Ayrshire Archives Remembers: Wallacetown School Former Pupils

We are sharing images from Wallacetown Public School Admission Register.  The register contains newspaper clippings saved by the headmaster of former pupils who served during World War One.  These included former pupils who died and also those who were wounded or awarded medals.  We would be pleased to hear about any of your ancestors who served in World War One.

Peter McGarrachie

Newspaper clipping from Wallacetown Public School Admission Register recording the death of Peter McGarrachie.

Peter McGarrachie

Extract from Admission Register.

 

Peter McGarrachie was buried in Port Said War Memorial Cemetery in 1917. His final resting place has been commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Private Peter McGarrachie Army Service Corps

Certificate from Commonwealth War Graves Commission website https://www.cwgc.org/

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Ayrshire Archives Remembers: Kilmarnock Academy

Today we are looking back on the school magazines of Kilmarnock Academy. The Gold Berry magazine (later named Goldberry) contains articles, poems and reviews often written by students of the school. In March 1923 a war memorial edition of the Gold Berry was published to coincide with the erection of the Academy War Memorial. This particular edition of the school magazine contains short biographical details on students who fell in the War and contains images of the memorial itself. This record gives fantastic insight into in the work achieved by the War Memorial Committee who were dedicated to making the account of each student as complete as possible.

If you’re interested in sharing your stories about any of your ancestors who served in the War, please leave your comments below.

GB014 front pg

GB014 Gold Berry March 1923 (front page)

GB014 forward

GB014 Gold Berry March 1923 (foreword)

GB014 pgs 4

GB014 Gold Berry March 1923 (page 4)

GB014 image of memorial

GB014 Gold Berry March 1923 (image of memorial)

GB014 pg 11

GB014 Gold Berry March 1923 (page 11)

GB014 pg 12

GB014 Gold Berry March 1923 (page 12)

GB014 pg 15

GB014 Gold Berry March 1923 (page 15)

GB014 29

GB014 Gold Berry March 1923 (page 29)

Ayrshire Archives Remembers: David Mackie

David Mackie photograph

David Mackie 1891 – 1956

Will you forget?
When all the fight is done,
And victory is won,
Will you forget?
The soldiers in their pride.
Who freely fought and died,
Will you forget?

Extract from a poem by David Mackie, son of  David Mackie, baker and his wife Jessie. Born 4 September 1891 at Burns Street Tarbolton and educated at Ayr Academy. When war broke out, David was a junior reporter in Carlisle and volunteered for the Lothian and Borders Horse. He was wounded in 1915 and given a medical discharge in 1916 when he returned to Britain. During his convalescence he wrote his poetry collection which was published in 1916 at his own expense to raise funds for the Red Cross.

Kilwinning Burgh Catalogue

Today we are launching our new Kilwinning Burgh catalogue! This will enable researchers to browse this catalogue online for the first time and is the fourth North Ayrshire burgh catalogue to be added to our website. The collection dates from 1889-1975 and contains a wide variety of records from town council minute books, abstract of accounts, assessment rolls, housing ledgers and records of the associated bodies including cemetery records.

Burgh records provide researchers with insights into the decisions made by the Town Council many years ago and for the first time researchers are able to view records which have never before been in the public domain. These records are available to view at our Ayrshire Archives Headquarters, Auchincruive by an appointment basis on a Tuesday. To arrange a viewing please phone 01292521819 or email archives@south-ayrshire.gov.uk

 

Irvine Burgh catalogue – online now!

Irvine Council Minutes (2)

Irvine Town Council Minute Books

 

Today we are launching our new Irvine Burgh catalogue, allowing researchers to browse the catalogue online for the first time. Release of this updated catalogue coincides with the opening of the new North Ayrshire repository for Ayrshire Archives, based in the recently renovated Townhouse in Irvine. This is one of the largest Burgh collections in the care of Ayrshire Archives and the records date from 1322 to 1975.  The catalogue has been revised to include updated descriptions and has allowed 1832 additional records to be made available to public access for the first time. This collections demonstrates the developments and transformation in Irvine since it was created a Royal Burgh in 1372 by King Robert II.  This includes the transformation of Irvine into a ‘New Town’ in 1966 and the ending of the Burgh as a local government structure in 1975. The collection covers more than 600 years of history from a chartulary relating to 1308 until 1975 when control was given to Cunningham District Council under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and then to North Ayrshire Council when it was created in 1996.

