AUDREY GRANT Artist in Residence: June 2023 Diary

The month of June was a slightly quieter month after the intensive activity of
May as there was much to process and reflect upon, to assimilate and order
the many photographs taken on my walks around the campus. Could I
begin to see what picture or pictures were emerging as to where my artistic
interest would lie.
The main focus of my research in early June was a second visit to the
Archives to look in more detail through all the boxes of the Airthrey Archive.
Thanks to Rosie al-Mulla I was able to navigate my way through fairly easily.
What was most striking for me about the papers in this archive is their visual
appearance and how beautiful and fragile they look, from the faded colour of
the paper, the handwriting, the red thread binding at the bottom all tied
together with another ribbon, just exquisite.

Document bundle from Airthrey Archive

The earliest papers are dated 1792, there is nothing before this. It is the ‘Disposition by Sir William Stirling of Ardoch to Robert Haldane Esq of the land of Pendrich & Miln, Drumdruills & Haughead’ The sale of land from one to another. What is intriguing is that the next dated document is 1862 so a 72 year gap where there is nothing. An absence waiting to be filled. Although I was advised that more may exist in the Stirling Council archive. The archive mainly seems to detail the sale of land, sometime even possessions. The record, the history is documented through the financial transactions of the land owners, the paper trail of land ownership, values and rental income. I was particularly struck by these documents – ‘Particulars of the Estate of Airthrey For Sale June 1885’. From the description of the Estate to the lists of individuals who rented farms or property from the Estate. There they are the citizens and workers of the Estate.

Particulars of the Estate of Airthrey, For Sale June 1885
Rental of the Estate

I am fascinated by the this list of names, is that what is left of them now – their name on a rental record or perhaps they are buried in the nearby cemetery? The list of names seems to act as a sort of ‘memorial’ to these men and women who once lived and worked on the Airthrey Estate. Another significant focus of my research is the area where the Gardens and Grounds Department sit, in the old walled garden at the far end of the campus. I discovered this area last month and wrote about it then too, but I was lucky to meet and spend an afternoon with Jacqueline McKenna, the
Manager. I was able to see inside and outside the greenhouses, some used by the Science departments others by her team to grow the plants that populate the campus. I was particularly fascinated by the greenhouses that seemed to be abandoned, but only until the next intake of science students. I peered through the misty glass to photograph what I could see.

More to come…

archives Written by: