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Jim Alder: marathon runner, baton bearer

To celebrate the occasion of the first Stirling Marathon which takes place on Sunday 21st May our Exhibitions Assistant, Ian Mackintosh, writes about one of Scotland’s greatest marathon runner’s contribution to Commonwealth Games history.

Jim Alder is without doubt one of the greatest distance runners in the history of Scottish Athletics. Jim competed in the 1966 and 1970 Commonwealth Games and also represented Great Britain at the 1968 and 1972 Olympic Games. Jim collected a complete set of medals at the Commonwealth Games winning gold in the marathon and bronze in the six mile race in Kingston in 1966, and silver in the marathon in Edinburgh in 1970. Another of Jim’s claims to fame is that he was involved in all three Queen’s Baton Relays when Scotland hosted the Games (in 1970, 1986 and 2014).

Jim Alder returns from Kingston, Jamaica, with his marathon gold and six-mile race bronze medals.

Edinburgh 1970

Jim’s first involvement with the Baton Relay came at the opening ceremony of the 1970 British Commonwealth Games where he had the honour of bringing the baton into Meadowbank Stadium and presenting it to Prince Philip. Jim recalled the day in a recent interview for the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive:

“I was captain of the Scottish Cross Country Team and a Gold Medallist for the Marathon at the last games. I got a letter from the Scottish Amateur Athletics Association asking me if I would be interested in taking part in the Baton Relay in Edinburgh. I replied that I was honoured to take part. They asked me to keep it secret and not to let my family know because I was to be the involved in the last leg of the relay in Edinburgh. I received a phone call a few days later during which they then told me that I would be carrying the baton into the stadium to hand it over to Prince Philip.

I was also given specific instructions as to what I was to wear. I was to wear my Scotland Vest a pair of white shorts and a pair of plain white canvas shoes. On no account was there to be any branding. At the time Adidas were my running shoe sponsors and they provided me with all of my gear. So I had to go out and buy a pair of shorts and shoes for which I was reimbursed. My wife and family were in the top stadium waiting on the teams coming in and when the Scotland team appeared I wasn’t in the team. She turned to her dad and our son and said yer dad is late again he’s missed the team. You see I had a reputation for being late. It was then that I made my entrance and it was flashed up on the scoreboard that the mystery Baton Relay runner was Jim Alder. It was great running round the track. The roar of the crowd was amazing. They were clapping and cheering and of course I knew most of the other British team’s athletes and they were cheering me on. It brought a lump to my throat and I was very emotional when I handed over the baton to Prince Philip. It was a fabulous occasion and when I handed the baton over to Prince Philip he asked if I had run all the way with the message.”

Jim Alder hands the Queens Baton to Prince Philip at Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh, 16 July 1970

Edinburgh 1986

In 1986 Jim was asked if he would like the honour of carrying the baton over the border into Scotland during the relay. Recalling the day Jim noted that:

“I was advised to be in Coldstream for midmorning and I was met by the committee. This was a very different occasion [from 1970] because my role was to carry the baton over the border and hand it over to someone at Coldstream. It was a less formal affair and I didn’t need to worry about what I wore. In fact I wasn’t even advised about what to wear so I decided I would wear my 1970 Scotland Uniform which still fitted me. I was still a serious runner back then and I maintained my weight well. I was still competing regularly in Cross Country, Road Races and Marathons. I was really happy to be involved in the baton relay once again and I never thought I would ever be involved in it again.”

Glasgow 2014

In 2014 Jim had the honour of being part of the final stages of the baton relay on the opening day of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. At an event in Scotland House (The Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow) he presented the baton to Prince Imran, Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation. For Jim “it was a great day, because it was an opportunity be in my hometown and the reception I received showed that people hadn’t forgotten what I had achieved nearly 40 years before.”

Our exhibition Hosts and Champions: Scotland in the Commonwealth Games was also officially opened that day and we were present to witness Jim’s contribution to the day’s events. After the ceremony was completed, we met Jim and chatted to him about his career. Jim was very interested in our exhibition and was delighted when he saw that we had featured him in the display. The exhibition included a photograph of Jim taken shortly after he had won his silver medal in the 1970 marathon. The photograph was titled “A helping hand”. Jim was delighted to see the picture and was more than happy to chat with us about the race. He spoke fondly of his great friend and rival Ron Hill and highlighted the fact that five of the fastest Marathon runners in the world were competing in the race. For Jim “it has been a great privilege to be asked to take part in all three Commonwealth Games Relays and the fact that I was involved in the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay completes a unique set for me.”

