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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’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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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
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.
Opening up the Archive: 50 years of life on campus
University of Stirling Archives
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:
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.
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.
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:
Help us to reach our target by 24 January 2017!
Those results in full:
- NHS Forth Valley
- University of Stirling
- Lindsay Anderson
- NHS Forth Valley
- Musicians’ Union
- University of Stirling
- Norman McLaren
- NHS Forth Valley
- Commonwealth Games Scotland
Hosts & 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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!
Layla Essat is a Masters student in Gender Studies at the University of Stirling. This is the first of a series of articles on her project placement investigating the Stirling District Asylum archive held by the University of Stirling.
Stirling District Lunatic Asylum first opened its doors in 1869. Located in Larbert, many of its patients had been transferred from the large Royal and Private Asylums in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee. Like many institutions of the time, the asylum kept extensive handwritten records, logging and chronicling all under their care. These records for a long time remained stored away and inaccessible but have now found a new home in our very own University archive.
Beginning investigation into the records, I was fairly uncertain of what I was going to find. Undertaking this project in relation to my current Gender Studies Masters at Stirling, my only initial guiding focus was to explore the collection with the aim of discovering the situation of women. With the collection as a whole spanning over a hundred years, it was immediately apparent that a large task lay ahead. In response, I refined my focus to the years 1900 – 1910.
Ploughing my way through hundreds of pages of admissions registers, a familiar phrase kept popping up as “supposed cause of insanity.” What was this G.P of the Insane and why was it wholly prevalent in married women and men? Immediately fascinated and I was intent on learning more about the female patients this affected. With a quick input into google, I soon found the gendered relationship of this illness opening up.
General Paresis otherwise known as General Paralysis of the insane was first coined in the 1830s. As the name suggests, records state that patients at the asylum suffered from broad and vague symptoms, including fatigue, headaches and insomnia. Similarly, family members reported changes in personality, concentration and memory was severely impaired. They all suffered from slurred speech and facial and bodily tremors. Most notably, and highly typical of this disease, was the presence of delusions. This disease was syphilis.
The most socially revealing symptom could be seen in the patient’s eyes and was termed Argyll Robertson pupils. Often termed “prostitute’s pupils”, they were large and unreceptive to changes in light. This discovery proved key. From this I speculated a connection between the use of prostitutes by men and the then inevitable transmission of this illness to their wives. The picture suddenly became much bigger and from here, I begin to question who the real victims in this situation were. In an age where a woman’s marital duty was to provide sex, it would prove highly difficult for these women to protect themselves from the inadvertent dangers of commercial sex. Given that symptoms could take up to 20 years to manifest, innocent wives were likely to pay the price of their husband’s pre-marital sexual encounters as well as any current ones. However, my research revealed that perhaps women caught it first- hand. The women in this asylum all came from some of the poorest sections of society. Marriage was often undertaken out of need to ensure financial security and very less often for love. “Casual Prostitutes” were women who engaged in prostitution as a side line to supplement household income, and often pushed to do so by their husbands.
This condition was otherwise termed The Great Imitator for its habit to share its symptoms with many other illnesses. I believe that this issue was far more widespread than it would first appear and suspect that many others with G.P of the Insane simply went misdiagnosed. Given the sheer number of male sufferers observed in the admissions register, I highly doubt that diagnosis of female patients with this condition to be accurate. I encountered several instances where diagnosis was changed upon death. The majority of women I encountered died in the asylum, and of the very few allowed home, prognosis would dictate that they would have died bedbound soon after.
We will perhaps never know the full plight of these women. However, the bottom lines remains; as long as society maintained the notion of a male right and need for satisfaction of sexual energies, the transmission of venereal diseases amongst prostitutes, innocent wives and their philandering husbands would continue. Bluntly, male demand directly facilitated female harm.
Layla Essat, May 2016
There is a new exhibition in the display cases in the Library. To coincide with the University’s recent Japan Week events, we have a display of books relating to Japan, some in Japanese and some in English. All of the books are from the Library’s collections.
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.
Senior Subject Librarian (Arts and Humanities)
11 months, 3400 items, 7 blogs and 27 tweets later the Wellcome Trust funded project to catalogue and conserve the records of the Royal Scottish National Hospital comes to an end next week.
The collection provides a comprehensive record of the management and operation of the hospital from 1862 to its closure in 2002. But perhaps the most significant part of the collection is the admission applications.
Over 3,000 in total, these contain detailed information about the child’s condition, and are often accompanied by family correspondence, an assessment of the child’s abilities, and medical evaluations.
The applications create a research resource for a number of purposes: details of father’s occupation and income for the social historian; information on disability and the causes of death for the medical historian; and the opportunity to cross refer to other sources of data such as census records.
A lot of the applications include detailed case studies with temperature charts, records of physical and mental health and diagrams of the severity and frequency of seizures. Taken in conjunction with other parts of the collection, such as the administration and correspondence files, they present a comprehensive picture of treatment, research and social attitudes. Only used in depth by one academic researcher so far, they are a resource waiting to be exploited.
No final blog is complete without the obligatory before and after photographs of just what a difference funding like that provided by the Wellcome Trust can do.
And as for my favourite items…I do like the drawings of santa that the children were asked to do as part of their assessment. Below is my favourite one from 1929.
This will be the last blog by the Project Archivist but by no means the last on the collection. Also, not only will there be an article on the hospital in the August edition of History Scotland but an exhibition in the display wall at Archives and Special Collections, University of Stirling Library from 6th August for two months.
Alison Scott, Project Archivist