Stevenston Burgh Catalogue

Ayrshire Archives have created a new catalogue for the  Burgh of Stevenston records and it is now available to view online!  This is the first North Ayrshire Burgh catalogue to be made accessible via our website – there are more coming soon!  The Stevenston Burgh collection is available to view at Ayrshire Archives HQ and includes a range of records such as council minute books and papers relating to the town chamberlain.  If you would like to see any of the records, please contact us to make an appointment on 01292 521819 or email us at


Ayr Burgh anniversary

Today marks the 813th anniversary of the creation of the Royal Burgh of Ayr. Evidence of this milestone is contained in the Ayr royal burgh charter (B6/30/1), held by Ayrshire Archives.

Burghs were created in Scotland for trading, legal and administrative purposes. Although there were several types of burghs, the signing of a royal charter by the crown established Ayr as a royal burgh on 21 May 1205. Granted by King William the Lion, the charter provided trading privileges and established a weekly market day allowing burgesses who were merchants and craftsmen holding land within the burgh, to trade free from tolls. The royal charter also founded a burgh court composed of a provost, bailies, treasurer and dean of guild. This charter is one of the oldest of it’s kind, providing important historical evidence of the creation of the Royal Burgh of Ayr.

JPGCharter trimmed

Burgh charter for the town of Ayr (B6/30/1)

Charters were highly important in confirming the trading and legal privileges to burghs granted by monarchs. Seals were often attached to verify these rights, although not all seals have survived to the present day. Charters are one of the many types of burgh records which are held in archives across Scotland today.



International Nurses Day

Today we’re celebrating International Nurses’ Day, which highlights the hard work which nurses carry out every day around the world. Within our collections we have a series of five reports produced by committees to help improve the salary scales for nurses in the UK during the 1940s (reference number CO3/16/77/6-10 and CO3/66/17/14).

The Scottish Nurses’ Salaries Committee was also created in October 1941 by the Secretary of State with the aim to revise the salary scales and emoluments for State registered nurses in Scottish hospitals. This included mental hospitals as well as student nurses in hospitals approved as training schools by the General Nursing Council for Scotland. At the same time a committee had been established by the Ministry of Health to carry out a similar task for nurses working in England and Wales. Due to the similarities of their references, the two committees often worked closely together, sharing committee minutes and correspondence to discuss these issues.

CO3_66_17_14 p7 edit 2

CO3_66_17_14 p8 edit 2

Scottish Nurses Salaries Committee Fifth Report (CO3/66/17/14) pages 7-8: Conditions for nurses’ placing on salary scales

A sub-committee was established in November 1942 in association with the Nurses’ Salaries Committee in order to review the salary scales and conditions of service for nurses in Scottish mental hospitals and institutions. Two reports for nurses working in these hospitals were published in 1943 and 1945, with the second report discussing members of staff who were not matrons or other senior members of staff. 3,500 men and women in Scotland filled this capacity, making up a large portion of the nurses who worked within these hospitals. The scales for these nurses were recommended to be higher than those for other nurses which had been set out in earlier reports, as it had been agreed that due to the more demanding nature of the work which these nurses undertook, their salaries needed to reflect this and so were set as higher than others in the nursing field.

CO3_66_17_8 p4 edit 2

Report of the Mental Nurses Sub-Committee of the Scottish Nurses’ Salaries Committee (CO3/66/17/8): Salary scales for male and female nurses

Throughout all these reports there were conditions of service attached to the salary scales, such as the number of hours a nurse had to work per week, how they received overtime, the number of days they were entitled to annual leave, and any basic charges for board, lodgings and laundry.  War service is also mentioned within the reports. Some nurses who had completed war service would have received credit from provisions of the Reinstatement in Civil Employment Act, however for those who would not be covered by this, the Fifth Report states that credit should be given to nurses for service in the Armed Forces, the Civil Nursing Reserve, in industry or the Civil Defence Services.

CO3_66_17_14 p10 edit

CO3_66_17_14 p11 edit

Scottish Nurses Salaries Committee Fifth Report (CO3/66/17/14) pages 10-11: Terms for credit to be awarded to nurses who served during the war

This provides an insight into the decisions made on nurses’ salaries and the differences within the nursing profession. They also show how the work of nurses in different institutions was valued, with this being reflected in their pay.


Kilmarnock Burgh

Today we are launching our new Kilmarnock Burgh catalogue. This will enable researchers to browse the catalogue of Kilmarnock Burgh online for the first time. This collection dates from 1686-1984 and contains a wide variety of records from Town Council minute books to the records of the Kilmarnock Corporation.