Jim Alder with his photograph from the 1970 Commonwealth Games which features in our Hosts and Champions exhibition.

 

‘A helping hand.’ Jim Alder crosses the line to win silver in the marathon at the 1970 Commonwealth Games.

Gold Coast 2018 – One Year To Go!

Today marks the start of the countdown to Gold Coast 2018, with one year to go to the Games. This morning we visited the Scottish Government building at Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, where our Hosts and Champions exhibition is currently on display to celebrate the occasion. The event provided an opportunity to meet with the Active Scotland Legacy 2014 team who have been great supporters of our Hosts and Champions project, and legacy partners Street Soccer Scotland.

Celebrating #1YTG at Hosts and Champions exhibition, Scottish Government, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh.

With another Commonwealth Games on the horizon we’re delighted with the continued interest in our Hosts & Champions exhibition, which celebrates Scotland’s contribution to the competition, with a number of additional venues across Scotland confirmed for 2017 and 2018.  For further information check our project page and updates on Twitter using #HostsandChampions

Material collected during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Over the next twelve months we will also be collecting material relating to Team Scotland, preserving a record of Scotland’s participation in the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games and the 2018 Commonwealth Games. This material will be added to our Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive, which preserves over 80 years of Scottish sporting heritage.

Material from the Edinburgh 1970 Commonwealth Games held in the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive.

Share your memories of life on campus!

Opening up the Archive: 50 years of life on campus

University of Stirling Archives

10am-4pm

Saturday 18 March 2017

As part of a wide range of events being held across campus as part of Stirling Open Doors the University Archives is throwing open its doors to tell the story of the university’s foundation, growth and development. Come and explore the material we hold documenting the history of the university including our extensive photographic collection and view our new Timeline exhibition.

We are also inviting visitors to share their memories of the university. Bring along your old photographs of the campus and we will digitise them and add them to our collection, preserving further images of life on campus. If you’ve got stories to tell, or memories to share, you can contribute to our Stirling Stories project, which is being organised in collaboration with the School of Arts & Humanities. Students from our Heritage and Film & Media courses will be on hand to interview visitors about their memories of the university, creating a lasting record for the University Archive.

Full details of the University’s Stirling Open Doors Day events can be found at:

http://www.stir.ac.uk/anniversary/events/2017/communityopendoorsday/

Students photographed during Charities Week, 1969.

 

 

Full programme for Pass it on! Celebrating Scotland’s sporting heritage

We are delighted to present the full programme for Pass it on! Celebrating Scotland’s sporting heritage. The event will bring together experts in the curation, care, use and promotion of sporting heritage to discuss their work and provide details of current projects. The event if free and open to anyone with an interest in sporting heritage. If you would like to attend please contact Ian Mackintosh, Exhibitions Assistant, Hosts & Champions, at ian.mackintosh@stir.ac.uk / tel. 01786 467240

Pass it on! Celebrating Scotland’s sporting heritage

University of Stirling Library

Friday 24 February 2017

10.30: Tea & coffee

10.45: Sporting Heritage Networks

12.00: Unlocking Scotland’s Sporting Heritage #1

  • Hosts & Champions project
  • Karl Magee, University of Stirling
  • Ian Mackintosh, University of Stirling
  • Richard Haynes, University of Stirling

13.00: Lunch

13.45: Unlocking Scotland’s Sporting Heritage #2

15.00: Tea & coffee

15.15: Using Scotland’s Sporting Heritage

16.30: The Future of Scotland’s Sporting Heritage

  • Discussion chaired by Richard Haynes, University of Stirling

Throughout the day a small exhibition of material from the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive will be on display in the Archives & Special Collections area.

17.00: Evening social event, Macrobert arts centre

  • 17.00 – Drinks reception
  • 17.30 – Film screening
  • 19.00 – Conference dinner

2016: End-of-year review

Well, it’s that time of the year again. Time to tot up our visitor figures and enquiry databases to discover how our collections were used by researchers and find the most popular archives of 2016. For the second year running the collection which has topped our end-of-year chart is the NHS Forth Valley Archive. The collection, which includes the records of Stirling District Asylum (Bellsdyke Hospital) and the Royal Scottish National Hospital, continues to be very popular with family historians, providing a wealth of information on the patients who passed through the Victorian health-care system. In 2016 the records of these local hospitals have also increasingly been used by academics and students across a range of fascinating research projects.

The NHS Forth Valley Archive, our most popular collection for the second year running.

