Holyrood displays a tale of two Ridings


Details of two very unique opening sessions of the Scottish Parliament happening more than 300 years apart have been revealed today.

The first took place in the 17th century and features on a unique set of rare engravings which will be displayed in Holyrood’s main public area from next week.

Based on drawings made around 1724 by Roderick Chalmers, they detail in delicate engraved lines all the participants in the Riding – the traditional procession to Parliament – for its opening session in 1685.

The engravings were issued in 1769 by Thomas Sommers and are thought to be the work of Johann Sebastian Muller, a German engraver working in London.

And today, further details have been published of more than 1,000 people from all over Scotland who will be taking part in the 21st century version of the Riding on Friday 1 July to mark the start of the Scottish Parliament’s Fourth Session.

Speaking ahead of the event, Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick MSP said: "The Riding of the Parliament is a historical tradition that links the modern-day Scottish Parliament with that of 300 years ago.

"Next week’s Riding is an opportunity for MSPs to come together with the people of Scotland to demonstrate our joint aspirations for our future.

"With well over 1,000 men, women and children from the length and breadth of the country taking part, from award-winning Commonwealth athletes to the singers in an African choir, 1 July will truly be a day for both the Parliament and the people."

Youth groups, children who have shared their birthday with the Scottish Parliament since 1999 and athletes taking place in the 2014’s Commonwealth Games together with ‘local heroes’ nominated by MSPs are all are set to take part.

Performers and musicians will accompany the guests as they make their way down the Royal Mile from New Street and into the Parliament’s grounds.

Among those providing entertainment are Scotland’s largest youth samba band, The Pulse of the Place, the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland and the UK’s top Pro-Sports Dance Team, The Scottish Rockettes.

The Riding will be themed to reflect the sentiments of the Parliament’s Mace – Wisdom, Justice, Compassion and Integrity – representing the ideals that the people of Scotland aspire to for their Members of Parliament.

Groups and performers participating in the Riding, which will be lined by police and military personnel, include:

Action Scotland Against Stalking, Ayr
Barnardo’s Scotland
Children in Scotland
Clydeside Action on Asbestos
Dichty Environmental Action Group, Dundee
Federation of Small Businesses
Glasgow Chinese School
Jie Song, Wang Pling Travel Ltd, Edinburgh
Ricefield Arts and Cultural Centre, Glasgow
Save the Children
Scottish Parent Teacher Council
Scottish Water
Scottish Women’s Aid
SheBoom, Glasgow
Sustainable Scotland Network
Sustrans Scotland
The Royal Regiment of Scotland Band
Transform Scotland
Victim Support Scotland
World Wildlife Federation Scotland
Zawadi Alba Choir, Edinburgh

Army Cadet Force
Bo’ness and Carriden Brass Band
Boys’ Brigade in Scotland
Counterpoint Drummers, Edinburgh
Dollar Academy Juvenile Pipe Band
Girl Guiding Scotland
Girls Brigade Scotland
Scouts Scotland
Sea Cadets
The Golspie Carers Project, Sutherland
Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust
Local Heroes nominated by their MSP

1 July 1999 birthday children
Commonwealth Games 2014
Leadhills Miner’s Library, South Lanarkshire
Local authority chief executives
Lord Provosts / Provosts
Scottish Pipes and African Drums
The Community Apprenticeship Project
The Scottish Rockettes, Glasgow
Young Scot Award Winners
YouthLink Scotland

Action for Children
Action in Mind
Comunn na Gàidhlig
Discovery Awards Group, Dundee
Duke of Edinburgh Award Winners
Dumfries and Galloway Third Sector Forum
MeAL, Aberdeen
National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland
Ownership Options in Scotland
Pulse of the Place, Edinburgh
RNIB Scotland
Scottish Youth Parliament
South Ayrshire Youth Forum
Strathmore Arts Festival Group, Perth & Kinross
Volunteer Centre East Dunbartonshire
Volunteer Development Scotland, Stirling
Queen Margaret University
Edinburgh Napier University
University of Edinburgh
Glasgow Caledonian University
University of Abertay, Dundee

Background on 1 July

The Fourth Session of the Scottish Parliament will be marked on Friday 1 July. In the Chamber, Her Majesty The Queen will address newly elected Members of the Parliament and guests.

Following the address The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh will visit the Main Hall where they will meet the ten sitters from the Scottish Parliament’s travelling exhibition Moving Stories and view the official photograph of The Queen.

Following the departure of The Queen, the Riding will take place along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, marking the centuries-old Scots tradition of parliament. Local heroes will be in the Riding.

The Riding is based on the traditional procession marking the opening of Parliament, which signified that the Parliament was sitting and occurred at each meeting of Parliament until the Treaty of Union in 1707.

The Riding will then be followed by an ‘open afternoon’ of free entertainment at Holyrood. Musical performances in the Parliament will be part of an eclectic roster of youth choirs and orchestras from across Scotland along with pipers, drummers and traditional Scottish musicians.

This includes:

Background on Engravings

The 1769 set of engravings that are now displayed in Holyrood were originally organised by Thomas Sommers, who purchased Chalmers’ drawings at an auction by Landford and Son in London in 1766. The dedication on this uncoloured set of engravings is to The Honorable Archibald Douglas, made at the request of the Duchess of Northumberland.

Before being displayed in the Scottish Parliament, the engravings were restored by Helen Creasy of the Scottish Conservation Studio, based at Hopetoun House, near South Queensferry.

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