Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


History Of Glasgow University Archive Service (GUAS)

The first University Archivist was appointed in 1955. The University Archivist has since been responsible for preserving and making available the historical records of the institution dating back to 1451. The earliest volumes include the Annales Universitatis Glasguensis 1451-1558.

The records become fuller after the Nova Erectio of 1577 and the construction in the following century of the Old College building in the High Street. For the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the archive is the fullest of the four ancient Scottish universities. By the 1780s Glasgow had about 1,800 students, making it of equivalent size to Oxford or Cambridge. The records cover a vast range of subjects from top level administration and policy making to student recreation and diet.

Reference Code: Unlisted . The entrance to the University on its former site in the High Street.
© Glasgow University Archive Services.

The Scottish Business Archive was inaugurated by Sydney Checkland, the first professor of Economic History, in 1959. It now holds records of almost every commercial and industrial activity that has been pursued in the west of Scotland in the last two hundred years. In particular, the shipbuilding records collection is unrivalled and includes those of John Brown of Clydebank, William Denny of Dumbarton, Lithgows of Port Glasgow, and Scotts of Greenock. Most other West of Scotland business sectors are also represented in our archive collections. Textiles are well covered with collections like James Findlay & Co, New Lanark Mills and J & P Coats Ltd. Railway locomotive and rolling stock manufacturers records are held for R Y Pickering & Co, Andrew Barclay Sons & Co Ltd, Dubs & Co and North British Locomotive Co amongst others. House of Fraser is the largest retailing collection in the Centre and the Trustees Savings Bank archive is the best represent ative of Scotland’s financial sector. This is just a sample of over 400 business collections held.

Until April 1996, the department maintained 2 searchrooms, one for University records on the main campus and one for business records in Thurso Street. The storage facility on the main campus was maintained until March 1998 when the fully integrated service was launched. From April 1996 we were known as Glasgow University Archives & Business Records Centre. The name of the service changed to Glasgow University Archive Services in September 2000 reflecting the style of name adopted by the other Information Services Departments.

Poster from the Anchor Line Collection.
Reference Code: UGD 255/1/40/5
A poster from the Anchor Line Collection promoting cruises to India and Pakistan.

Although the University Archives have performed some degree of records management for the University for many years, the Records Management Team was formed in 1996 to produce policy documents and conduct surveys of University departments. The pressure on space for teaching and research has meant that the amount of material sent to the Archives has quadrupled in the last 5 years alone and therefore it is essential that the RMT develop policies and guidelines on what can be destroyed without compromising the University’s legal, evidential and administrative procedures.

The University also administers 3 other archive services under contract to external bodies. One Archivist is employed under contract to the Greater Glasgow NHS Board to manage their Archive Service and advise on records and information issues. An Archivist is employed to administer the Scottish Brewing Archive for the SBA Trust and another to advise industry on records issues for the Business Archive Council of Scotland.

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