Suzanne Fernando – An interview with a Queen’s Baton Bearer from Irvine

Jocelyn Grant, one of our Exhibition Assistants, interviews Suzanne Fernando, a Queen’s Baton Bearer in Irvine, Trinity Church at the Hosts and Champions Exhibition.

During one of my visits to the Hosts and Champions Exhibition to record footage for a series of tours that highlight different aspects of the exhibition, I had the delight of meeting Suzanne Fernando. Both Suzanne and her daughter were selected to be Baton Bearers during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Here is what she has to say about the experience. Additional footage has been supplied courtesy of Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Scotland.

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A Small Tour of Our Commonwealth Mascots!

Continuing with our tours of the Hosts & Champions Exhibition at Trinity Church, Irvine, Jocelyn Grant, one of our Exhibition Assistants, introduces some of the mascots on display.

A family favourite, mascots are now a staple of the Commonwealth Games. Starting from Mac in 1986, Glasgow 2014’s mascot was an adorable thistle that won the hearts of the city during the Games. There are however several mascots that have featured internationally as the Games has travelled across the Commonwealth. Here are a few that are currently housed in the Hosts and Champions Exhibition.

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Team Scotland Uniforms! – A Tour of Irvine, Trinity Church

After opening our touring Hosts & Champions Exhibition at Trinity Church, Irvine, Jocelyn Grant, one of our Exhibition Assistants, provides a tour highlighting some of the items on display.

After our successful preview and opening last Friday we have received some wonderful feedback from visitors to the exhibition, who have been delighted by some of the items on display, and have started contributing more things! These contributions will no doubt be incorporated and featured in future venues when this exhibition begins to tour round the country. To celebrate this and highlight some of the themes that are currently present in the unique displays for this venue, I am happy to present a small tour of the Team Scotland Uniforms!


Stay tuned for more highlights soon!

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The Hosts and Champions Exhibition Preview!

Hosts and Champions Podium

The Hosts and Champions Podium

As we prepare to open our touring Hosts & Champions exhibition at Trinity Church, Irvine, to the public this Friday, Jocelyn Grant, one of our Exhibition Assistants, provides a re-cap of the opening preview. 

For Commonwealth Day on Monday, a preview of the Hosts and Champions Exhibition went ahead before its full opening this Friday.

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Our medal display

After several weeks of arranging the displays, creating additional iPad materials and the preparation of captions, the preview was opened by a few notable speakers:

  • Lesley Forsyth – Cultural development manager for North Ayrshire Council welcomed and introduced the exhibition and each guest
  • Margaret Burgess – Minister for housing and welfare, MSP for Cunninghame South
  • Michael Cavanagh – Chair of Commonwealth Games Scotland
  • The baton bearers from North Ayrshire Suzanne Fernando and her daughter shared their experience of carrying the baton for Glasgow 2014, and why they were chosen
  • Joan Sturgeon – The provost, North Ayrshire Council rounded off the speeches by officially opening the exhibition
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Kuala Lumpur Uniforms

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The opening preview on Monday 9th March

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The opening preview on Monday 9th March

The exhibition will now be open every Monday, Friday and Saturday between 10am to 4pm in Trinity Church, Bridgegate, Irvine, starting this Friday 13th. The exhibition will run from March 13 to April 17.

This is the first venue of the Hosts and Champions touring exhibition, and after Irvine this show will travel to:

Carnoustie – April 20th – May 25th

Back to Stirling to the MacRobert Centre – July 20th – September 7th

Dalkeith – September 14th – October 26th

Dumfries – October 26th – November 30th

Stranraer December 7th – 28th

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Some unique banners created from Glasgow 2014 flags and signs by members of the North Ayrshire community

So if you cannot make it through to see the exhibition in Irvine, watch out for it visiting a town near you, as more venues and tour stops are still being arranged. Up to date information about the tour can be found here and on the University of Stirling Archives twitter, with #Hostsandchampions.

 

 

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The Commonwealth Games Legacy

As we prepare our touring programme for the Hosts & Champions exhibition that will open on the 9th march in Trinity Church, Irvine, Jocelyn Grant, one of our Exhibition Assistants, provides an update on some of the material she has been researching working with the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive.

The Scottish Games

During the 84 year history of the Commonwealth Games, Scotland has now had the honour of hosting this event a total of 3 times. Twice in Edinburgh for the 1970 and 1986 Games, and of course in Glasgow this past year. For 11 days Edinburgh and Glasgow came alive in a flurry of sporting events that engaged and inspired the whole country. However the effect of these Games did not disappear after each closing ceremony, instead each Games has sought to provide a lasting legacy that would continue to encourage and support the surrounding community. In particular each city has often benefited from the addition of new venues.

