Past Lives

Puzzled by the past and don't know who to ask? Let Mark Stephen help!

Click here for the latest Past Lives Newsletter.

Call with your questions - 0141 338 3777 or send an e-mail.

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Episodes

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20060212

Mark Stephen tracks down hidden stories from Scotland's past.

20060226

Mark Stephen tracks down hidden stories from Scotland's past.

20060303

Mark Stephen tracks down hidden stories from Scotland's past.

20060305

Mark Stephen tracks down hidden stories from Scotland's past.

20090323

2009032320090328 (RS)

Mark Stephen travels to the Lothian region to explore listeners' queries.

20090323

20090323

Mark Stephen travels to the Lothian region to explore listeners' queries and other historical questions.

20090323

Mark Stephen travels to the Lothian region to explore listeners' queries and other historical questions.

Mark Stephen travels to the Lothian region to explore listeners' queries.

20121224

In a special festive edition, Mark Stephen and the team investigate historical mysteries from the length and breadth of Scotland with a seasonal twist.

23/03/200920090328

Mark Stephen travels to the Lothian region to explore listeners' queries and other historical questions.

Mark Stephen travels to the Lothian region to explore listeners' queries.

0120060202

Puzzled by the past and don't know who to ask? Let Mark Stephen help!

Click here for the latest Past Lives Newsletter.

Call with your questions - 0141 338 3777 or send an e-mail.

Last week, Mark reported from Fort William, and the banks of the Caledonian Canal.

Ron Cameron is a local historian who told Past Lives how the canal came to be built as a job creation scheme for people cleared from the Highlands.

He also pointed out how much of the workmanship is not of a very high standard, as shown by the huge leak.

01Series 152011091220110919

From all over the world, thousands of people gather at Edinburgh Castle to see and hear the District Gunner fire the famous One O'Clock Gun.

But do they realise that less than a mile away on Calton Hill, A Time Ball is dropped from Nelson's Monument at exactly the same time? And who were the smoke eaters in Edinburgh and what did they do with cleikes of iron? Mark reveals all in a visit to Edinburgh's Museum of Fire.

Mark Stephen celebrates the 150th anniversary of Edinburgh Castle's One O'Clock Gun.

0220060205

Mark Stephen tracks down hidden stories from Scotland's past.

02Series 152011091920110926

Fire, steam, red hot stones, and a subtle hint of wee.

Mark Stephen gets into hands-on history as he joins the Bressay History Group to find out how Bronze Age people dyed fleeces in an ancient set-up called a burnt mound.

It's not without its dangers of exploding stones, scalding water, stinging nettles and the 'ewwwww!' factor of just what you steep the wool in.

Mark also explores a remarkable shaggy dog story of the Whalsay fishermen blown out to sea in an open fishing boat - did they really get to Philadelphia? Find out in Past Lives.

Fire, steam, red-hot stones and a hint of wee.

Mark Stephen explores Bronze Age Bressay.

032006020920060210

This week Mark's off to find the site of the last battle fought on British soil...

think you know where that is?

03Series 1520111003

Mark Stephen follows the pilgrimage of St Ninian to Whithorn.

03Series 152011092620111001

3/6.

Mark Stephen follows the pilgrimage of St Ninian to Whithorn.

Mark Stephen travels the length and breadth of Scotland to answer your history queries.

042006021620060219
04Series 1220090321

Mark Stephen travels to Skye on the trail of the lost diatomite industry, plus he uncovers the story behind the Highland potato famine.

Mark Stephen travels to Skye on the trail of the lost Diatomite industry.

04Series 152011100320111010

Mark Stephen climbs the Wallace Monument and reveals a story of monumental madness.

4/6

Mark Stephen climbs the Wallace Monument with a psychiatrist who reveals a story of monumental madness and he meets a councillor in Falkirk who is funding a memorial to the industrial revolution with daleks and his collection of hair.

Mark also meets Mary of Guise and other members of her court in the newly refurbished Royal Apartments at Stirling Castle.

0520060223

Mark Stephen tracks down hidden stories from Scotland's past.

05Series 1520111017

Oil, mysterious underground chambers and tatties - Mark Stephen goes digging in Lothian.

05Series 152011101020111015

Oil, witches and tatties, and mysterious ancient underground chambers, Mark Stephen's going underground today in Lothian.

Where were Midlothian's oil wells, Why were the good people of East Lothian so very keen on burning witches in 1662? And one of our listeners finally gets on a long-delayed school trip from 1947 to a mysterious underground 'earth-house'.