The Town Council minute books give fantastic insights into the decisions made by the Town Council many years ago.  An example of this can be shown in the 1941-1942 minute book (BK1/1/2/38 page 240) which details the payment of women working in the factories during WWII.

BK1_1_2_38 pg240

This collection is the second burgh catalogue to be made available online and has resulted in 101 additional items being made available to the public for the first time. These records are available to view to the Burns Monument Centre on Wednesdays by appointment with Ayrshire Archives.

Online Catalogues

Additional catalogues have been added to our website showing records we hold relating to Ayrshire entertainment, associations, businesses and individuals. They include:

AA/DC71 Humphrey Family Papers

AA/DC72 Rose of Ballochmyle Lodge of Ancient and Free Gardeners Friendly Society

AA/DC75 Kilmarnock and District Arts Guild

AA/DC76 The Regal Cinema, Kilmarnock

AA/DC79  Ayrshire Angling Association

A new burgh catalogue is coming to our website soon but can you guess which one? Here is a clue – you will go “Nutz” for it!



Easter at Ayrshire Archives

Hi folks, it’s Glennie here!

Today at Ayrshire Archives I am embracing spring and delivering lots of Easter treats with my new friends!

Glennie and his chicks

The arrival of spring is significant in different ways to people. For some it marks the end of winter and the beginning of new life for animals. More generally I think spring brings a sense of renewal with it. I have discovered that this can be in a variety of formats after coming across accession 08/58 at Ayrshire Archives. Apparently in the 19th century spring also marked a time for updating your wardrobe! The following images are from a spring and summer fashion catalogue. It was produced by the Johnston Brothers c 1865, a cash drapery warehouse originally on Ayr High Street.


Accession 08/58

“Everything favours fashion in the spring… nature herself is alluring us with her example to put on fresh feathers and go forth to conquer,” perhaps I could be convinced to try some new styles…


Accession 08/58


Accession 08/58

Although these were spring and summer designs, they don’t appear to be as bright and lightweight as the clothes we tend to wear today. Perhaps the weather was as unpredictable then as it is now!


Accession 08/52

I particularly like the bonnets as the floral detail suits the time of year very well. Perhaps this will inspire some Easter bonnet making this weekend?


Accession 08/58


Accession 08/58

Although I think I might stick to my own hat – it is a lot easier to wear!

Glennie celebrates International Women’s Day

Hello, Glennie L Amp here!



Today at Ayrshire Archives we are celebrating International Women’s Day. This is an opportunity to commemorate the achievements of women all over the world as people continue to campaign for female rights and gender equality. By looking at archives, we can see how the everyday lives of women have changed throughout the years and the economic, political and social progress they have made. Staff have recently been working on some of the catalogues and found an interesting careers booklet by the Central Youth Employment Executive called ‘Engineering Work for Girls.’ It dates from 1958 and I think it highlights some pretty big differences in the attitudes towards women and their capabilities sixty years ago!



Let’s take a look at what engineering employment was like for girls in 1958 then….


AA/DC/47/13 page 2


Attitudes towards women’s skills changed throughout the wars, however it was still believed that they were only suited to certain tasks such as “light and delicate work for which deft fingers are needed.”


AA/DC/47/13 page 5

As a result it could be said that their physical abilities of women were often undermined when it came to employment.


AA/DC/47/13 page 8

During this time it was often thought that women had qualities of “patience and reliability,” – more of this than men.


AA/DC/47/13 page 13

The booklet also discusses the limited chances of females furthering their careers in engineering through craftsmen apprenticeships.


What an interesting snapshot into the employment of young women in engineering in 1958! I think it’s quite fitting on International Women’s Day to gain an understanding into the difficulties women have faced with regards to gender inequality over the years. Within this collection we also hold other career booklets on different occupations from the time. The online catalogue for AA/DC/47 will be uploaded onto the website soon so keep an eye out!






Moving Image Archive



Ayrshire Archives staff recently made a fact finding trip to the Moving Image Archive at the National Library of Scotland, Kelvinhall, Glasgow. We received a tour which gave a great insight into the specialized archive’s collections of Scottish film. The variety of formats these are composed of include reels, tapes and DVDs which also reflect the changes in technology and filming over the past 100 years. The tour allowed us to learn more about preservation and requirements for storing the material. The repository uses specialist equipment for cleaning, restoring, film grading and various other processes required before the archive is catalogued and becomes accessible to the public.