Edinburgh 1970

The 1970 Games is often considered the Commonwealth Games of ‘firsts’. It was the first to use metric measurements, the first to use new technology to provide an electronic photo finish, and the first Games that the Queen attended. However it also produced two purpose-built venues that continued to serve its community during, after, and for the next Edinburgh Games in 1986! These venues are the Royal Commonwealth Pool and Meadowbank Stadium.

Meadowbank Stadium

Newsletter 9, May 1970

Newsletter 9, May 1970

At the grand cost of £2.8 million Meadowbank Stadium was built to accommodate athletics, fencing, wrestling and had its own dedicated velodrome.

Meadowbank Stadium under construction

Meadowbank Stadium under construction

While this facility was purpose built, the Edinburgh Newsletters in the archive provide an insight into how this stadium was intended to serve its surrounding community after the Games had finished. As the first newsletter released states:

“This centre has been designed to be a lasting asset to the capital city of Edinburgh and the whole of Scotland”

Seen as a ‘Capital Asset’ this centre was refurbished for the 1986 Games and once again played host to a number of sporting events, before continuing to provide a facility for the surrounding sport community. It was this community that launched a petition when threats of closure became imminent (Save Meadowbank Campaign) and helped to ensure that the stadium stayed open. Today it continues to host multiple sporting events such as the Scottish Judo Open, Karate competitions and roller derby (See here for more information about current events).

Royal Commonwealth Pool

Royal Commonwealth Pool

Royal Commonwealth Pool

Royal Commonwealth Pool being finished for the upcoming Games

Royal Commonwealth Pool being finished for the upcoming Games

Costing a totally of £1.6 million at the time, the Royal Commonwealth Pool is now a listed building and has created a lasting impact, with the facility also being used for both the 1970 and 1986 Games. Recently a major refurbishment – costing £37 million – was completed in 2012,  and the pool continues to provide an exceptional facility and venue for events, continuing it long tradition of participating in the Commonwealth Games by hosting the Glasgow 2014 diving competition! Now considered one of Scotland’s key monuments of the post-war period the pool continues to host diving competitions, waterpolo championships and more (the Commonwealth Pool’s events page can be found here).

Glasgow 2014

For the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow received a number of impressive venues and additions that have now gone on to host or benefit the local community. A particular highlight was the transformation of the exciting venue at Hampden Park.

Hampden Park

Hampden Park is well known in Scotland as the home to the national football team and was once the largest stadium in Europe. While this venue is not new, it underwent an impressive transformation for Glasgow 2014 with the playing surface being raised a total of 1.9m to transform the venue from a football stadium to a track and field facility.

This venue has contributed to the Game’s lasting legacy by giving its track to another venue! As part of the Glasgow 2014 iniative to distribute sporting equipment across the country, the track is finding a new home in Grangemouth Stadium and Crownpoint in Glasgow’s East End (more can be read about this story here), adding to the legacy created by the Games that looks to encourage a world-class sporting system.

There were many more venues involved in Glasgow 2014 that are still contributing to the sporting community in Scotland, and will allow the excitement of the Games to continue! If you have any stories of your time playing sports or watching them at these venues, get in touch!

 

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‘A backward lad’ – records of the children at the Royal Scottish National Institution

The cataloguing work on the Continuity of Care project is still going on, with work well under way on the 3000+ applications. The database to the collection now holds over 1000 items. But the number of items that show the abilities of the children themselves can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Opposite is a rare example of the literacy and numeracy skills of one applicant. His name

Handwriting and long division by George Aitken, 1886

Handwriting and long division by George Aitken, 1886

was George Aitken as he was fully able to write himself, along with his date of birth. To include an example of his numeracy skills is even more unusual. In his note accompanying these samples, A J Fitch, secretary to the Institution writes:

‘I have seen this lad and have difficulty in discovering his imbecility. The boy reads fairly well – writes and does sums. He is a backward lad consequent upon elipeptic [sic] attacks which prevents his attendance at an ordinary school.’

The Institution had a policy of refusing admission to epileptics. At the bottom of the medical certificate that accompanies most of the applications is the declaration:

‘Cases of Insanity, of confirmed Epilepsy, of the Deaf and Dumb, and of the Blind, are ineligible for admission, except upon payment’.

In reality this policy was readily overlooked. As Fitch himself commented in a note to an 1889 application:

‘ you have however somewhat relaxed your rule as to epilepsy and may be disposed to look favourably’.

Although easy to dismiss this change of heart as motivated by the payments anticpated from the parents, one application from 1891  shows an other side of the Institution. Subject to fits and ‘unable to make any payment’, she was still admitted.