Find out what one of those is, in Past Lives, this Monday at 14.05.

Oil, mysterious underground chambers and tatties - Mark Stephen goes digging in Lothian.

06 LAST2006030220060303
06 LASTSeries 152011101720111024

Mark Stephen and Louise Yeoman turn detective to answer a selection of your queries.

6/6.

Mark Stephen travels the length and breadth of Scotland to answer your history queries.

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1/8.

Mark Stephen tracks down hidden stories from Scotland's past.

Mark sets off for the isle of Lewis.

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Mark sets off for the Isle of Lewis.

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Mark Stephen braves the dark, scary tunnel on the Union Canal and finds a personal link with the canal's past.

07042006090520060906

Mark Stephen heads to Orkney to hear tales of exploration, seafaring and floating banks.

07052006091220060913

From Sherlock Holmes to Peterhead whalers, Mark Stephen goes in search of Arthur Conan Doyle's north east connection.

07062006091920060920

From ancient wells to the birth of modern radio, Mark Stephen explores some of the riches of the Kintyre peninsula.

07072006092620060927

Mark uncovers stories of Arctic exploration, a wise woman who could conjure up storms and a man who had the only floating desk in the islands.

0708 LAST2006100320061004

Planters, traders, missionaries and engineers, this week Mark Stephen explores the Scots in Malawi.

08012007020620070207

This week, he visits Fraserburgh in search of shipwrecks and painted stags.

If you've got an historical puzzle you'd like Mark to help you solve, get in touch with the team on 0141 338 3777 [rates apply]

08022007021320070214

Mark Stephen heads to Glencoe to answer your questions.

On the anniversary of the Glencoe Massacre on 13th February 1692, Mark tries to unpick fact from fiction before heading down to Ballachulish to hear tales of the legendary chief Finn Mccool

08032007022020070221

Mark Stephen explores the rich history of Stirling.

Because of its geographical location, the town has always been of great strategic importance, but Mark discovers it's also played host to riots, executions and some eccentric building projects.

08042007022720070228

Mark Stephen visits Mumbai to trace stories of the Scots who played a part in India's history.

08052007030620070307

This week Mark Stephen visits the Scottish Borders to explore the history of Coldstream and the surrounding area.

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080720070320

This week Mark Stephen visits Fife and asks (amongst other things) 'Whatever became of the Earl of Bothwell?'.

0808 LAST2007032720070328

This week Mark Stephen visits Ayrshire to investigate what Robert The Bruce did on his holidays.

09012007080720070808

Mark Stephen takes a trip 'doon the watter' on the Waverley paddle streamer and solves your historical puzzles.

Take part by calling 0141 422 7575 [rates apply]

09022007081420070815

Mark Stephen traces the history of the Isle of Bute, from Bronze Age burials to Victorian splendour.

Join in with the show by calling 0141 422 7575 [rates apply]

09032007082120070822

Mark Stephen ventures deep into the heart of Midlothian.

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Mark Stephen heads for Helmsdale and the Strath of Kildonan to explore everything from brochs to the Gold Rush.

10012008021920080220

Mark Stephen uncovers the hidden gems of Scotland's past.

If you have got a historical puzzle you'd like Mark to explore, take part by calling 0141 422 7575 [rates apply]

10022008022620080227

Mark Stephen heads to the beautiful Northern Edge of Scotland to Skerray and Bettyhill in Sutherland to find everything from common cold experiments to ruins in the forest.

10032008030420080305

Mark Stephen heads to Gretna and discovers the story behind the intriguingly named 'Devil's Porridge', as well as revisiting the 1915 Quintinshill rail crash.

10042008031120080312

Mark Stephen explores the rich history of the Royal Burgh of Montrose, with an added helping of bad girls and shaggy dog stories.

10052008031820080319

Mark Stephen revisits Glasgow's recent radical past on the Clyde where a project is underway to collect personal memories of the famous shipbuilder work-in of 1971.

10062008032520080326

Mark Stephen goes to Rannoch Moor.

Along the way he will be exploring stories of second sight, a vanished railway community and looking at feats of Victorian engineering.

10072008040120080402

Mark Stephen is in Edinburgh to explore the mystery of the baby in the wall at Edinburgh Castle and what William Hare, the body snatcher, did next.

10082008040820080409

Mark Stephen uncovers the hidden history of the Fife coast.

