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BAC cataloguing grant

Friday, 25 February 2011

With thanks to Moira Lovegrove for posting the following information to Archives-NRA listserv:

In support of the National Strategy for Business Archives, the Business Archives Council (BAC) is delighted to announce that it is once again offering a cataloguing grant for business collections. The aim of the grant, in funding the cataloguing of a business collection in either the private or public sector, is to:
  • provide financial support for institutions/businesses that manage business archives
  • reach collections that have not yet been prioritised but have potential academic or socio-historical value
  • create opportunities for archivists or para-professionals/volunteers to gain experience in listing business collections
  • make more business collections accessible
We envisage that the £2000 grant will be used over the equivalent of a 4-week period to fund an archive intern or temporary staff member (under professional supervision) to catalogue a discrete collection of business records. This can either be a detailed catalogue of a small collection or a top-level catalogue of a more substantial collection. Grant recipients should provide the BAC with an article for its newsletter, and the catalogue should be made available to the National Register of Archives (published by The National Archives). Any questions about the grant should be addressed to Karen Sampson, Honorary Secretary of the Business Archives Council, at or on 020 7860 5762

For more information – criteria and application form – see the BAC’s website

The deadline for applications is 30th June 2011.


Case study: G L Watson & Co. - investing in your brand and archives

Thursday, 24 February 2011

G.L. Watson & Co. was established in Glasgow in 1873 as the first dedicated yacht design office in the world. The firm has a long history which the archive supports with unique material on the evolution of yacht design, the America’s Cup, many famous yachts, their Owners, Crew and Builders. Noting the importance of the collection the company committed to its conservation and cataloguing.

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The case study describes what a key resource the archive is for the company and why they have invested in it making it possible to house the entire archive within the firm’s Liverpool offices in an accessible manner.

The full case study is available here and there others can be found here.


Case study: Capturing the Energy- future-proofing industry

Monday, 21 February 2011

The Capturing the Energy project was established to promote wider recognition of the technical and cultural importance of the offshore oil and gas industry to the UK.

It has been a partnership project between business and Aberdeen University to create a permanent base at the University for documents and artefacts dating back over the 50 years since the industry was founded.

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The case study concentrates on the early work between Total E&P and the University of Aberdeen to ensure the survival of records relating to the Total-operated Frigg Gas field, which straddled the UK-Norway median line and supplied up to a third of the UK's gas; the field ceased production in 2004 after 27 years. The project then grew in scope to try to capture the broader history of the UK offshore oil and gas industry.

The full case study is available here and the others can be found here.


Case study: RCAHMS - creative use, interpretation and community engagement

Friday, 18 February 2011

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) is one of Scotland’s National Collections and is responsible for information and archives about the built heritage of the nation.

It has an archive which preserves the accumulated results of 100 years of surveying, recording and interpreting the built heritage of Scotland. This collection is made up of 14.5 million items, including photographs, maps, drawings and documents, it provides a vivid and fascinating picture of the human influence on Scotland’s Places from earliest times to the present day.

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The case study focuses on the project to catalogue the archive of the architect Sir Basil Spence which was gifted to the RCAHMS and spans his complete working life. Through the Sir Basil Spence Archive Project, it has been possible to reassess the work of Spence and to demonstrate the potential of architectural collections to encourage people of all ages to appreciate and explore their heritage.

The full case study is available here and the others can be found here.


Business connections: Aberdeen Maritime Museum receives funding from Mae...

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Aberdeen Maritime Museum has received £90,000 of funding from Maersk Oil to help with the refurbishment of its education suite.

Maersk Oil wants to leave a lasting legacy in the Granite City and believes the museum offers a unique opportunity for people to discover more about the industry which is playing such an important role in shaping its history.
Other areas of the Museum have also benefitted from funds raised through connections with business - the Energy Exploration Galleries are being renewed after Oil & Gas UK members raised the minimum £360,000 required for the project.

Full story here.


Case study: Lloyds Banking Group - identity and engagement

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Lloyds Banking Group has an extensive archive, which comprises some 6 km of records, stored at state of the art repositories in Edinburgh and London.

The bank's archive includes records of several well-known Scottish brands, including Bank of Scotland and Scottish Widows. For the bank, the archive is a hugely rich resource, which it seeks to make use of in support of the business.

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In the past, materials from the archive have been used to support milestone events such as company anniversaries. They are also regularly used at colleague training and orientation events, to inform and inspire staff with the history and heritage of the company.
The full case study is available here and the other case studies can be found here.


'Oldest Companies' Progress

Monday, 14 February 2011

The Scotland's 100 oldest companies project has passed the halfway mark as the fiftieth entry was posted up today on the project wiki. While the BACS Surveying Officer may pretend that it's been a solitary slog at the coal face, in actual fact the response from business, record-holders and interested researchers has been very enthusiastic. Thanks to everyone who has helped, a large 'thank you' page is being prepared on the wiki even now.

However while progress has been generally good, I have been unable to unearth anything on three companies. If anyone knows anything about The Scottish National Glass and Glazing Company Limited (SC001047, incorporated in 1881), Scottish Property Investment (SC001597 incorporated in 1887) or Spanish Real Property (SC000683, incorporated in 1876) please get in touch, either via here or the blog. Thanks.
(Photo is sourced from here)


Morton Young & Borland Textiles

The Independent has an article today (and the Scotsman also featured this story over the weekend here) about how the firm of Morton Young & Borland Textiles based in Newmilns, Ayrshire has been involved in supplying authentic period fabrics for the TV series Boardwalk Empire.

The company records are held privately but have been surveyed and the details of them are available on the National Register of Archives for Scotland website here.