In 2017 the University of Stirling will celebrate its 50th anniversary having opened its doors for the first time on 18 September 1967. The interest in, and preparations for, this important anniversary have resulted in the university’s own archives taking the No. 2 spot. The University Archive holds the official history of the institution in its minute books, reports and publications. It also preserves the unofficial story of life on campus through student newspapers, memorabilia and oral history interviews with retired staff and alumni. We are looking forward to making full use of this material throughout next year’s 50th celebrations!

Our film collections remain incredibly popular with academics, researchers and students. In 2016 the personal and working papers of the director Lindsay Anderson ended the year at No. 3 in our chart. In part this was due to a renewed academic interest in his work sparked by the publication of Lindsay Anderson Revisited: Unknown Aspects of a Film Director (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016). The enduring appeal of films such as If…. and This Sporting Life also brought a number of researchers to Stirling. The collection was also a key resource for our own M Litt Film Studies students who worked on Anderson’s papers during their research placements in the archive.

Our film collections continue to be popular with researchers.

Outside the archives reading room our Hosts & Champions exhibition continued its tour around Scotland, taking material from our Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive to Stranraer, Kirkintilloch, Eastriggs and Grangemouth. Unique items from our collections were also loaned to exhibitions in places as varied as Montrose, Stirling, Paris and Udine!

We ended the year with the launch of an exciting new project to support the cataloguing and conservation of the Peter Mackay Archive, a collection relating to modern African history which was recently donated to the University of Stirling. A crowdfunding campaign has been launched on the Crowdfunder website:

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/petermackay/

Help us to reach our target by 24 January 2017!

Those results in full:

2016:

  1. NHS Forth Valley
  2. University of Stirling
  3. Lindsay Anderson

2015:

  1. NHS Forth Valley
  2. Musicians’ Union
  3. University of Stirling

2014:

  1. Norman McLaren
  2. NHS Forth Valley
  3. Commonwealth Games Scotland

Launch of crowdfunding campaign to support the Peter Mackay Archive

The University of Stirling Archives has launched its first crowdfunding campaign to support the cataloguing, conservation and digitisation of the Peter Mackay Archive. Mackay (1926-2013) was a tireless campaigner for African liberation, becoming politically active shortly after emigrating to Rhodesia in 1948. Following his death in Zimbabwe in 2013 the archive was carefully packed up by his family and shipped to the university. Mackay’s family hailed from the town of Doune, near Stirling, and it was his wish that the university become the custodians of his papers.

Working with the university’s fundraising team we have created a campaign for the archive on the Crowdfunder platform. We’ve set a target of £8,000 to be raised over a two month period (closing date 24th January 2017). Depending on the amounts donated supporters can also claim rewards including invitations to launch events, inscriptions on archive boxes and framed photographs from the archive. We hope you can help us in reaching our target! Further details can be found at:

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/petermackay/

An introduction to the Peter Mackay Archive:

The archive provides a comprehensive record of Mackay’s journalism, political activism, travel, photography and charity work. His journals, notebooks, correspondence and papers preserve a detailed account of his life as a writer and activist.

(Photo: Peter Mackay on the Freedom Road, a route which smuggled political dissidents out of South Africa)

Peter Mackay on the Freedom Road, a route which smuggled political dissidents out of South Africa

It includes a large collection of photographs taken by Mackay during his travels around Southern Africa. These images provide a stunning visual record of a continent during a period of great change. The independence struggles across a number of nations are documented alongside scenes from everyday life.

Independence supporters in Malawi photographed by Mackay in 1960.

Independence supporters in Malawi photographed by Mackay in 1960.

The Peter Mackay Archive is a collection of international importance and has already attracted interest from academics and researchers from around the world. The digitisation of his papers will provide online access to this unique archive of modern African history. We look forward to developing the archive as a major research resource for all students of African history and politics.

Some of Mackay's files which contain his correspondence with key figures in the independence movements of a number of Southern African nations.

Some of Mackay’s files which contain his correspondence with key figures involved in African independence

National Sporting Heritage Day Event, Friday 30 September

SHDay logoHosts & Champions Open Day

University of Stirling Archives

Friday 30 September

1 – 5 pm

On National Sporting Heritage Day we invite you to celebrate and explore our Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive. We’re opening up the University Archives on the afternoon of Friday 30th September to present a pop-up version of our Hosts & Champions exhibition. Celebrating over 80 years of participation and achievement by Scotland in the Commonwealth Games the exhibition has visited ten venues across Scotland, travelled hundreds of miles around the country and been seen by thousands of visitors since Glasgow 2014.