10092008041520080416
1010 LAST2008042220080423

Mark Stephen goes on an adventure across Scotland to answer the historical puzzles sent in by Past Lives listeners.

11012008081820080824

1/6.

Mark Stephen is in Culross, Fife in search of a revolutionary underwater mine.

11022008082520080831

2/6.

Mark Stephen is making use of a Geiger counter in Balloch, and hearing of a destroyer that torpedoed itself in Greenock.

11032008090120080907

Mark Stephen follows in the footsteps of the Scottish army when they mustered in the Lammermuirs before Flodden.

Plus he tracks down a near-forgotten prisoner of war camp.

11042008090820080914

4/6.

Mark Stephen travels to the Isle of Bute to visit Gothic mansion, Mount Stewart House.

Plus he hears the story of Largs resident James Stephenson who bought his own volcano.

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5/6.

Mark Stephen discovers pirate tales, phantom colonels and bothy life in Braemar.

1106 LAST*2008092220080928

6/6.

Mark Stephen travels to Banff in north-east Scotland to find out how writer Shona MacLean turned her passion for seventeenth century history into a novel.

Plus he explores the many uses of Duff House, which include family estate, hotel, sanatorium and prisoner of war camp.

Call 0141 422 7575 or email pastlives@bbc.co.uk.

120120090223

12012009022320090301 (RS)

Mark Stephen uncovers the hidden gems of Scotland's past.

120120090223

120120090223

Mark Stephen uncovers the hidden gems of Scotland's past.

12012009022320090301
120220090302

12022009030220090307 (RS)

Mark Stephen delves into a Victorian mountain murder.

120220090302

120220090302

Mark Stephen delves into a Victorian mountain murder and goes in search of a fort said to have been a sanctuary for Robert the Bruce.

12022009030220090307

Mark Stephen delves into a Victorian mountain murder and goes in search of a fort said to have been a sanctuary for Robert the Bruce.

120320090309

12032009030920090314 (RS)

Mark Stephen learns about castaway Alexander Selkirk and sailor Sir Andrew Wood.

120320090309

120320090309

Mark Stephen travels to Upper and Lower Largo in Fife to learn about Alexander Selkirk, the possible inspiration for Robinson Crusoe, and sea captain Sir Andrew Wood.

12032009030920090314

Mark Stephen travels to Upper and Lower Largo in Fife to learn about Alexander Selkirk, the possible inspiration for Robinson Crusoe, and sea captain Sir Andrew Wood.

120420090316

12042009031620090321 (RS)

Mark Stephen travels to Skye on the trail of the lost Diatomite industry.

120420090316

120420090316

Mark Stephen travels to Skye on the trail of the lost diatomite industry, plus he uncovers the story behind the Highland potato famine.

120420090316

Mark Stephen travels to Skye on the trail of the lost diatomite industry, plus he uncovers the story behind the Highland potato famine.

1206 LAST20090330

1206 LAST2009033020090404 (RS)

Why do bear statues adorn the gates of Traquair House? Mark Stephens finds out.

1206 LAST20090330

1206 LAST20090330

Why do bear statues adorn the gates of Traquair House? Mark Stephens travels to Innerleithen to find out, plus he uncovers the story of philanthropist and miller Alexander Brodie.

1206 LASTSeries 122009033020090404

Why do bear statues adorn the gates of Traquair House? Mark Stephens travels to Innerleithen to find out, plus he uncovers the story of philanthropist and miller Alexander Brodie.

Why do bear statues adorn the gates of Traquair House? Mark Stephens finds out.

1301Dumfries20100222

In a new series Mark Stephen gets on the trail of Jock Cunningham, lost hero of the International Brigades, before heading to Ayrshire to search for Kirks and Covenanters.

Mark Stephen gets on the trail of Jock Cunningham, hero of the International Brigades.

1301Series 13, Dumfries2010072620100731

Mark Stephen is asked by a listener to bring his snorkel down to Dumfries and Galloway for a very deep and watery enquiry.

Mark Stephen is asked by a listener to bring his snorkel down to Dumfries and Galloway.

1302Series 1320100301

Mark Stephen heads to the Vale of Leven and Loch Lomond to find out who stayed in Tullichewan Castle camp during the Second World War, plus we investigate St Kessog of Luss.

Mark Stephen investigates Tullichewan Castle camp and St Kessog of Luss.