Schoolroom at the Scottish National Institution, c1915

Schoolroom at the Scottish National Institution, c1915

 

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Japan Week 2015 – Library display of art books

Scotland and Japan flagsDr Isao Ichige has donated a beautiful set of books, Nihon Bijutsu Zenshu (Japanese art: the complete works) – essentially a history of Japanese culture – to Stirling University.

This valuable set of books contains a comprehensive list of Japanese art objects in full colour and with detailed information for each item from throughout Japan’s long history.

Dr Ichige taught Japanese History and Archeology at Waseda University and its affiliated high school until his retirement in 2008. He is well-known in Japan for his NHK programmes (Japan’s equivalent to the BBC) about archeology and introducing his various discoveries at pre-historical excavations and sites across Japan.

Dr Ichige is a member of the Japan Scotland Association and life-long friend of its president, Dr Taeko Seki. He decided to donate the books when he learned about “Japan Week” at the University of Stirling.

The books are on display outside the Archives Reading Room in the Library.

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The Mascot Family from Victoria!

Klee Wyck from the archive!

Klee Wyck from the archive!

Continuing our introduction of all members of the Commonwealth Games Mascot family, this week we have Klee Wyck!

A large Orca – also known as as a killer whale – Klee Wyck was the proud mascot of the XV Commonwealth Games for 1994 in Victoria, Canada. Seen as intelligent, sociable and graceful, these native animals were regarded as the perfect symbol for the ‘Friendly Games’.

‘Klee Wyck’ was the name given to this mascot in the Nuu-chan Nulth language, which roughly translates to ‘Laughing One’ in english.

The Victoria 1994 Games were unique in that they marked the return of South Africa after a thirty year absence following the end of apartheid. This was also the last time that Hong Kong participated in the Games before the transfer of sovereignty from Britian to China was complete.

 

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Presenting the Mascots Family!

As we prepare for the Hosts and Champions exhibition, there is a family of mascots waiting to be introduced! Jocelyn, our Exhibition Assistant, presents a Scottish favourite…

Continuing from the introductions already given to Clyde and Wee Mannie, Mac the Scottish Terrier is the first from the mascots family to appear. Adored by children and adults alike Mac was bred in the highlands of Scotland and became an incredibly successful Scottish mascot for the Commonwealth Games 1986 in Edinburgh.

A giant Mac towers above

A giant Mac towers above

Unlike Wee Mannie, – who had been proposed as the original Scottish mascot in 1970, but was later dismissed – Mac is the first official mascot for the Commonwealth Games in Scotland that was made public. With a host of available merchandise and memorabilia Mac was reproduced as toys, pins, on tea towels, scarfs, ties and more, and has become an iconic image for the second Edinburgh Games.

A stand full of 'Macs'

A stand full of ‘Macs’

 

Mac and his memorabilia

Mac and his memorabilia

Actively displaying the spirit of ‘The Friendly Games’ Mac sent ‘Macvalentines’ to each of the member countries of the Commonwealth Games Federation five months before the start of the event. Sending all participating athletes his love, each of the 25 countires received a valentines card graced with the lovely mascots face, and inside a description of his impeccable charater:

“typical of his breed, a real friend of the family, bright eyed, intelligent, courageous, energetic, and always willing to please…The Commonwealth Family will undoubtedly take him to their hearts in 1986″

A living Mac!

A living Mac with an example of his valentines card

And indeed they did, with the famous terrier apppearing once again at the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Games and introducing each country in turn.

A Scottish terrier introduces Team Scotland at the opening ceremony

A Scottish terrier introduces Team Scotland at the opening ceremony

Stay tuned for more news from the mascot family next week!

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News from the Village

We are currently preparing our Hosts & Champions exhibition for a touring programme that will visit a variety of locations around Scotland in 2015 and 2016. In this article Jocelyn Grant, one of our Exhibition Assistants, provides an update on some of the material she has discovered while researching our Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive.

For each of the consecutive Commonwealth Games that comes to pass there are many items and ideas that cross between countries as the process of organising such a large event becomes more established, and each new host has more examples and materials to learn from and improve upon. Those ideas, items and events that are carried on are usually some of the things most clearly remembered by those who visit the Games. These include some obvious contenders such as the opening and closing ceremonies, the Queen’s Baton Relay, the creation of unique medals, the design of a new baton and so on. However there are many things that are created during the Games that we do not always have the opportunity to see and enjoy, let alone compare and contrast against every one that has come before! However, I am in the happy situation of being able to help.

