THAT August of 1939, newspapers devoted considerable space to the increasingly grim international situation. On Thursday the third, the Glasgow Herald reported on, inter alia, Italian naval manoeuvres, RAF Home Defence exercises, anti-gas protection for infants, and the British Navy's addition of 180 vessels to its minor-warship branch at a cost of £11 million.

But life was continuing as normal, or as close to normal as it could. That day's paper carried its usual quota of court reports, farming news, company news, stock-market prices and council activities – and a detailed look at the 20th annual show of the Scottish National Sweet Pea, Rose, and Carnation Society, at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall (main image).

The show had more than 1,000 entries; and if the number was down on previous years that was only because of adverse weather, including a cold spell in April. “In all three sections”, we said approvingly, “the hand of improvement has been busy, and the stands were rich with the results of the hybridiser’s art”. Viscountess Weir of Eastwood, who opened the show, and Lady Alice Shaw Stewart both expressed regret at the lack of scent in modern flowers.

A few months earlier, at the St Andrew’s Hall, the Italian tenor Beniamino Gigli, had given a concert at Glasgow’s St Andrew’s Hall (above). Anyone looking for a review of the concert in the following day’s papers could not have missed a large Air Raid Precautions (ARP) advertisement, which hinted at the heavy demands that would be placed on the population in the event of war.

In bold, urgent type it declared: “ARP. Here is a job for real men!”. The men, it said, were wanted for First-Aid parties. “Make no mistake, this is a man’s job – in an emergency, a vital, front-line, life-saving job”.

Read more: Herald Diary