1302Series 132010080220100807

This week on Past Lives, a history query from ten year old Alasdair takes Mark Stephen to Blair Drummond House where he meets some of the current residents to discover what its like being woken up to the roar of lions.

Many people look up from Blair Drummond Safari Park and wonder who lives up there in the fairy tale castle perched high up on the hill.

It's actually the home of a community of adults with special needs and provides a unique and safe environment which allows the residents freedom to fulfil their potential.

Mark couldn't come to the Safari Park without meeting game warden David Booth, the most famour amateur metal detector in Scotland.

At the end of last year David was responsible for the largest find of Iron Age gold in Scotland and he took Mark into his office to show him his latest finds.

Mark Stephen travels to Stirling to answer a ten-years-old's history puzzle.

1303Aberdeen20100308
1303Series 1320100308

Mark Stephen heads to Aberdeen and Inverness in pursuit of conscientious objectors and coffin lids, plus hear the story behind Scotland's most ingenious fishing rod.

Mark Stephen heads to Aberdeen and Inverness for conscientious objectors and coffin lids.

1303Series 13, Aberdeen2010080920100814

Aberdeen is the site of the week's local history programme.

You've called and emailed with questions and stories, and now Mark Stephen is back in saddle to answer and retell them for you.

He's in Aberdeen, investigating why it's never a good idea to brag that you can swim the Dee while under the influence and why so many Aberdonians are good at the quick step.

Produced by Lucy Adam.

1304Series 1320100315

Mark Stephen continues to follow up historical mysteries and visits Dalgety Bay on the Forth estuary, following the trail of the lost village of St David's.

Mark Stephen visits Dalgety Bay and follows the trail of the lost village of St David's.

1304Series 132010081620100821

Cumbernauld grabs Mark Stephen's attention in this episode.

When is a well, not a well? When it's no well.

Oh dear - Mark tries to answer this question more thoroughly in Cumbernauld, and digs into the past of Scotland's famous New Town.

Now infamous for its striking architecture, Mark looks back at the coining of the famous phrase "What's it called....Cumbernauld!"

Going further back, he looks at what lies beneath some of today's surrounds- the old castle lying under and around Cumbernauld House- and tries to solve a listener's question about the presence, or not, of a motte and bailey castle.

Produced by Lucy Adam.

130520100322

Mark Stephen goes to Eskdalemuir to find out how 17th century climate change made a village vanish, and why the valley has its famous weather observatory.

Mark Stephen goes to Eskdalemuir to find out about 17th century climate change.

13052010082320100828

Mark Stephen zips around the Sound of Sleat covering the historical stories lying beneath.

Today on Past Lives Mark is in Glenelg to listening to some of the history stories brought to us by the listeners.

A new Skye development hides an ancient story in Armadale, and Glenelg is a surprising place to find a story of snuff boxes.

Mark delves around the ancient brochs, and hears the history of the UKs only turntable ferry as he travels across to Skye.

Produced by Lucy Adam.

130620100329
1306Series 132010083020100904

Mark Stephen is in Stirling for the last in Radio Scotland's history series.

Historic Scotland's £12 million Stirling Castle Palace Project has now entered its final phase.

The craftsmen and women drawn from across Scotland - and beyond - have brought the Renaissance Palace back to life.

Mark Stephen is allowed a sneak preview of the work in progress and speaks to the craftsmen involved in this ambitious project.

1306 LASTSeries 1320100329

Mark Stephen visits Glasgow and explores a few of the objects from an intriguing private collection recently featured in the BBC's History of the World virtual museum.

Mark Stephen visits Glasgow and explores an intriguing private collection.

150120110917

From all over the world, thousands of people gather at Edinburgh Castle to see and hear the District Gunner fire the famous One O'Clock Gun.

But do they realise that less than a mile away on Calton Hill, A Time Ball is dropped from Nelson's Monument at exactly the same time? And who were the smoke eaters in Edinburgh and what did they do with cleikes of iron? Mark reveals all in a visit to Edinburgh's Museum of Fire.

Mark Stephen celebrates the 150th anniversary of Edinburgh Castle's One O'Clock Gun.

150420111008

4/6

Mark Stephen climbs the Wallace Monument with a psychiatrist who reveals a story of monumental madness and he meets a councillor in Falkirk who is funding a memorial to the industrial revolution with daleks and his collection of hair.

Mark also meets Mary of Guise and other members of her court in the newly refurbished Royal Apartments at Stirling Castle.

