Friday, 24 October 2014
We were shocked to find it in a copy of a local newspaper in 1939: http://orkneyarchive.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/at-least-its-neat.html
Monday, 20 October 2014
We are very sorry for the lack of posting recently but various tragic I.T. occurrences have made it very difficult. Rest assured that we have been wailing over keyboards whilst rending our clothes in a bid to communicate with you.
The letter shown above caused much hilarity in the searchroom a few days ago as it is possibly the poshest letter ever written. David Balfour is being alerted to the fact that his tiger heads have been left in the capable hands of one Mr Sanderson and his correspondent draws attention to the hard won (8 days of stalking!) tiger head of a Mr David Kennedy although " I consider that yours are specimens than are not easily equalled."
Read it do. It'll make you feel like a peasant.
Tuesday, 12 August 2014
In his diary, James Marwick, Lieutenant/Captain in the Royal Garrison Artillery (Territorial Division) wrote on Monday 3rd August:
"Mobilised at Drill Hall Stromness 3pm. I was there in full marching order ready to go"
On Wednesday 5th August he was in Rackwick:
A very different perspective came from Stewart Isbister who was a new recruit to the Royal Garrison Artillery (Territorial Division) in 1914. In his memoir, having been posted to Kirkwall Drill Hall from Finstown, he wrote: "I cannot begin to tell you of the lonesomeness of those days, my first away from home and the new Army life I found so bewildering. " Orkney Archive Reference D1/1177
"The tents were pitched on flat piece of ground between Mucklehouse and Black Neave near a low wall which Mr Taylor had built. Three tents for men to live in; one cook's store tent; one Guard Tent on level space...Serg. Mackay & I lived in Test house. There were a couple of chair beds and blankets &c in it and we just took possession of these..."
Orkney Archive Reference D1/1118
A very different perspective came from Stewart Isbister who was a new recruit to the Royal Garrison Artillery (Territorial Division) in 1914. In his memoir, having been posted to Kirkwall Drill Hall from Finstown, he wrote: "I cannot begin to tell you of the lonesomeness of those days, my first away from home and the new Army life I found so bewildering. "
Orkney Archive Reference D1/1177
Saturday, 9 August 2014
It is County Show day again in Orkney and, whilst we would normally be crying into our documents because we're not eating a cake next to a pony, we feel slightly less short-changed today. Because it is raining. Lots.
The same thing happened in 1950:
Wednesday, 6 August 2014
"Orkney at War: August - October 1914" is the first in a series of new exhibitions in the Orkney Archive to commemorate WW1. This one concentrates on the first three months and the impact war had on these islands. We show extracts from three war diaries from very different perspectives, an article on the history of the postal service, emergency town council minutes on finding extra hospital accommodation, a plan of a hastily built seaplane station at Scapa, reports from the Orcadian newspaper on the war at home and abroad, and many more archive items.
This exhibition is available to see during Archive opening hours
For those of you who can't visit the exhibition I'll be sharing some of the documents used over the next few months.
Sunday, 27 July 2014
I realised this is my geeky side revealing itself when I told the story to Archiver, and she has not stopped yawning since. So please comment if you find it interesting, then I can point at her, laughing, and say "I told you so!" In a respectful colleague to colleague way, of course.
Definition Act of Grace: A privilege or concession that cannot be claimed as a right: e.g. the bonus remains a payment made as an act of grace
In Scots Law this concession mainly referred to civil debt. When a person is imprisoned for not paying their debt, they can petition the court to let them out if it can be proved they do not have the means to pay. If the debt is an aliment (a fund of maintenance), then it can be changed to installments of not less than three-pence. [Information from A Dictionary of the Law of Scotland by Robert Bell, pub.1815]
Our example is about William Gunn, a shoemaker from Orphir in the West Mainland who is in Kirkwall Jail and Jane McKay from South Faray or Fara, an island in Scapa Flow.
Thursday, 10 July 2014
Here is a selection of
Firstly Common or rather Commonty. Here is a copy of the beautiful lithographed plan of the commonty of Deerness from 1839. [Archive Reference: D7/2/1(F4)]
Wednesday, 2 July 2014
What a sombre looking bunch. The Kirkwall Tennis Club are very sad that Andy Murray is out of Wimbledon. The two women in the middle of the front row look like they're actually trying not to cry.
Those two on the right, on the other hand, need to show some respect. Probably Djokovic fans.
And so we sob again with the help of Barry Manilow. Oh Andy... here's to next year...
Friday, 20 June 2014
Photo and letter taken from the Magnus Spence collection.Orkney Archive Reference: D32/2/2
Saturday, 14 June 2014
WE HAVE THE ANSWER TO YOUR EVERY QUESTION. (on Orcadian local history.) (covered by a Fereday project.) (That's a smashing blouse you've got on.)
Why did horses leave the land??
What was it like to live on Copinsay???
How have people in Orkney been affected by the changes in domestic fuel????
How has Highland Park changed over the years and, whilst we're on the subject, what is the story behind those elaborate gates at the Highland Park distillery???!!?