The Moving Image Archive also provides online access to records from your home as over 2,000 films are available to view via the online catalogue. The films originate from various areas of Scottish history including wartime, education, industry, theatre and many more. However the archive holds written records too which include photographs, press-cuttings, cinema programmes, papers of film societies and film production companies to name a few. An array of eye catching posters relating to cinema and film are on display throughout the building for researchers to marvel at.


NLS exhibition on film going


NLS exhibition on film going


The ways in which films and other forms of archives differ in the way they are accessed, was reflected in the searchroom. Computers are available to access the film collections while the written records can be viewed in a separate viewing room. A drop-in service is offered and there are interactive screens to quickly and easily view the archive’s most popular films – the Ayrshire Archive staff particularly enjoyed this. As the Kelvinhall is a multi-purpose building containing a gym and sports facilities, many of the archive films are even available to view via an app while exercising in the gym!


We would like to thank staff at the Moving Image Archive for providing a great tour and insight into film archives!

SCA Event – Towards a Shared Collecting Policy


Courtesy of the Scottish Council on Archives

Staff from Ayrshire Archives recently attended a training workshop ‘Towards a Shared Collecting Policy’ organised by the Scottish Council on Archives. Held at the Mitchell Library, it involved a series of enlightening talks by speakers from various organisations including the National Register of Archives for Scotland, the National Archives, and the National Records of Scotland. This provided a good insight into the history and theory of collecting records and how it has evolved on a local and national level. The ways in which this has been affected by historic events such as war and industrial decline was highlighted too. As a result we discussed how collections are multi-layered and relate to a variety of themes interconnecting them with other archives.

Another feature of the day involved archivists sharing their experiences in relation to particular challenges they have faced within the context of repositories. Models for collections mapping was discussed and the archivist of the Hebridean Archives provided an interesting account into the challenges and rewards of devising a collecting policy. Additionally, the Moving Image and Sound Collections Manager of the National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive discussed specialist collecting as the only archive service in Scotland to conserve and preserve films. This part of the workshop highlighted various contributing factors of what makes a repository unique and different methods of how collecting policy could be approached in archives.

The day proved to be extremely valuable in relation to the information and experiences shared. We would like to thank the Scottish Council on Archives for organizing the event!


Glennie at Ayrshire Archives for Valentines Day

Hello, it’s Glennie L. Amp!

This week while browsing the Ayrshire Archives website, I noticed that some online catalogues had been added very recently. Some of the records peaked my interest so I booked an appointment to come and view them in the searchroom. As it is Valentines day I requested images of Ayrshire from the J. Valentine image collection and some postcards produced by Valentines and Hendersons – quite fitting! On arrival I was asked to complete a registration form. I also had a read of their searchroom regulations – I was on my best behaviour this time! There is no food or drink of any kind allowed so I put my fizzy juice in my bag and placed it in the lockers provided. There are book rests available to use so researchers don’t lean or make any marks on the volumes, and we need to be careful we don’t disturb the arrangement of any loose documents. It was pencil only if I want to take any notes, so I got sharpening!

Once settled in I had a look at the images I had requested. I was particularly interested in viewing older photographs of Ayr and they transported me back to a day trip I took there once many years ago…


Print showing Burns’ Statue, Ayr.
38059 J Valentine. AA/DC/146/1/5

It was a hot summers day when I arrived at Ayr train station with the intention of going to the beach, I gave a nod to Robert on my way past Burns Statue Square!


Print showing High Street and Wallace Tower, Ayr.
37242 J Valentine. AA/DC/146/1/10

I was able to admire Wallace Tower as I walked down Ayr High Street….


Print showing Burns’ Monument, Ayr.
38062 J Valentine. AA/DC/146/1

Then I walked through Wellington Square gardens to get closer to the beach…


View of the sands, Ayr addressed to Miss J
McDowall from Grace. AA/DC/303/4

But the beach was far too busy for a small lamp like me! Nearby I spotted something moving into the pier…


Print showing Ayr Pier. 24564 J Valentine. AA/DC/146/1/11

A boat going to Arran! It didn’t take much to convince me to hop on…

AA_DC_208_3 Lamlash JPEG

Postcard showing Lamlash, East End from Sands.
Valentine’s “Bromotype” Series. AA/DC/203/3

I arrived at the beach in Lamlash, Arran. Nice and peaceful just how I like it – the archives held a lovely postcard which I think represents my memories of my day out and Valentines Day very well!

AA_DC_208_1 At Lamlash JPEG

Postcard of Lamlash, Arran “Mixed Bathing” By The
Seaside. Raphael Tuck & Sons “Oilette” “By The
Seaside.” AA/DC/208/1