Mark Stephen climbs the Wallace Monument and reveals a story of monumental madness.

1506 LAST20111022

In the last of our series, Mark Stephen and Louise Yeoman turn detective to answer a whole selection-box of your queries - find out about the dog that gave birth to the fly, the missing music bells of St Giles, and how you move a river in the 17th century - just some of your questions in this week's Past Lives!

Mark Stephen and Louise Yeoman turn detective to answer a selection of your queries.

160120120820

Past Lives, the history programme where we answer your queries, is back and we're starting the new series in Glasgow. With Mark Stephen we'll be discovering the first ladies of football, searching for a druid temple in Drumchapel, looking into historic eclipses, and tracking down the only woman on the Sleat war memorial for the Mapping Memorials to Women in Scotland project. Contact us with your query on voicemail at 0141 422 7575 or email us at pastlives@bbc.co.uk.

160120120820

Mark Stephen gets stuck into history queries and mysteries in Glasgow.

160220120827

The origins of the Arctic Char, the ghost of Ticonderoga and unearthing the Clan Gregor.

160220120827

Mark Stephen focusses on the area around Loch Awe in Argyll. Prized by monks for eating, we explore the idea that they were introduced to Scotland by these holy men. Then to two fascinating churches on the shores of Loch Awe, one built in the early 20th Century, another being surveyed by the Clan Gregor, who believe that their ancient clan chiefs are buried there. And to a rather unusal ghost story at Inverawe House. Contact us with your query on voicemail at 0141 422 7575 or email us at pastlives@bbc.co.uk.

160320120903

Mark Stephen visits the area around Portencross Castle in Ayrshire and looks into an unsolved murder. Plus the Hunterston Brooch, botanical brewing and the origins of Fort Matilda station.

160320120903

Mark Stephen explores the Ayrshire Coast.

16032012090320120910

Mark Stephen visits the area around Portencross Castle in Ayrshire and looks into an unsolved murder. Plus the Hunterston Brooch, botanical brewing and the origins of Fort Matilda station.

Mark Stephen travels the length and breadth of Scotland to answer your history queries.

Mark Stephen travels to Angus where he reopens a case of arsenic poisoning in Kirriemuir and reveals the scandal that caused a falling out between best friends JM Barrie and Captain Robert Falcon Scott. He also discovers a long lost link between a but n ben near Brechin and the iconic Harley Davidson motorcycle company in America.

160420120910

Mark Stephen travels to Angus, where he re-opens a case of poisoning in Kirriemuir.

160420120910

Mark Stephen travels to Angus where he reopens a case of arsenic poisoning in Kirriemuir and reveals the scandal that caused a falling out between best friends JM Barrie and Captain Robert Falcon Scott. He also discovers a long lost link between a but n ben near Brechin and the iconic Harley Davidson motorcycle company in America.

1605 LAST2012091720120924

Mark Stephen visits the Boat of Garten to get to grips with the Miracle Stone of the Spey.

Scotland just bleeds stories, and at Past Lives we have a theory that you can throw a dart anywhere in a map of of the country and find history. From time to time we get a listener to test that theory and this time Stuart Gibbs threw the dart for us - severing the River Spey and the Strathspey railway. Result! So this week we head to Strathspey where Mark goes on the footplate of the locomotive E V Cooper Engineer. Historian Fiona Watson takes us in search of Scotland's most unwanted tourist - Edward I. Gaelic scholar Seumas Grant takes us to the top of Cairngorm to remember the '45 and Louise Yeoman pores over that dart strike, digging up the story of the 'Miracle Stone of the Spey' and the big splash it caused locally. And as always we'll be answering your queries!

1605 LASTScotland just bleeds stories, and at Past Lives we have a theory that you can throw a dart anywhere 2012091720120924

Scotland just bleeds stories, and at Past Lives we have a theory that you can throw a dart anywhere in a map of of the country and find history. From time to time we get a listener to test that theory and this time Stuart Gibbs threw the dart for us - severing the River Spey and the Strathspey railway. Result! So this week we head to Strathspey where Mark goes on the footplate of the locomotive E V Cooper Engineer. Historian Fiona Watson takes us in search of Scotland's most unwanted tourist - Edward I. Gaelic scholar Seumas Grant takes us to the top of Cairngorm to remember the '45 and Louise Yeoman pores over that dart strike, digging up the story of the 'Miracle Stone of the Spey' and the big splash it caused locally. And as always we'll be answering your queries!