You appear to be using a browser that is no longer supported. You may find that you are unable to use all features on the site. We recommend upgrading or changing your browser, if possible.
Skip to main content
Search... Open this section

Songs of Scotland

A musical portrait of 1960s Scotland

  • Print All


Traditional songs set against various Scottish backgrounds. Includes: Glasgow street songs over shots of Glasgow city centre, tenements old and new, a children's swing park ("Pennyworth of Pins"), Glasgow Green ("My Johnny Lad"), football in street, wasteland ("Ally Bally Bee" / "Coulter's Candy").

Questions & Activities


  • Do you recognise any of the songs? Try to find out their origins.
  • Why do you think these songs survived for so long?
  • Most of the people in film are poor. Do they appear to feel sorry for themselves?
  • What atmosphere does the music create and how (think about lyrics, instruments, tempo, key etc.)?
  • What different instruments can you hear?
  • Do you know any traditional songs which are still sung to babies and children?
  • How many different forms of children's entertainment can you see? How many are still common today?


Media Studies / Music: Import the film into editing software and remove the sound. Create a new soundtrack and/or voiceover which changes the atmosphere of the film.

History / Music / English: Find out about the traditional ballad forms. Write a ballad about life in modern Scotland.

Music: Find out more about modern artists who use traditional Scottish elements in their music and lyrics (e.g. Proclaimers, Idlewild, Eddie Reader, Malcolm Middleton, Karine Polwart).

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-000-293-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 2235
Date 1963
Genre Documentary, Sponsored
School Subject Media Studies, Music, English, Social History
Who Films of Scotland (sponsor), IFA (Scotland), (production company), Laurence Henson, Edward McConnell (director)
Where Glasgow, Glasgow Green
Attributes Colour, Sound
Clip Length 4:07
Film Length 16:00