Members of our Hosts & Champions project team will be on hand to provide further information on the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive and our fascinating personal collections of sporting memorabilia of former competitors and sporting administrators. There will also be an opportunity to view unique home movies of sporting competition from the 1940s to the 1970s that have recently been donated to the archive.

If you’re a researcher thinking of using our collections; a sports administrator interested in finding out more about the value of sporting heritage; a Commonwealth Games athlete, volunteer or baton-bearer; or just have a general interest in the history of sport we’d love to see you on the 30th September!

For further details please contact us at archives@stir.ac.uk

cropped-Perth-case-crop.jpg

Wallace Monument Anniversary Exhibition

The Library has contributed three items of Wallace Monument memorabilia to an exhibition at the Wallace Monument. It is 155 years since the foundations of the Wallace Monument were laid. The Victorian Masterpiece exhibition on the third floor of the Monument contains exhibits which have been crowdsourced from local museums, libraries and private owners. This is what we contributed:

  • Sir Walter Scott’s Lady of the lake, 1869 edition bound in mauchline ware, photograph of the Wallace Monument on the front cover. The Wallace monument was completed in 1869.
  • A 1930s panorama of views from Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument, published in Stirling by R. S. Shearer.
  • William Power’s Wallace Monument: the official guide, published in the 1950s.

Wallace

To find out more about the Wallace Monument and the exhibition see http://www.nationalwallacemonument.com/the-monument/building-the-monument/

If you visit, remember that it’s on the third floor, reached by a narrow spiral staircase – wear sensible shoes!

 

 

 

 

Helen Beardsley

 

From exile to exhibition: Stirling treasure on tour

This spring one of the treasures of our Archives and Special Collections is setting off on a journey to Paris where it will feature in a major new exhibition on the life of the Emperor Napoleon. The volume is a British military signal book which contained detailed instructions for the garrison guarding Napoleon during his exile on the island of St Helena.

The signal book is a well-travelled volume. It was first used by Colonel Mark Wilks, Governor General of St Helena in 1815. This piece of Napoleonic memorabilia passed through the hands of a number of collectors until it was purchased at auction in New York by the family of Burt Eddy Taylor in 1928. In 1969 Mr Taylor donated his collection of Napoleonic material, including the signal book, to the new university library at Stirling. Now, in 2016 it sets sail again, for the Musée de l’Armée in Paris.

Our signal book being checked by the Emperor before its departure for Paris.

Our signal book being checked by the Emperor before its departure for Paris.

The signal book will feature in Napoléon à Sainte-Hélène. La Conquête de la Mémoire, a major new exhibition looking at Napoleon’s period of exile on the mid-Atlantic island which opens on 6 April 2016. Our small, scruffy volume will take its place alongside an extensive range of items from collections across Europe which have been brought together to tell the story of Napoleon’s captivity on St Helena.

Detail from inside cover of the signal book.

Detail from inside cover of the signal book.

The signal book highlights the lengths the to which the British went to ensure Napoleon did not escape from the island. The inside covers illustrate the flags and signals which were to be used for communication including those for raising the alarm if Napoleon was missing. To limit the chance of rescue by his supporters a garrison of 1,300 troops was placed on the tiny island. In addition four Royal Navy ships patrolled offshore. Within the pages of the book further detailed instructions were laid out in the event of Napoleon’s absence:

‘the Signal Officers of the different posts are strictly enjoined to lose no time in communicating the intelligence personally to the places nearest them where troops may be stationed to the end that patroles may be immediately sent out in every direction to insure the impracticability of any person escaping from the island.’

The procedures put in place evidently worked. Napoleon remained on the island until his death in May 1821.

Napoléon à Sainte-Hélène. La Conquête de la Mémoire

Musée de l’Armée, Paris

6th April – 24th July 2016

The Jacobites and their Legacy

The latest exhibition in the Library commemorates the 300th anniversary of the 1715 Jacobite Rising. The display includes books, manuscripts, artwork and artefacts from the University Library’s collections, as well as some books and broadsides from partner institutions – the Library of Innerpeffray (http://www.innerpeffraylibrary.co.uk/) and the Leighton Library in Dunblane (http://www.spanglefish.com/leightonlibrary/).

You can see the exhibition during November, and then again in the New Year.

A pair of shoe buckles from one of our collections. Visit the library to find out why they are one of our 'treasures'.

A pair of shoe buckles from our collections, which supposedly belonged to Bonnie Prince Charlie

Helen Beardsley

Senior Subject Librarian (Arts and Humanities)