I’m the Collections Development trainee at Glasgow City Archives. I studied history at the University of Glasgow and completed a PhD in Scottish charitable history. I spent a lot of this time doing research in archives and I loved the sense of discovery that comes from exploring a collection. After I graduated I decided not to continue in academia and began working in a public library and volunteering as a guide at the National Museum of Scotland.
I have always been interested in archives and volunteered there as a teenager. The traineeship is a really great opportunity and without it I would not have been able to gain work experience in the sector. The training and support available is invaluable, as is the opportunity to study for a module on outreach at the University of Dundee.
My role involves scoping out what the archives hold to highlight areas of particular strength but also to show areas that need to be further developed. This will inform how the archives collect material in the future, enabling archivists to prioritise and identify particular groups and themes. My work will also involve looking at the archives’ relationship with depositors and the best use of storage space.
It is particularly exciting because collections development is a relatively new idea in archives and Glasgow City Archives is the only collection in Scotland undertaking this type of project. The size and breadth of collections held by Glasgow City Archives make it a very interesting and stimulating project.
About Glasgow City Archives
Glasgow City Archives serves to collect, preserve and provide access to the historical records for the city. Glasgow’s first archivist was appointed just over 50 years ago, in 1964. Since then, as well as the official records from Glasgow City Council, the collections have expanded to include records from private individuals, families and organisations based in or around Glasgow.
The collections include: Glasgow architectural plans dating from 1885 (ranging from tenements to council schemes to designs from Charles Rennie Mackintosh); records from over 300 Glasgow schools; over a million poor relief applications from Glasgow, Govan and parishes within Strathclyde; kirk session records for the Church of Scotland churches within the Presbytery of Glasgow, Episcopal Churches, Methodists, Baptists, and other denominations; personal and estate records from the Maxwells of Pollok and Smiths of Jordanhill families and others; business records from Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd, MacFarlane Engineering Co Ltd and Mitchells, Johnston & Co solicitors, among others.
In 1975 the creation of Strathclyde Regional Council led to the inclusion of the records from councils such as Lanarkshire, Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire (the majority of which we still hold despite the disbanding of Strathclyde Regional Council in 1996). We are the largest local authority archive in Scotland, with around 30,000 linear metres of records. As well as dealing with remote enquiries from all over the world, the archivists supervise a busy public searchroom, host various events and contribute to social media.