Catalogues and new friend…….

Some additional catalogues relating to Ayrshire associations, businesses and individuals have been added to the website! Making catalogues available online is an on-going project so keep an eye out for more of them over the new few months.  We also have a new addition to our team and they will introduce themselves very soon……..


Rozelle Remembrance Woodland

Recently at Ayrshire Archives, our Assistant Archivists and Graduate Trainee paid a visit to Rozelle Park to view the Remembrance Woodland which was created as part of South Ayrshire Council’s World War I Centenary Commemorations 2014-2018. This project was established in honour of the 100th anniversary of World War I and includes a range of sculptures and carvings which have become key features of the Remembrance Woodland. Also situated within this area is the recently laid memorial stone dedicated to Lieutenant Robert Shankland, born in Ayr. He was awarded the Victoria Cross on 26 October 1917, an event recently commemorated in Ayrshire. Take a look at our previous blog post to find out more about the Robert Shankland Memorial Stone. 

Rozelle poppy

‘Poppy Carving’ by Iain Chalmers

Rozelle soldier

‘Kilted Soldier’ by Andy Maclachlan

Rozelle standing soldier 2

‘A Tommy’ by Craig Steele

Rozelle soldier with machine gun 2

‘Gunner’ by Craig Steele

Rozelle soldier sitting on tree

‘Letter from Home’ by Peter Bowsher

Rozelle wonded soldier

‘Bereaved Soldier’ by Peter Bowsher and ‘Fallen Soldier’ by Andy Maclachlan

Rozelle statue with bird

‘Flighted’ by David Powell

Rozelle bench

Memorial bench

Rozelle info of Robert Shankland

Rozelle’s information board on Lieutenant Robert Shankland


Memorial Stone to commemorate Lieutenant Robert Shankland


Robert Shankland Memorial Stone

This week at Ayrshire Archives we are commemorating Lieutenant Robert Shankland who fought in the Battle of Passchendaele, Belgium, as part of the 43rd Infantry Battalion during World War I. His efforts and initiative significantly aided the capture of Bellevue Spur, a region which was one of the main lines of defence before Passchendaele.  Robert Shankland’s actions in combat were rewarded with the Victoria Cross on 26 October 1917 and a memorial stone to pay tribute to the event will be unveiled in Rozelle Park, Ayr on 26 October 2017.


Robert Shankland was born in Ayr, Scotland on 10 October 1887 where he grew up, prior to immigrating to Canada in 1911. Accordingly, he was presented with the Freedom of the Burgh by Ayr Town Council on 31 December 1917, in recognition of the honour he brought to the region. Here at Ayrshire Archives we hold records of Ayr Burgh minutes which acknowledge Robert Shankland, V.C. and his award from the town.

Ayr Burgh Minutes Robert Shankland– Minute of Special Corporation, 31st December 1917, Burgh of Ayr Minutes of Corporation and Committees, 12 November 1917-8 November 1918

Wedding Open Day

Recently Ayrshire Archives had the chance to participate in an outreach event at the Burns Monument Centre in Kilmarnock. This was a fantastic opportunity for archive staff to showcase some of the collections unique to the East Ayrshire area during the Open Day Wedding Event.

We had a variety of collections on display including Kilmarnock Academy school records, Glenfield and Kennedy catalogues, records from the British Lace Furnishings and poor registers from New Cumnock.

Visitors were intrigued and fascinated by the variety of records held at our East Ayrshire store and were interested in knowing how our records could aid them in their family history research.

See below for some of examples of the records we had on display.

Wedding fair overview

Overview of Wedding Open Day display

PH0031 Kilmarnock academy

Photograph of Kilmarnock Academy pupils 1904 (Reference: PH0031)

17_020 BLF

Notebook from British Lace Furnishings 


New catalogues are being added to the website!  These catalogues are being made available online for the first time and relate to Ayrshire associations, businesses and individuals.  They provide an insight into the cultural and economic heritage of the area. Making catalogues available online is an on-going project so keep an eye out for more of them over the new few months.

Graduate Trainee trip to The Mitchell Library, Glasgow


Mitchell 4For my last trip to a repository as graduate trainee we visited the Glasgow City Archives. The archives are housed in the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, where they have been since the 1980s.  This is an extremely worthwhile visit to make as Glasgow City Archives is one of the largest city archives in Scotland. They contain the official records of Glasgow City Council and its predecessors as well as the records of the Burghs that are now part of the city.  They also hold multiple records from private companies such as the shipbuilders and the records of churches of all denominations.

Mitchell 1

The archivist provided us with a tour of the searchroom and discussed with us on how they directed customers to the information that they needed as the archives are accessed mainly through drop-ins rather than by appointment basis. This varied on what I had seen on previous visits to repositories as well as how we allow access to the archives at Ayrshire Archives. I was also able to experience how the Family History Centre was arranged at the Mitchell Library. The Family History Centre provides access to Scotland’s People online and works closely with the archives to provide a starting point for family research. The archivist had also set up a small exhibition to provide us with examples of the records they held. This included the poor relief records, Kirk Session records and private records. The exhibition included the original diaries of Thomas Cairns Livingstone, which were published in 2009 as ‘Tommy’s War.” This set of diaries highlighted the extremely personal nature of some of the archives. We are grateful for Glasgow City Archives for hosting this tour and it was an extremely worthwhile visit.

Graduate Trainee visit to PRONI

PRONI 2Recently I had the opportunity to visit the Public Records Office Northern Ireland in Belfast. As I am from Northern Ireland this was to enable me to visit the repository that holds archives for my local area. PRONI provided me with an excellent tour that covered the wide of variety of work that they carry out as the official repository in Northern Ireland for official and private records.


Over 3 million records are currently held at PRONI, ranging from the archives of government departments, court records, church records, and those of businesses, such as Harland and Wolff, and estates, such as the Londonderry Papers. I was able to view the stores, search room and reading room as well as discuss topics such as cataloguing, preservation and digitising archives. This provided me with an insight into how a large national archive is run and how they deal with issues that are specific to their organisation.