Sporting Heritage Fair
Leith Victoria Athletic Club
28 Academy Street, Edinburgh, EH6 7EF
Sunday 30 September 2018
2pm to 5pm
The University of Stirling’s Hosts & Champions team are celebrating this year’s National Sporting Heritage Day with a pop-up event at Leith Victoria Athletic Club, Scotland’s oldest boxing club which will celebrate its centenary in 2019. Our sporting heritage fair will focus on boxing at the Commonwealth Games and will celebrate the long and distinguished contribution of members of Leith Victoria to the competition.
Material from the University of Stirling’s Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive will be on display, including a gallery of images illustrating the history of Scottish boxing at the competition. Members of Leith Victoria and the wider Scottish boxing community are invited to visit the event and share their memories of competition. Visitors are also invited to bring bring their own boxing memorabilia, including photographs, which will be digitised at the event by our Hosts & Champions team and added to the archive at Stirling.
Sporting Heritage in partnership with the Art Fund, are proud to support community sporting heritage activity across the UK through a programme of locally focused projects in celebration of National Sporting Heritage Day. Follow the action at #NSHD2018.
My name is Curstaidh and I am a Master’s degree student pursuing an MSc in Archives and Record Management. Every now and then in an archive, you find an item that is so fascinating and transportive that before you know it, the motion-detector lights have gone off and your stomach is rumbling loudly in protest at its late lunchtime. Three weeks ago, I found such an item.
Despite the thick straggly strands of the mop that’s on top of his head, you can still see Peter Heatly’s broad smile beaming out at the camera. He is dressed up as a stowaway on board the Tamaroa, the ship which transported members of the Scottish and English Teams to Auckland for the 1950 British Empire Games. It’s no wonder that passengers had to dream up ways to amuse themselves – the ship left Southampton on the 16th of December 1949 and, apart from a quick stop on Curaçao off the coast of Venezuela, didn’t see land until arrival in Auckland on the 21st of January 1950.
The journey is documented in a photo album compiled by Peter Heatly, complete with captions, certificates and the ship’s farewell dinner menu. Who knows if the man in the photograph knew that he was sailing towards his first Gold Commonwealth medal, that he would go on to become one of Team Scotland’s most decorated athletes, that he would hold almost every managerial position available within the Commonwealth Games Framework all the way up to Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation? That indeed he would become Sir Peter Heatly? It is material such as this photograph album that encapsulates the value that personal papers add to an archive collection. We catch a glimpse of the person before the medals and titles and then we get to follow their lives through the items that passed by their own hands – personal letters, souvenirs, collectables and committee papers.
Heatly’s personal papers are one of three recent additions to the University of Stirling’s Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive. The bulk of this archive is made up of material deposited by the Commonwealth Games Scotland office, but the personal papers of Heatly, Willie Carmichael and Douglas Brown will allow researchers to gain a unique insight into the processes and politics of preparing for each of the Commonwealth Games.
For the last two months I have been building on the extensive work carried out by the University Library’s Exhibitions Assistant Ian on the collections of Sir Peter Heatly and Willie Carmichael. Together we have provided descriptions for all of the items and designed a system of arrangement to make it as easy as possible for users to navigate the two collections. It has been a source of great pride to discover, through Heatly and Carmichael, the important role that Scotland has played in the Commonwealth Games. Not only is Scotland one of just five countries that have participated in each Games since the first in 1930, but she has also hosted them 3 times (Edinburgh 1970, 1986 and Glasgow 2014) and was the host of the very first Commonwealth Youth Games (Edinburgh 2000). Although Carmichael and Heatly’s collections span a large timeframe, their combined material serves as a particularly rich resource for the 1970 and 1986 Games. Both were heavily involved in the organising of Edinburgh 1970, with Carmichael serving as the Director of Organisation, and Heatly served as the Chairman of Edinburgh 1986, before overseeing the organisation from afar in his role as Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation 1982-1990. Those who remember the successes of 1970 and the controversies of 1986 will no doubt be curious to get an insider’s perspective on the build-up and aftermath of each Games.
With Scotland not long home from Gold Coast 2018, their most successful away Games ever, it is the perfect time to come and have a look at the rich history that the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive has to offer.
Curstaidh Reid is currently completing MSc in Archives and Record Management at the University of Glasgow. In June and July 2018 she worked on a project at the University of Stirling Archives to catalogue the personal papers of Sir Peter Heatly and Willie Carmichael.
In early 2014 the University Archives was contacted by William Simpsons, a care home in Plean which provides residential care along with respite and day care facilities. William Simpsons has been providing care at this site for almost two hundred years, originally opening in 1832 as the William Simpson’s Asylum, an institution which provided care and support for former soldiers and sailors.
Building work had unearthed a collection of historical material consisting of four large metal trunks of documents and 38 volumes and ledgers. Upon inspection the material revealed itself as a comprehensive collection of nineteenth century records which provide a detailed account of the management and administration of both the William Simpson’s Asylum and the surrounding Plean Estate. The material complimented the historical records of NHS Forth Valley, held in the University Archives and it was transferred to the University Of Stirling.
Today we are engaged in an exciting project which is opening up the collection for the first time. This work follows an initial survey of the material carried out with the support of the Wellcome Trust in 2016 which highlighted the value of the collection for the study of both medical and local history. The survey also revealed links between the William Simpson’s Asylum and Stirling District Asylum, with evidence being discovered of regular contact between the two institutions.
With the assistance of a team of student volunteers we are cleaning, flattening and repacking the thousands of nineteenth century documents which are crammed, in tightly packed bundles, into the four metal trunks. The contents of these trunks were examined as part of the Wellcome Trust survey which has provided us with a useful overview of the range of material present.
Our current project will enable these documents to be used by researchers in our archives reading room, while the unpacking of the bundles will allow more detailed cataloguing of their contents which will provide further information on the collection.
The project has already revealed some interesting material, including the following documents:
This list provides a detailed account of the first ‘inmates’ of the asylum, recording their names, ages, place of birth, army service and trade. Additional remarks on their character and behaviour are also recorded as are details of burials for patients who died in the asylum.
This document is one of a set of regularly revised and updated versions of the House Regulations, which would have been prominently displayed in the asylum. The 1855 version stretches to 13 rules governing all aspects of life in the asylum. Smoking was ‘not allowed within the House.’ However, ‘one bottle of beer will be allowed to each man for two days – that is, half a bottle to each per day.’
For further information and updates on this project please contact the University Archives.