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Yearly Archives: 2015
As 2015 draws to a close its time to review another busy year for the University Archives and look at how our collections were used by researchers. As in previous years we’ve put together an end-of-year chart of our most popular collections by combining the information recorded in our enquiries database with the records of material consulted by visitors to our archives reading room.
The collection which topped this year’s chart has been incredibly popular since its transfer to the University Archives in 2012. No. 1 in 2013 and no. 2 in 2014 the NHS Forth Valley Archive has retaken the top spot in 2015. The bulk of the collection relates to two local hospitals, the Stirling District Asylum (Bellsdyke Hospital) and the Royal Scottish National Hospital, Larbert. There continues to be huge genealogical interest in the information contained in the records of the hospitals, alongside increasing academic interest in the research value of the material.
This summer the completion of the Wellcome Trust funded Continuity of Care project improved access to the collection through a programme of conservation and cataloguing of the Royal Scottish National Hospital Archive, with full details of the collection now available on our online archive catalogue.
Our No. 2 is a former chart topper (in 2012) its place in this year’s list showing the growing research interest in the collection. The Musicians’ Union Archive provides a comprehensive record of the organisation’s activity since it was founded as the Amalgamated Musicians’ Union in Manchester in 1893. Recent enquiries related to the collection have included topics as varied as female musicians in London during World War One, the working practices of cinema musicians in the silent era, international union relations, The Beatles, the impact of the synthesizer and miming on Top of the Pops. The collection also provides a rich resource for family historians researching their musical ancestors.
The Musicians’ Union Archive is also a key resource for two major AHRC funded projects, British Silent Cinema and the Transition to Sound (De Montfort University / University of Stirling) and The Musicians’ Union: A Social History (University of Glasgow). Some of the research carried out by these projects will be presented at the conference ‘Working in Music: The Musicians’ Union, musical labour and employment’, which will be held in Glasgow in January 2016.
As the University of Stirling heads toward its 50th anniversary in 2017 we find our own institutional archives at No. 3 in this year’s list. 2015 saw an increased interest in our own archival resources both within the university and from external researchers. 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.
Before we end our review of 2015 an honourable mention should go to our film-related collections. The personal and working papers of three Scottish filmmakers took fourth, fifth and sixth places on our chart (Lindsay Anderson, John Grierson and Norman McLaren). If combined these film archives would have topped the list, their continued popularity showing the wealth of material relating to the history of cinema held in our collections.
Outside the archives reading room our most seen collection was undoubtedly our Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive. Our touring Hosts & Champions exhibition, which celebrates over 80 years of Scottish participation and achievement in the Commonwealth Games, has visited a variety of venues across Scotland this year, starting its tour in Irvine in March and ending the year at Dumfries Museum. The exhibition will continue its tour in the new year visiting Stranraer in January and Kirkintilloch in March. We’ll provide further information about the Hosts & Champions touring programme and other exciting projects and events taking place in 2016 in the new year.
Those results in full:
1. NHS Forth Valley
2. Musicians’ Union
3. University of Stirling
1. Norman McLaren
2. NHS Forth Valley
3. Commonwealth Games Scotland
1. NHS Forth Valley
2. Musicians’ Union
3. Norman McLaren
Further details of previous end of year reviews can be found here.
Students taking a new course on Interpretation and Exhibition Design have created two new displays in the university library using material from our archive collections. The third year undergraduate students were given the task of exploring our John Grierson and Norman McLaren archives and researching, planning and installing exhibitions based on material in the collections.
The two displays focus on particular aspects of the work of the two Stirling-born filmmakers chosen by the students. The display in the archives reading room cases looks at John Grierson’s time at the GPO Film Unit, which he joined in 1933. The library wall features material relating to Norman McLaren’s experiments with hand-drawn images and sound, with particular reference to his 1940 film Dots.
The exhibitions will be on display in the university library until Friday 26 February 2016.
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)
‘We Have Tomorrow’: Peter Mackay and the Liberation Movement in Southern Africa
University of Stirling Library
5.30pm, Tuesday 22nd September 2015
The University of Stirling Archives invites you to an event to celebrate the donation of the papers of Peter Mackay (1926-2013), a key figure in the independence movements of Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (Malawi). Born into a Scottish family with strong links to Doune, Mackay served in the Scots Guards, where he became the youngest captain in the Brigade, before emigrating to Southern Rhodesia in 1948. There he rejected the attitudes prevalent in the white community and served as a key organiser for the multiracial Capricorn Society founded by Colonel David Stirling, also from the Doune area. In 1956, however, he resigned from the Capricorn Society and over the next quarter of a century devoted himself to the cause of African liberation in Nyasaland and Southern Rhodesia, becoming actively involved with nationalist leaders such as Yatuta Chisiza in Nyasaland and James Chikerema and George Nyandoro in Rhodesia. Following the establishment of majority rule in Zimbabwe, he took up the cause of the impoverished people of Omay on the shores of Lake Kariba. His volume of memoirs, We Have Tomorrow: Stirrings in Africa, 1959-1967 provides remarkable insights into Southern African nationalism in its most principled phase.
The event will begin with a public lecture by Dr John McCracken (author of A History of Malawi) on ‘Peter Mackay and the role of White Activists in the Nationalist Struggle in Malawi and Zimbabwe.’ The lecture will be followed by an opportunity to view a selection of material from the Peter Mackay Archive in our archives reading room.
To reserve a place at the event, or to find out more about the collection, please email us at email@example.com
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
One interesting item in the Royal Scottish National Hospital collection is the visitor’s book (ref: RS/2/6). In it are recorded the impressions of visiting deputations and individuals. The deputations were usually from Parochial Boards visiting the children they had referred to the Institution but include groups from similar institutions across Britain.
Many of the visitors came from overseas, particularly in the earlier years, and there are comments from Belgium, United States, France, Germany, Norway, Russia and New Zealand.
For example Dr J A Peeters from the Colony Gheel was commissioned by the Belgian government to examine the organisation of the Scottish system of lunacy administration. In July 1892 he wrote (in French but helpfully translated in the book) ‘I have been deeply touched by the care which is lavished upon the children. I hope that Belgium may some day have the glory of possessing an establishment organized in a similarly admirable manner’. In July 1894 William S Manson from Stanford University, California wrote ‘Scotland may be proud of this school and its work’.
Also included is a touching note of thanks from a grateful parent in Philadelphia, September 1896:
‘I must record my deep sense of gratitude to Mr and Mrs Skene [the medical superintendent and his wife] in whose charge I left my delicate little girl over a year ago. During her last illness of twenty-one weeks duration she has been nursed day and night and every facility given to one to see her at all times…The Children’s Home is not excelled by any one in England or America’.
It is a fitting tribute to what, for its time, was such a progressive institution that it should be recognised as an example internationally.
2015 is the 80th anniversary of the first Penguin Books. To mark this milestone, the Library has a selection of books and memorabilia from its collections on display. The Library is fortunate to have a collection of Penguins which is almost complete up to 1960 thanks to Dr Angus Mitchell, former Chair of the University Court, who donated his collection to the Library some years ago.
To accompany the exhibition, Professor Alec Spencer, Penguin collector and creator of the Penguin First Editions website http://www.penguinfirsteditions.com/, will give a lecture, ‘Penguin Books 80th Birthday: Allen Lane: Mercenary or Missionary?’ on Thursday 4th June at 6pm in the Enterprise Zone in the Library. Wine and soft drinks will be available. Please contact Helen Beardsley by 27th May to reserve a place (firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. 01786 467236).
The exhibition will be in the Library until the end of June 2015.
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!
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!