As I investigate the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive I have the happy job of going through materials from – the great majority of – past Games in preparation for our touring exhibition (#HostsandChampions and #Legacy2014) and directly seeing how things have progressed and changed. Among my many trawls through the minutes, mascots, medals and uniforms that make up this archive I have come across a great number of newsletters/bulletins that provide wonderful information on the progress of preparations, and the opinions and thoughts of the people involved. While many of these newsletters are made directly available to the public – materials that will no doubt make a re-appearance on this blog – there are several unique series that are designed to serve the Athletes’ Village and its inhabitants.

The Once & Future Voice

“It will be designed on the Olympic model, both in general construction and its stern definition of the amateur. But the Games will be very different, free from both the excessive stimulus and the babel of the international stadium. They should be merrier and less stern, and will substitute the stimulus of novel adventure for the pressure of international rivalry”. The Commonwealth Games: The First 60 Years 1930-1990. 10. Cleve Dheensaw

For those of you that went to see some of the sports and events on offer in Glasgow this past July/August, I think you will understand how this desire for the Commonwealth Games to be ‘merrier and less stern’ is a sentiment that has very enthusiastically been carried through! This desire for a friendly, jovial and participatory atmosphere is not only encouraged among the host’s people but among the athletes, and this is wonderfully highlighted through the Village newsletters that appear across the years. Variously titled Village Courier, Village Daily Bulletins, Village NewZ  (note the ‘Z’ for late 90’s cool), Village View, Village Voice (with more yet to be discovered); these publications promote events locally and within the Village while highlighting interesting information about competitors and organisers.

Edinburgh 1970

While the minutes of previous Commonwealth Game’s committees have yet to reveal the exact moment of inspiration that produced these publications, the earliest examples I have discovered appear to have a very utilitarian objective. The Village Daily Bulletin is a series of single or double A4 sheets produced for the Edinburgh 1970 Games that provide useful information on the practical elements of the Village.

British Commonwealth Games 1970 Newsletter

British Commonwealth Games 1970 Newsletter

Adorned with nothing more than a logo banner at the top, these newsletters were made available to all members of the Village for practical purposes.

Brisbane 1982

With a leap, skip and hop the next Village news I came across is from Brisbane 1982, the Village Courier, and already the differences between the two publications could not be greater. Placing a huge emphasis on photography this publication is presented much like a newspaper, with a column lay-out and regular segments. The regular segments include the ‘Village in Pictures’ – a middle-spread featuring photographs of people in and around the Village – cartoon sketches and interviews that highlight the work of administrators and organiser.

Village Courier September 22, 1982

Village Courier
September 22, 1982

Village Courier October 1, 1982 CG/2/12/2/1/11

Village Courier
October 1, 1982

Edinburgh 1986

The introduction of cartoon sketches in the Brisbane Village Courier is carried forward, with large caricatures of athletes in the Edinburgh 1986 Village View and the Game’s mascots beginning to make an appearance.

Village View 3rd August 1986

Village View
3rd August 1986

Allan Wells and Daley Thomson

Allan Wells and Daley Thomson

Auckland 1990

Next we have the Village NewZ publication of Auckland 1990 which presents some of the best examples of engagement with people in the Village, containing many personal stories of competitors and staff, and the activities and work they were engaged in within the Village (and their personal lives). Some of my favourite stories in this series include:

Blues' News

Blues’ News

 

20 January 1990, CG/2/14/2/1/5

“Amongst the array of equipment for the NZ police’s biggest operation are telepagers…However, some very senior officers, found the technology a bit overwhelming and tried to engage the cool American voice at the other end in conversation. They may not have had a very enlightening experience but have certainly got the message now on how to work the pagers”.

 

 

Small Talk

Small Talk

31 January 1990, CG/2/14/2/1/16.

“At least six of the big boys have been too much for the Village beds, which have been crushed to the floor.

Village house manager Kris Hope-Cross is not naming teams but said wightlifters had been the major culprits behind the bed collapses…Village staff have no stronger beds available, so they have to send in the standard versions and hope for the best.”

 

 

Finally we have the past year’s publication, the Village Voice. Being able to view and directly observe the changes that have been made to the newsletters across the years it is not difficult to see the many elements that have been re-interpreted for the Glasgow 2014 Village Voice. There is still a section on entertainment for the Villagers, interviews with staff and competitors, a photographic record of daily events in the Village, a discussion of results and the opportunity to share your thoughts with the paper (although this is more regularly done via text, email and twitter, rather than by letter).

Village Voice Thursday 31 July 2014

Village Voice
Thursday 31 July 2014

I will no doubt come across more of these as I investigate the archive, however we currently only have one of the series for this past Commonwealth Games 2014! If anyone does have any copies of any of the Village newsletters, or any stories about their experience of the games – in the Village or otherwise – please get in touch!

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