The Scottish Town in the Age of the Enlightenment, 1740-1820 (Edinburgh Universty Press, 2014)
This heavily illustrated and innovative study is founded upon personal documents, town council minutes, legal cases, inventories, travellers' tales, plans and drawings relating to some 30 Scots burghs of the Georgian period. It establishes a distinctive history for the development of Scots burghs, their living patterns and legislative controls, and shows that the Scottish urban experience was quite different from other parts of Britain.
With population expansion, and economic and social improvement, Scots of the time experienced immense change both in terms of urban behaviour and the decay of ancient privileges and restrictions. This volume shows how the Scots Georgian burgh developed to become a powerfully controlled urban community, with disturbance deliberately designed out.
This is a collaborative history, melding together political, social, economic, urban and architectural histories, to achieve a comprehensive perspective on the nature of the Scottish Georgian town. Not so much a history by growth and numbers, this pioneering study of Scottish urbanization explores the type of change and the quality of result.
A Tale of Three Cities: The Life and Times of Lord Daer, 1763-1794 (John Donald, 2015)
Basil William Douglas, Lord Daer, was a remarkable man who left an indelible impression on those who knew him, including the poet Robert Burns and French intellectual and revolutionary the Marquis de Condorcet. Daer was a restless, energetic spirit in an era of youthful revolution. His political radicalism developed from connections made through his progressive education, his immersion in Scottish Enlightenment ideas at the University of Edinburgh under the tutelage of Dugald Stewart, and his experiences in three great cities: Edinburgh, London and Paris. This is a story about the rise of a new kind of British politics in the late 1700s, when it was mixed with a profound cosmopolitan spirit that threatened briefly and gloriously to sink national difference in the cause of universal liberty and humanity. For Daer, this moment held the tantalising possibility of creating a new union between Scotland and England, a union of the people rather than the narrow, unequal union of states created in 1707. Who was the man behind this early unionist radical vision?This book uses the life of Lord Daer to paint a fresh picture of Scottish and British political culture at the end of the eighteenth century, one which places the Union and its shifting meanings at its heart. As the Scots and the English re-think the nature of union in a very different world to that of the 1790s, Daer's political vision is one that retains its power and relevance.