Mussolini’s hidden archive of Scotland’s Italian community is to be unveiled for the first time in a new exhibition at the National Records of Scotland.
At the centre of the exhibition is the “Censimento” — a census compiled by the dictator’s government from 1933 to 1940.
It details 1,400 households and includes specialist shopkeepers and skilled craftspeople who were working in Scotland while maintaining strong connections to Italy.
Family Portrait: The Scots Italians 1890 – 1940 at National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh
Date: Thursday, December 03, 2015 – Friday, January 29, 2016
Time: Mon-Fri, 9.00-4.30, 3 Dec 2015 – 29 Jan 2016
Venue: General Register House, 2 Princes Street, Edinburgh
Organized by: Italian Cultural Institute, Italian Consulate General
In collaboration with: National Records of Scotland, the Italo-Scottish Research Cluster (University of Edinburgh) and Transnationalising Modern Languages (AHRC‐funded project)
The exhibition explores the history of the Italian community in Scotland featuring rare photographs and restored documents, provides new fascinating insights into the life of Italian families who moved to Scotland in the early twentieth century. The pictures and archives on display will also permit visitors to observe how Scottish rural and urban landscapes have changed over time. The Italian community has indeed developed strong bonds with the local population resulting in both groups evolving together and thriving off one another.
Included in the exhibition and now on line is an interactive map – it can be seen here
The map tries to indicate approximately where Italians were either working or living at this period. It also shows the top four provinces from which Italians arrived in Scotland. These were in descending order: Lucca, Frosinone, Isernia (in what was then part of the province of Campobasso), and La Spezia. People from Pistoia, Parma, Latina, Massa Carrara, Pordenone and elsewhere are grouped together as ‘Other Provinces.’ A sixth group consists of those whose origins are not yet known.
The map indicates that over half of the Italian migrants were settled in and around Glasgow. The Glasgow Italian community was divided between those who came from the province of Lucca, especially from the commune of Barga, and other places in Tuscany.
Far fewer people migrated from Frosinone in Lazio, south of Rome.
The Scots Italian community living and working in Edinburgh was relatively small, and it was dominated by people from the village of Picinisco in the province of Frosinone.
A note on the sources for the map
The names and addresses are based on the Scottish entries in the 1936 edition of the Guida Generale Degli Italiani in Gran Bretagna (General Guide to Italians in Great Britain, published in London). This contains the names of many heads of households but is limited in its coverage of people living outside the main areas of population. Some additional information has been added from Kelly’s Directory (1928).
Not all the names and addresses the Guida are reliable. Some duplicates and errors have still to be identified.
The map includes information about the origins in Italy of many but not all the people featured in the directory / list. Information about provinces from which people emigrated is drawn from the returns made by heads of households for a census carried out by the Italian Government between 1933 and 1940.
The base mapping depends on the scale and location and includes: Ordnance Survey, Map of Scotland (1927); Bartholomew’s Half Inch to the Mile Maps of Scotland, 1926-1935; Bartholomew’s Plan of the County of the City of Glasgow (1930-31); Bartholomew Post Office Plan of Edinburgh and Leith (1939-40).
The map has been created by a partnership between National Records of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and Dr Carlo Pirozzi (Research Fellow at the Italian Department of St. Andrews University, working on the AHRC‐funded project, Transnationalizing Modern Languages: Mobility, Identity and Translation in Modern Italian Cultures).
Please note that the georeferencing of the addresses is only approximate, to the nearest town (where no street name is given), or to the nearest street, rather than accurate to a specific house number. In addition, some addresses are ambiguous, and we have had to take reasoned guesses as to their location. The semi-automatic georeferencing process has often clumped several separate house numbers on the same street together, and it has also mislocated some addresses. We have tried to correct the most obvious of these, within the short time available, but we would welcome corrections – see below.
It is hoped to update the map and the directory of names and addresses, so if you have information to offer please contact firstname.lastname@example.org heading your message ‘Italians in Scotland Map 1930s’.
painter and photographer - started barganews.com, the first on line news site in Tuscany, Italy back in 1996