**Update** Much better pictures here.


Case study: Scottish Business Archive - Supporting Business to Secure its Heritage

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The Scottish Business Archive at the University of Glasgow is one of the largest collections of business records world wide, and represents the business interests of Scotland from the eighteenth century to the present. The collections reflect the contribution and breadth of activity that Scotland’s business, industry and enterprise has made, and continues to make, to the world economy.

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The Scottish Business Archive offers services to the Scottish business community, providing a corporate archive service. It works closely with the Business Archives Council of Scotland to offer advice and support to business on the management of information resources, and provide an off-site archive management service for heritage resources. This service offers business an alternative option for the professional management of its archives which minimises investment in property and staff.

By depositing their archives with the Scottish Business Archive, businesses are contributing to the nation’s heritage and cultural assets. Whilst it is rooted in the industrial concerns of the west of Scotland such as shipbuilding, railway locomotive manufacture, and textiles the Scottish Business Archive has grown to cover almost all types of business and industrial activity in Scotland and the UK. The 400 collections represent 1,000 companies, from banking, confectioners and distillers to retail, solicitors and undertakers.

The full case study is available here and there are a range of others here.


Solicitors' business records

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The Law Society has produced very useful guidance entitled depositing records and documents with public sector archives.

It is aimed at solicitors, office managers or personnel responsible for case files or storage of solicitors' files and records and hopes to:

reverse the trend of the destruction or sale of these historically significant legal documents and solicitors are encouraged to consider alternative options for their redundant items. This practice note provides advice on depositing old client documents or early records about your firm with the appropriate local authority record office.


Case study: Diageo - Brand Passion and Integrity

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Diageo Archive holds records relating to more than 1500 brands past and present, from those long established such as Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky, Smirnoff Vodka and Tanqueray Gin to more recent innovative brands such as Baileys Irish Cream. The collections span 402 years of history with brands such as Bushmills Irish Whiskey having heritage and history dating back to 1608 and they tell the rich histories of these brands as well as our distillery sites, companies and people. From 18th century ledgers to the most recent annual reports, the archive materials authenticate and add texture to these rich histories.

The case study postcard featured an image of Johnnie Walker taken from original 1908/09 advertising campaigns  and used as part of the launch of Johnnie Walker Blue Label King George V in Madrid in 2008.

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The case study demonstrates how with access to original source material, the Archive team can use their knowledge, passion and commitment to verify brand information and discover new brand truths giving sales and marketing teams a unique insight into the brand to support launches, celebrations and PR events by displaying and presenting materials from the Archive.

The full case study is available here and the other case studies here.


Case study: Tennent's - Celebrating and Marketing Your Heritage

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Tennent's lager has been made in Glasgow since 1885 and Tennent’s has a long and proud heritage which has been preserved in its business archive collection.

Since the 1980s Tennent’s have contracted out the storage and management of its archive, first to the Scottish Brewing Archive and more recently to the University of Glasgow Archive Service (which took on the management of all collections previously managed by the Scottish Brewing Archive). Through this arrangement, the University of Glasgow ensures the preservation of the archive in its archival repository and provides enquiry services for both Tennent’s staff and external researchers. In this way Tennent’s ensures the professional management of its heritage assets, utilises the archive to support its current business activities, and provides a research resource for the public.  Details about the collection can be found here.

The postcard created for the launch feature an image of Hugh Tennent taken from the advertising material.

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The case study discusses how the fantastic and true tale of the brand’s heritage and entrepreneurial young founder, Hugh Tennent, was celebrated by the brand throughout 2010 in a major national advertising campaign.  Hugh’s innovative vision not only gave birth to Tennent’s Lager and new techniques for brewing in Scotland, but influenced a 125 year history of the brands creative and innovative advertising and sponsorships.

The full case study is available here and the other case studies here.


Case Study: The Ballast Trust - Understanding Technical Records

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Ballast Trust is a charitable foundation that provides a rescue, sorting and cataloguing service for business archives with an emphasis on technical records such as shipbuilding, railway and engineering plans, drawings and photographs.  Since its establishment in 1987 it has processed technical records on behalf of national and local archive repositories and museums and played a crucial part in the preservation of many business archive collections.

The postcard created for the launch shows a scene from the Joiner's shop at Lithgows, Port Glasgow where the Trust initially operated for nearly 4 years processing over 100 tons of material related to Scott Lithgow Ltd.

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During processing the records continued to have business value and Scott Lithgow benefited from the organisation and management of the collection to allow them to answer legal and historical enquiries and settle administrative issues. The records are now held by Glasgow University Archive Services where they serve a variety of academic, enthusiast, and personal research purposes being one of the fullest collections from Scottish shipbuilding. It covers a period of over 120 years, spanning over 150 linear metres of storage and treasures include correspondence from a Confederate paddle steamer captain about blockade running during the American Civil War, nineteenth century photograph albums and a series of yard manager diaries.

The full case study is available here.

Today the Trust continues to believe business collections are essential in understanding Scotland’s rich industrial and economic past and that technical records provide important contextual information to aid in the understanding of these collections. We can support businesses and archive services to make the most of their business collections and improve their understanding of technical records through guidance, advice and our processing service based on many years of experience in handling such material.


About This Blog

This blog will provide information about the development of a National Strategy for Business Archives in Scotland. It will also be used to provide general updates about Business Archives in Scotland.

This blog is written by Kiara King, the Ballast Trust archivist. Updates on the Data Mapping Project are written by Cheryl Brown, project officer.


The Business Archives Strategy for Scotland was published in August, read it here. Keep an eye on the blog for more news about business archives and the strategy's implementation.

You can also contact us at any time with thoughts and contribute your comments to the blog!

Contact us

Please contact us if you have any comments or suggestions.

Kiara King (Ballast Trust Archivist)