We’re always keen to learn from other archive service and a member of staff recently went to see Glamis Castle archive. They’ve written about their experience:
As part of my studies with the Centre for Archives and Information Studies at the University of Dundee, I was recently part of a group lucky enough to receive a tour of Glamis Castle and visit the archive. The castle is owned by the 19th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. It is also famously known as being the childhood home of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The archive holds the historical records of Glamis dating from the 12th century.
The archivist had many examples of the collection on display for us. There was a whole range of records including charters, deeds, illustrated game books, photographs, visitor books (often signed by members of the royal family) and recipes – only to name a few. These items gave a glimpse into the lives and stories of the people who lived and visited Glamis. One particularly striking story was of Mary Eleanor Bowes, a poet and botanist who married John, 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. Following his death, she encountered an Andrew Stoney who faked a duel to win her honour. He alleged to be mortally wounded following the duel and Mary married him. Following the wedding he made a miraculous recovery and the marriage became the subject of stories of domestic abuse, a story told in the novel ‘Wedlock.’
Working at a local authority archive it was really interesting to have an insight into an estate archive – stored in a castle no less. One of the most intriguing records on display was a recipe for worm broth! There was also a record of the menu served everyday within the castle. This highlighted the stark difference in the diet of the servants and the family.
In addition to a guided tour around the historic castle, there was an exhibition on the Women of Glamis. This included original clothes of the family and letters written from a young ‘Lilibet,’ known to us as Her Majesty The Queen.
It was great to visit Glamis Castle and the archive. Thank you to CAIS at the University of Dundee and to the Glamis archivist for organising it.
Centre for Archive and Information Studies (CAIS), University of Dundee https://www.dundee.ac.uk/cais/
Glamis Castle https://www.glamis-castle.co.uk/