Sir Alex Ferguson: my story in objects

Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson CBE has enjoyed a spectacular career in football, both as a player and manager. He was born in Govan on Hogmanay 1941 to parents Alexander, a plater’s helper in the shipbuilding industry, and Elizabeth (née Hardie). After obtaining his Secondary School Certificate he completed an apprenticeship as a toolmaker with Remington Rand. His senior football playing career lasted from 1958 to 1974, when he entered management with East Stirlingshire, St Mirren and Aberdeen, before joining Manchester United in 1986. Continue reading

What we do

My brother is getting married this weekend, and along with revising my best man speech (gulp), I’m also anticipating a lot of relatives and newly minted in-laws asking the perennial question; what is it you do again?

sign for GCU Archive Centre in foreground. Behind can see red lockers

GCU Archive Centre reading room

As ever, I’ll smile and reply that I work as an archive assistant. They’ll nod, pause and then ask, but what do you do? And that’s where it gets tricky.

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Getting social in the archives

The life of a project archivist can sometimes be quite isolated.  You can spend hours on your own in the archives arranging and cataloguing records. But sometimes a project comes along where you get to interact more with people, as I have discovered working on the Social Enterprise Collection (Scotland).

Colour photograph of Project Archivist working at a desk with bundles of papers with Archive Centre banner in the background.

Working on records in the Archive Centre

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) Archive Centre holds the Social Enterprise Collection (Scotland) which is a national archive of records from organisations and individuals involved in the social enterprise movement across Scotland.  Continue reading

Gifts that keep on giving

To meet someone gifting to the Archive Centre is (at least for this writer) in parts agreeable, humbling, and slightly nerve-inducing – exacerbated manifold if the materials are of personal or sentimental value.

The neatly folded and dry-cleaned blazer which Doreen Blanche brought to the reading room had belonged to her late mother and was the first of its kind received to Glasgow Caledonian University Archive Centre. Pale blue with purple stripes, it was worn by students of the Glasgow and West of Scotland College of Domestic Science – colloquially and affectionately referred to as the ‘Dough School’. Later renamed The Queen’s College, Glasgow, it is a founding institution of GCU.

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Want to know more about GCU’s history – read on…

A Wellcome Trust Research Resources Project

Our Wellcome Trust Research Resources funded project Poverty, Health, Diet and Education in Glasgow: from Domestic Science to the Allied Health Professions, 1875-1993 is now finished. With its completion comes three comprehensive online catalogues, a glimpse into the archives via a new online exhibition and a set of blogs and tweets built up over a one year period. The door is now open for you to delve in and better understand the amazing story of one strand of our founding institutions. Continue reading

Banner Tales – Glasgow and the Anti-Apartheid Movement – 13th October 2018

On a rainy Saturday afternoon stands were assembled, banners unfurled and hung. Pencils sharpened and leaflets laid. All in preparation for the attendees, as they arrived to mellifluous South African music that melded soon with memories regaled.

This was Banner Tales, an event organised by Glasgow Museums, Glasgow University Geography Department, Glasgow Caledonian University Archive Centre, ACTSA Scotland and Nelson Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation with the support of the Raphael Samuel History Centre. The two banners under discussion were from the Scottish Anti-Apartheid Archive held in GCU Archive Centre and Glasgow Life. Each authentic to the time period and rich in colour and history.

One of many events throughout October as part of Black History Month, it also coincided with the week of the 25th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s visit to Glasgow on the 9th of October 1993 to receive the freedom of nine cities.

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What’s in a name? Royal connection of the Queen’s College, Glasgow

A Wellcome Trust Research Resources Project


It was during its centenary year in 1975 that the College received its royal title, the Queen’s College, Glasgow.  Before that it was called the Glasgow and West of Scotland College of Domestic Science (Incorporated), a name dating back to 1908 when the two Glasgow cookery schools amalgamated to form the College.   At that time it described very precisely (if not concisely) the function of the College, but after the passage of sixty seven years the name no longer fitted its purpose.  Continue reading

Electrifying Domestic Science – guest blog by Eleanor Peters

Eleanor Peters is a University of Aberdeen PhD student. She has been using the Queen’s College, Glasgow (formerly the Glasgow and West of Scotland College of Domestic Science) records, which are in the final stages of being catalogued as part of the Wellcome Trust Research Resources Project.  Many thanks to Eleanor for sharing the fascinating information she has found from the records.  I wonder what other areas of research the catalogue will unlock when it goes live later this year. (KM)

Over the last year, I have had the pleasure of visiting the Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) archive several times to carry out research for my PhD. As a part-time research student in the second year of my studies, my thesis is still very much ‘taking shape’; however, it was the records for the Glasgow and West of Scotland College of Domestic Science (GWSCDS) which inspired the subject matter of my PhD: Electricity and Domestic Science Institutes in Scotland and England c.1910-1939.

Newspaper cutting with photograph of a woman demonstrating an electric vacuum cleaner to a customer

Demonstrating an electric vacuum cleaner, Newspaper cutting February 1934.

Women played an integral role in promoting the uptake of gas appliances in Britain in the late 1800s; large audiences gathered to watch female appliance demonstrators (also known as ‘Lady Demons’!) cook using gas stoves.[1] I wondered if women had also played an active role in demonstrating electrical appliances; being a student at the University of Aberdeen, I naturally turned my attentions to electrical appliance demonstrations in Scotland first. Continue reading