The Governor, the Poorhouse, the Station and family history – guest blog by Danny Gallacher

Our guest blogger, Mr Danny Gallacher, is a Lay Governor on Glasgow Caledonian University’s Court. On National Genealogy Day he talks about his links with the University and the history of our Glasgow campus site.

I thought my family links with GCU were many and varied. I am a Lay Governor on Court, an alumnus of the University, my daughter is also an alumnus, my son works here and my grandkids attended the University nursery. I was surprised to discover other links that go much further back in time whilst conducting some family history research. I learned that the campus was previously the site of a major railway station, Buchanan Street Station at the west end of the campus, and also the City Poorhouse at the east end of the campus. My family had connections with them both.

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Urban Legend: Why the Sandy Hobbs Collection? – guest blog by Sandy Hobbs

Alexander (Sandy) Hobbs is a significant donor and friend of GCU Archive Centre. In July this year, he received the Linda Dégh Lifetime Achievement Award for Legend Scholarship by the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research. His research in this area is part of the Sandy Hobbs papers. Congratulations to Sandy from the Archive Centre team.

My long association with “Urban Legends” starts in my childhood in Aberdeen, when my grandmother told me a story generally called “Downie’s Slaughter”. At the time it was just something my granny talked about, but later I came to see it as an example of what I came to realise people mean by the name “Urban Legend”.  

Let us put the story aside and move on to 1954 when, at the age of 17, I entered Aberdeen University, planning to study Psychology. My choice of this subject was based on a quite inadequate understanding of what Psychology was as an academic discipline. It became clear to me that there was a strong movement, particularly in the United States, to make Psychology an experimental science. Teaching on the course included taking part in demonstration experiments. One which particularly interested me was called Serial Reproduction. 

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Scottish Marxist: blending politics and the arts – guest blog by Cameron Wilson

Our guest blogger, Cameron Wilson, is a member of our Library’s Collection & Discovery team. Cam joined us for a two week project working with the Scottish Marxist. Here he gives us his personal reflections on its value as a primary source.

“The function, as it seems to me,  
O’ Poetry is to bring to be   
At lang, lang last that unity…”

  • Hugh MacDiarmid

As part of my library assistant graduate trainee program at Glasgow Caledonian University’s Sir Alex Ferguson Library, I was afforded the opportunity to intern in the library’s archive centre for two weeks. This internship has involved working with one of the most rewarding and valuable pieces of print media I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading – Scottish Marxist. For these two weeks I have worked on a comprehensive index of Scottish Marxist’s political articles, arts and culture articles, and original illustration and poetry.

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Workers Education Association Scotland archive – guest blog by Ray McCowan


On the 24th January 2022 – International Day of Education – GCU Archive Centre are delighted to announce that the Workers Education Association Scotland story will be preserved, catalogued and made available for the use of current and future generations. WEA Scotland have played an important role in education for the common good over almost 120 years to date and now their historical records will begin a new life as a research resource, available to all. First discussed in early 2020 it was not until September 2021 that the full collection arrived here. This was, of course, mainly due to restrictions caused by the pandemic.

Our guest blogger Ray McCowan is the Director of the WEA Scotland. Here he tells the story of bringing their archives together and creating a national heritage collection. 

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Signing off

After five years working at GCU Archive Centre and nearly a decade overall in the Sir Alex Ferguson Library and Archives, I’m leaving my post as Archive Assistant.

It may seem self-indulgent to write a valedictory going away message, but I wanted to use this a chance to reflect and be thankful for the time I have had here, the skills I’ve learned, the habits ingrained, and most importantly, the people I’ve worked with. Continue reading

Shades of Gray – guest blog by Douglas Erskine

We know the Oscar Marzaroli Collection is a great source of inspiration and our guest blogger, Douglas Erskine, uses one of Oscar’s photographs as the starting point for this contribution on Gray Day 2021. Douglas is a researcher and writer with a strong interest in Scottish art. He is currently preparing a monograph on the life and work of the Glasgow artist Alan Fletcher (1930-58).

Of all the images donated to Glasgow Caledonian University by the family of the great Scottish photographer Oscar Marzaroli, few are as striking as the photograph of a young Alasdair Gray posing with his cadaverous alter ego – a portrait by Alan Fletcher – at the 1959 exhibition which Gray organised in his late friend’s memory. Continue reading

Keeping Scottish social enterprise stories

It has been a memorable year and one that we will remember for the rest of our lives.  But although we have been living through the same pandemic, everybody’s experience of life under COVID-19 has been different.  Like many, the social enterprise sector has struggled with lock-down, businesses closed, staff furloughed, often relying on additional funding to keep their heads above the water.  But it has also been a time where social enterprises have come to the fore, stepping in to meet local needs and provide vital services for their communities.  Social enterprises have demonstrated their value by providing services like food for vulnerable and needy people, bikes for frontline workers, activities for children, and shown how business motivated by serving the public good, rather than self-profit, has helped strengthen communities. Continue reading

Archive Centre update on our Scottish Government funded social enterprise project

The first phase of the Scottish Government funded project, ‘Future Development of the Social Enterprise Collection (Scotland)’, has now come to an end.  The University’s Archive Centre and Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health have been working on the project since November 2018 to preserve and catalogue existing social enterprise collections and carry out research and outreach work to showcase and build on the collections. Although the Archive Centre reading room is closed at the moment and there is no access to the physical collections, we are able to share digital outputs of the project with you. Continue reading

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