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.
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.
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.
At the grand cost of £2.8 million Meadowbank Stadium was built to accommodate athletics, fencing, wrestling and had its own dedicated velodrome.
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
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).
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 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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”
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.
Stay tuned for more news from the mascot family next week!