 

IB2_1_214

Petition for the establishment of a reading room in Irvine Townhouse. Part of a bundle of petitions to the Provosts, Magistrates and Town Council of Irvine, 1851- 1866 (IB2/1/214)

 

The Irvine Burgh catalogue contains a range of records that reflect the life, economy  and industry of Irvine. These include Town Council Minutes, Town Clerk’s plans, court proceedings, accounts, poor relief and records of the Harbour Trust, Burgh Colliery, and various trade societites.  Through these we see the official decisions of the Burgh, the impact of industry as well as glimpses into the lives of people living in Irvine.

Gr2_3_26

Ministry of Home Security (circular number 174/1943) regarding release of premises requisitioned or hired for civil defence, 1943 (Gr2/3/26)

The majority of the records for Irvine Burgh are available to view by prior appointment at the North Ayrshire searchroom of Ayrshire Archives, within the Townhouse in Irvine on Thursdays.  The Town Clerk’s plans series is currently available by prior appointment at Ayrshire Archives Headquarters, Auchincruive on Tuesdays.  Please contact us by telephone on 01292 521819 or email at archives@south-ayrshire.gov.uk for further advice and to make an appointment. 

Gemmell Family Papers

Today we are launching the catalogue of a new collection relating to the Gemmell family, which has a strong focus on the papers of Robert Gemmell, a coal miner from Tarbolton.

Born in 1890, Robert volunteered to serve in the First World War on the 1st September 1914, serving with the Royal Field Artillery. After receiving his basic training in Athlone, Ireland, he proceeded to Southampton and then onto the Dardanelles. From mid-1915 to January 1916 Robert was based in Gallipoli before arriving in Alexandria in March 1916. He then sailed to Marseilles and fought in the Battle of the Somme from June 1916, reaching the rank of Sergeant. During 1922 Robert married Isabella (Isa) Orr Wightman in Auchinleck, and later had a daughter called Ann. Robert worked in a Staffordshire mine prior to returning to Scotland, and worked at the Tynemount Colliery in Ormiston, East Lothian.

The collection consists of records relating not just to Robert’s time working for the National Coal Board, but also from his military service during the First World War, as well as personal correspondence belonging to Isa and Ann.

Below are examples of the different records which Robert kept from his time serving in the War. These range from official documents, such as instructions for soldiers on leave and maps showing locations of both British and German trenches, to personal notebooks detailing his own experiences during his service.

20180808_150422

AA/DC416/1/3/4/3 – Ordnance Survey trench map France sheet 57D S.E., edition 2B (dated 1916). Both British and German front lines are shown here, with the British trenches coloured in blue and the German trenches in red

AA_DC416_1_3_5_7

AA/DC416/1/3/5/7 – Instructions for officers and men proceeding on leave

20180808_150030

AA/DC416/1/3/6/1 – Notebook detailing Robert Gemmell’s experiences in Royal Field Artillery from volunteering on 1 September 1914 until his demobilisation on 3 January 1919

This is a new catalogue to be made available online, resulting in 178 records being made accessible for the first time. The records are available to view by appointment at Ayrshire Archives Headquarters in Auchincruive on Tuesdays.

Perth and Kinross Council Archive and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society visit

Some of the staff at Ayrshire Archives recently attended a training visit to Perth and Kinross Council Archive and the Royal Scottish Georgraphical Society Public Visitor and Education Centre. Organised by the Scottish Records Association, the day began with a tour around Perth and Kinross Council Archive. This provided the opportunity to gain an insight into the layout of the repository, including the searchroom and mezzanine store used to hold the records. The archivist discussed the environmentally controlled conditions which monitor and regulate the store in addition to the range of the collections held by the local authority archive. The archivist had also arranged an exhibition which was on display allowing us to view some of the intricate maps and plans the repository holds relating to the area.

