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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

New additions to Hosts & Champions exhibition

In this article our Exhibition Assistant, Ian Mackintosh, writes about the new additions that have been added to the exhibition since it began its tour around Scotland.

Since Hosts and Champions was first exhibited at the Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow during the 2014 Commonwealth Games we have had some major new additions to our Commonwealth Games Archive. This material has been donated by the families of Sir Peter Heatly and Mr William Carmichael. Both of these gentleman were involved with the Scotland team in a variety of roles including competitor, judge, Team Manager and administrator. Now that the exhibition has moved onto the Dewars Centre in Perth we have extra display cases available where we have the opportunity to display some of these new items.

Sir Peter Heatly’s long and distinguished association with the Commonwealth Games is reflected in the material which has been donated by his family. The items, which include clothing such as Team blazers, ties and badges, cover his time as a competitor in the 1950s (when he won gold medals for diving in 1950, 1954 and 1958) and his later career as Team Manager and administrator.

Our Exhibition Assistant, Ian Mackintosh, with the display of material from Sir Peter Heatly's collection he created for the exhibition in the Dewars Centre, Perth.

Our Exhibition Assistant, Ian Mackintosh, with the display of material from Sir Peter Heatly’s collection he created for the exhibition in the Dewars Centre, Perth.

On retiring from competing Sir Peter became manager of Team Scotland and received gifts such as stone ware mugs in Perth, Australia, in 1962 and a plaque from the organisers of the 1966 Games in Kingston, Jamaica. As a member of the organising committee of the 1970 Edinburgh Games Sir Peter received many gifts from visiting nations and was also presented with a silver plated tankard and salver for his committee work. These are just some of the items that we have chosen to display as part of the exhibition.

While the exhibition was in Irvine from March to April 2015, we were contacted by the family of Mr William Carmichael. They had a collection of items that Mr Carmichael had collected as an Administrator for the Scottish Commonwealth Games Team and the Great Britain Olympic team. We have gratefully accepted this material and it has proved to be a treasure trove of Commonwealth Games history. Included in the collection is a roll of Clan Edin Tartan from the 1970 Edinburgh Games. This was the first time that a tartan had been commissioned especially for the Commonwealth games. A hand-made mascot for the Scottish team is also included, not, however ‘Wee Mannie’ who we have written about before.

The Edinburgh 1970 mascot which joined our touring exhibition in Irvine!

The Edinburgh 1970 mascot which joined our touring exhibition in Irvine!

Other items include pennants that were designed for the 1950, 1954 and 1970 Games. The Carmichael Collection also has a large selection of badges which he collected over the years. Mr Carmichael was also an international wrestling judge and he attended the London 1934 Empire Games in that capacity. His judge’s badge for this competition is part of the display in Perth. It is one of the earliest exhibits that we have in our collection. These are just some of the many new items we are able to display in Perth and we are grateful to the Dewars Centre for the opportunity to exhibit this additional material.

A selection of the Commonwealth Games memorabilia collected by Willie Carmichael which has been donated to the archive.

A selection of the Commonwealth Games memorabilia collected by Willie Carmichael which has been donated to the archive.

The exhibition will be on display in Perth until Saturday 27th June. Why not pop into the Dewars Centre and take a look at this fascinating slice of sporting history?

The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014 – A Final Tour!

Our touring Hosts & Champions Exhibition will be on display at Trinity Church, Irvine, until this Friday 17th April. In this article Jocelyn Grant, one of our Exhibition Assistants, looks at the some of the exhibition items from the Commonwealth Games 2014.

This is the final tour of the series looking at the Hosts and Champions Exhibition in Irvine, Trinity Church. Each of these tours has looked to highlight some of the iconic and exciting materials from the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive that the Exhibition displays, and it would be remiss of me not to include the most recent and local of the Commonwealth Games; Glasgow 2014!

The Hosts and Champions Exhibition moves on to Carnoustie, Dundee this weekend, so if you would like to see this display before it ends, go now!

Another tour! – Commonwealth Tartans

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.

In the Hosts and Champions Exhibition in Irvine items from the Commonwealth Games Archive highlight the history of the Commonwealth Games internationally, and locally within Scotland. This includes some of the legacies that have been left behind by the Games, not only in buildings and facilities that the public can use, but in design as well. Today’s tour looks at the tartans that have been created for the Commonwealth Games in Scotland.

Another tour to follow soon!

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.

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.

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.