The Bruce family and the foundation of Canadian identity.

Canada Day has been held as a national holiday on 1st July since 1867 when the country became a federal self-governing dominion within the British empire. In 1965 Canada adopted a new red and white flag with the maple leaf as the iconic symbol of its nationhood.  But the story behind this most recognisable of international flags is closely connected …

VE Day 75th anniversary: The Bruce family and world war (Part 3)

Section Officer Constance Babington-Smith MBE (WAAF/RAF): discovering the Nazis’ weapons of mass destruction Constance Babington-Smith (1912-2000), a grand-daughter of Victor Bruce 9th Earl of Elgin, joined the WAAF in 1939 as an Assistant Section Officer. In 1941 she was posted to the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit (PRU) at RAF Medmenham, where she was later joined by her brother Bernard. The unit …

VE Day 75th anniversary: The Bruce family and world war (Part 2)

Flight Lieutenant Robert Bruce DFC and Bar (RCAF): hunting the V-1 Flying Bomb Born at Inverkeilor in Angus, Robert Bruce (1915-2012) was a great-nephew of Victor Bruce, 9th Earl of Elgin, (grandfather of Constance Babington-Smith). A gifted musician, Robert entered the war as a conscientious objector working with the Friends Ambulance Service during the London Blitz. He was eventually persuaded …

Portrait painting of man and cover of book

Carrying on up the Nile – 250 years on

Featuring an epic African journey, Return to the Nile is a National Geographic commissioned biopic marking the 50th anniversary of Sir Ranulph Fiennes’s 1969 pan-African odyssey. The film follows the Fiennes cousins, Ranulph and Joseph, as they pursue the former’s footsteps. At Broomhall House memories of a much earlier – and just as ambitious – Nile journey can be found …

antique clock

The clock which was 100 years too early

A marine chronometer developed by Alexander Bruce, 2nd Earl of Kincardine (1629-1680), has just been acquired by the National Museums of Scotland. A world first, Alexander’s sea-going pendulum clock was commissioned from the leading Dutch instrument maker, Severyn Osterwijck (1637-1694) in 1662. Seeking to improve navigation and promote international trade, Alexander collaborated with the Dutch mathematician, Christian Huygens (1629-95), to …