Perth archive exhibition central table

Perth and Kinross Council Archive exhibition

Perth archive exhibition central table 3

Perth and Kinross Council Archive exhibition

Perth archive exhibition central table 4

Perth and Kinross Council Archive exhibition

Perth archive exhibition left table top view

Perth and Kinross Council Archive exhibition

The latter part of the day involved a visit to the Royal Scottish Geographical Society Public Visitor and Education Centre, located at Fair Maiden House. We received a tour of the centre and store by the volunteers who run the service. They informed us about the evolution and function of the society in addition to the vast collection of maps it holds. The society members and volunteers discussed how the society aims to promote awareness of the vast range of geographical sciences, research and exploration.

We would like to thank the Scottish Records Association for organising this event. We would also like to thank the staff at Perth and Kinross Council Archive and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for the highly interesting visits.

 

70th Anniversary of the NHS

This year marks seventy years since the National Health Service came into existence. It was launched on 5 July 1948 by Aneurin Bevan with the aim of access to free healthcare for all by nationalizing the existing healthcare system. At Ayrshire Archives we thought we would share some interesting information held in the Royal Burgh of Ayr Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health for 1948 (accession 15/426). Although county councils were already required to appoint a Medical Health Officer of Health, this role also became prominent in Scottish burghs after the introduction of the Burgh Police Scotland Act (1892). Sections of this legislation meant that it became a requirement for Scottish burghs to also appoint a Medical Officer of Health. Although their duties ranged over the years, one of their main responsibilities was to monitor the health of the burgh and direct the provision of certain health departments.

These following passages of the report discuss the circumstances of the various services provided in Ayr Burgh. Below the Medical Officer of Health indicates how major the National Health Service (Scotland) Act has been.

Medical officer report 15_426

Royal Burgh of Ayr Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health 1948 Accession 15/426

They also touch on some of the changes the act has resulted in. Here the report discusses midwifery in Ayr Burgh 1948, including the purchase of two portable sets of apparatus for gas and air analgesia.

midwifery passage

midwifery passsage 2

Royal Burgh of Ayr Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health 1948 Accession 15/426

The Medical Officer of Health also discusses other legislation relating to the time period such as the National Assistance Act, 1948. Here they explain the lack of residential establishments with medical supervision within the burgh.

welfare services

Royal Burgh of Ayr Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health 1948 Accession 15/426

The report provides an insight into some of the health issues relating to the period, how they have altered and possible explanations for these changes.

Nutrition

Royal Burgh of Ayr Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health 1948 Accession 15/426

This is just a small insight into the social and health information the Medical Officer of Health’s annual reports hold. They also contain a wealth of statistical information which can be compared for different years, showing the conditions of health services and the progress made within the burgh.

 

Ardrossan Burgh

Today we are launching our new Ardrossan Burgh catalogue, allowing researchers to browse the catalogue online for the first time. The material within the collection dates from 1845 to 1994 and contains records which cover a broad range of Ardrossan’s history, from Town Council minutes to the Ardrossan Harbour Company.

Records created by burgh officials, such as the Burgh Surveyor, offer a unique insight into the day to day running of the burgh. Below are examples of this, with site plans covering the areas of South Crescent, Glasgow Street and Parkhouse Road dating from 1940. These show where air raid shelters and baffle walls were located, as well as including markings for where proposed new shelters could be built.

Gh6_7 Ardrossan plan May 1940
Gh6/7 – Plan of air raid shelters and baffle walls (May 1940)
Gh6_7 Ardrossan plan October 1940

Gh6/7 – Plan of existing and proposed air raid shelters (October 1940)

Another item within the collection is a visitors’ book covering the period 1956 to 1974, which includes the signatures of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh from their visit to Ardrossan in 1956. During this visit they also went to Kilwinning, Irvine, Ayr and Burns Cottage in Alloway.

Gh1_10_8 visitor book

Gh1/10/8 – Burgh of Ardrossan Visitors’ Book containing the signature of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh following their visit to Ayrshire in 1956

This is our second North Ayrshire Burgh to be made available online and has resulted in an additional 226 records being made accessible for the first time. The records are available to view by appointment at Ayrshire Archives Headquarters in Auchincruive on Tuesdays.