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30 July 2014
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26 November

John McAdam

On this day in 1836 John McAdam, the inventor of the "tar macadam" road surface, died.

Although born in Ayrshire, McAdam had been a colonist in America, but returned after the American War of Independence, having supported the Crown. As a Deputy-Lieutenant in Ayrshire, he despaired at the condition of the roads, and began experimenting with different methods of road surfacing. He finally settled on a technique of using layers of crushed stone, getting smaller towards the top, which compacted under the weight of vehicles, creating a solid durable road surface.

Elsie Inglis

On 26 November 1917 Elsie Inglis, the Scottish nursing pioneer and suffragette, died. Inglis is perhaps best remembered for her role in the First World War, where, convinced that women could play an active role in the conflict, she led volunteer medical units of women who served in France and in Serbia, where Inglis herself was taken prisoner. Winston Churchill wrote that Inglis and her nurses "would shine in history".

Today's recipe: Scots chef Clarissa Dickson Wright suggests a traditional rabbit casserole.

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