The Mitchell Library

During Christmas week, I was unfortunately freezing fog bound in Glasgow for two extra days. Fortunately, David managed to organise a visit for me to the Mitchell Library.  As well as being the largest public reference library in Europe, it has an Archives and Special Collections level on the second floor.

I was met by a very helpful lady called Nery’s and she started by showing me their reference folders with information on two families who held estates in the Glasgow area – Stirling of Weir and Maxwell of Pollock (of Pollock House.) Nerys explained that the families welcomed the information on their history being shared and look at but at times, the family do wish to be informed on what visitors are looking at.

 She then explained that before Glasgow City Council was named as such, it was named the Glasgow Corporation. Nery’s explained that the Library held alot of information on poor law records from the City and since the city was growing at such a fast pace that more and more people required assistance which makes the poor law records facinating reading.

I enquired about the surrounding area/districts poor law records and Nery’s explained that certain other areas, for example, Ayrshire, have their own separate records office so any records to do with that area goes back to them. There are also plans in motion for North and South Lanarkshire to take back the records regarding their area. We then took the lift down to the archives themselves. The first collection that Nery’s pointed out was the Dean of Guild’s, which relate to building plans. This is a vast collection that date back to 1885 up to 2007. It was decided then that all the records will be digitised which in the future will save alot of space in the Archives!

All in all a very interesting visit and building. Thanks to Nery’s for showing me afround and also to Dr Irene O’ Brien too. Again, thanks to David for organising it for me at very short notice and for making my two unexpected extra days very worthwhile.

About David Powell

Project Manager and Archivist with Tasglann nan Eilean Siar
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