramps, itinerants, shifty-double-dealers, without any visible means of support, at best considered disreputable and a nuisance to society.

*tolbooth – is this case, the town jail.

*baillie – a magistrate.

*vennels – a narrow alley or lane between houses.


Jobs for the Boys by Hew Stevenson. London: Dove Books, 2009, housed in Paisley Campus, local history collection.

Jobs for the Boys is not your conventional family history. It is the story of commerce, feminism, slavery, architectrue, conservation and invention along with madness, badness and a benign nepotism - hence the title.

It is a portrait of one inter-dependent Victorian family who made alkali, war and the Empire. They were politicians and feminists; they dredged the River Tyne, started newspapers and developed electric light. The architect in the family, JJ Stevenson, pioneered the 'Queen Anne Revival' and designed houses, offices and tombs for his relatives. The family lawyer drew up their wills; the family blacksmith made their gates and the family dentist looked after their teeth.

The Stevensons commissioned paintings and ocean-going liners, fathered illegitimate children, owned yachts and a volcanic island, had liaisons with royals and founded the Kruger National Park. They were suffragists and gaol birds, explorers and syphilitics; they got messily divorced, followed the US civil war and explored the Amazon.

...'an intimate, elegantly written chronicle of a stratum of society which the history books rarely penetrate' ...


Taking the Crime out of Sex Work: New Zealand sex workers' fight for decriminalisation, edited by Gillian Abel, Liza Fitzgerald and Catherine Healy with Aline Taylor. (UK) Bristol: The Policy Press, 2010.

About this book: New Zealand was the first country in the world to decriminalise all sectors of sex work. This book provides an in-depth look at New Zealand's experience of decriminalisation. It provides first-hand views and experiences of this policy from the point of view of those involved in the sex industry, as well as people involved in developing, implementing, researching and reviewing the policies. Presenting an example of radical legal reform in an area of current policy debate it will be of interest to academics, researchers and postgraduates as well as policy makers and activists.

Author Biography: Gillian Abel is a senior public health researcher and lecturer at the University of Otago, New Zealand. She has research expertise in the areas of public health and sex work. Lisa Fitzgerald is a public health sociologist and social science lecturer in the School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Australia.Catherine Healy is a founding member of the New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective, and is currently the National Coordinator. Aline Taylor comes from a background in anthropology, with a particular interest in researching issues on development, sport and gender.


A History of Paisley 600-1908 by William M Metcalfe (1909)

Part of the University's Local History Collection Metcalfe's substanstial history contains chapters on Literature, Streets and Buildings, Industries, Societies, The New Town, Markets, Municipal Management, The Grammar School, Education, and Witchcraft, as well as a thorough overview of the ecclesiastical and political circumstances influencing the development of the Abbey town. It also features the 1695 Poll Tax Roll.