The answers to these questions and more can be found in this year's crop of Fereday Prize entries.
We have complained before about the timing of the research period but nothing will lessen our esteem for the collection itself; a fantastic historical source which we turn to time and time again.
The thirteen year old authors of these papers may not be professional historians but they are often the only written source we hold on very specific, local topics. Past years have given us projects on early swimming in Orkney, the air ambulance, shops in the Hope, Dentistry in Orkney the histories of Woolworths, Argo's bakery and the Finstown post office as well as countless investigations into individual lives and homes in Orkney.
The work's copyright, of course, resides with the author. We can let visitors see the projects but they cannot copy them without permission. The projects have been so successful that we now send out permissions forms to the pupils as soon as they hand in their pieces. If you have done a Fereday or know someone who has done one or just want to feel involved, please print out, fill out and send out this form.
Friday, 30 May 2014
The delightful image above is taken from the Margaret Tait collection and is a painting of her wonderful eightsome reel figures which feature in the animated film Painted Eightsome which can be seen here.
We also found the fiddled-diddledy figure's genesis in one of her notebooks:
Supporting material from the Orkney Archive including copies of Margaret Tait's watercolour sketches plus correspondence about her film making are also part of the exhibition.
If you are not in Orkney, or shall not make it to the exhibition, then you can take a look at one of the films being shown here:
Painting: Orkney Archive Reference D97/44/2
Notebook: Orkney Archive Reference D97/28/15
Monday, 26 May 2014
Time has, of course, moved on and there are no survivors of the Great War still alive to tell their stories themselves but, thanks to Orkney Sound Archive, we can still listen to them.
One account held in the Sound Archive is an interview, recorded in 1985, with William Spence, from the island of Stronsay, who served with the Machine Gun Corp. You can listen here to a short edited clip from the recording in which William talks about his involvement in the start of the third battle of Ypres on 31 July 1917.
Saturday, 17 May 2014
As a wee tribute we thought we'd look out a few archives which show the relationship of these two countries over the years.
The Orkney Room is home to our local studies collection where we have many copies of the Orkneyinga Saga - the history of the Norse Earls in Orkney.
The Norse Earls ruled over Orkney and Shetland until 1468 when they were mortgaged to Scotland as part of the marriage contract between James III and Princess Margaret, daughter of Christian I King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
Here is an extract from the original document:
We have a digital print copy of the original Contract of 1468 here in the Orkney Archive and there is an extract transcription in Records of the Earldom of Orkney edited by J Storer Clouston and published in 1914 on p55-57.
In the Proceedings of the Orkney Antiquarian Society there a list of the Burgesses from Orkney in Bergen from 1558-1745, here is a short extract:
In 1729 we have papers relating to a voyage to Norway by John Fea with bere and meal and "black stuff" in the James of Burntisland.
In 1883 we have a short account of a cruise to the Western Isles, Orkney, Norway and Denmark on the Pembroke Castle with passengers including the Prime Minister W E Gladstone and his poet laureate Alfred Tennyson, whose son Hallam kept a journal.
At Kirkwall "The illustrious pair were feted in beautiful weather through narrow-winding streets by throngs of people in holiday mood" They then decided to cross the sea and visit Norway. The account states: "Gladstone wrote to Queen Victoria apologising for not asking royal permission to visit a foreign country. She was not amused and later delivered him a sharp rebuke..."
"They reached Christiansand on Saturday 'before luncheon' and trekked on horseback to the Torridal waterfall. Gladstone thought the Norwegians 'a most courteous and apparently happy people'"
In 1960-62 Ernest Marwick corresponded with Eilert Lund from Bergen about placenames common to Norway and Orkney. A short extract from one of Eilert's letters is shown here:
And in 1968 Orkney held a Quincentenary Conference when delegates from Orkney, Scotland and Scandinavia attended to discuss the Contract and the 500 years of history since then.
These are just a few of the many hundreds of references we have regarding Norway in the Orkney Archive.
References: D1/840 Voyage of the Pembroke; D31/1/4/7 Qunicentenary Conference; D31/60/5 E Marwick correspondence; D14/1/13 Voyage of James of Burntisland; D112/Y1/12/A2 Treaty of Matrimonial Alliance.
Wednesday, 9 April 2014
|Orkney Archive Reference D23/29/6|
Archiver: Ooooh! Lovely! Who's that?
Dusty: J. Storer Clouston. He was very good looking don't you think?
Archiver: Yes, handsome. Indeed...
Dusty: So handsome.
Dusty: A brilliant writer too of course.
Archiver: Oh yeah. Definitely.
Dusty: Nice cheek bones...
Saturday, 5 April 2014
|Plan of old garden at Orphir House, Gyre.|
a) It is a beautiful spring day and you are a plan of trees and list of plants for the garden at Orphir House (which was rebuilt in 1886.)
|List of plants growing in the layer rockery at East Cottage on 5 May 1895.|
b)You are the record of the old garden, a garden past, which makes us feel mournful and wistful... which we love.
|Plan of trees in the old garden.|
|Rubbings of initials carved into the bark of trees.|