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Salvesen Archive – 50 years at Edinburgh University Library – 1969-2019

50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE ARRIVAL OF THE CHRISTIAN SALVESEN & CO. ARCHIVE AT CRC – MARITIME TRADING AND WHALING MATERIAL

50 years ago in May 1969 former colleagues of the Centre for Research Collections had been busy collecting a large maritime trading and whaling archive from the offices of Christian Salvesen & Co. in Leith. The collection of company records was deposited on ‘permanent loan’, and would be joined by a second tranche in 1990, and a third in 2008. A gift of the entire archive to Edinburgh University Library was negotiated and signed in May 2012. That year, a small additional collection of material relating to the firm and its activities was received from Sir Gerald Elliot (1923-2018), a great-grandson of Christian Salvesen (1827-1911), the founder of the company.

Christian Salvesen and his wife Amelie, with their family, and photographed on holiday in Norway, in about 1860. The children may be (from left to right) Johan Thomas (b. 1854?), Edward Theodore (b.1857), and Frederick (b. 1855).

From Mandal, Norway, Salve Christian Fredrik Salvesen, son of a Norwegian merchant ship owner, first arrived in Scotland in the 1840s working at the Grangemouth shipbroking business owned by his brother, Johann Theodor Salvesen (1820-1865). Later on, after gaining experience on the continent, at Szczecin (then Stettin), he returned to Scotland and joined his brother again at Salvesen & Turnbull, now in Leith. On Johann’s retirement, the name changed to Turnbull, Salvesen & Co. The firm imported grain and timber, exported coal and iron, and also handled cargoes of salt and Norwegian herring. The carrying of migrants and gold prospectors to Australia was also an important trade.

Letter addressed to Christian Salvesen at the offices of Messrs Turnbull and Salvesen & Co., Leith, May 1861.

Following his brother’s early death in 1865, and after arguments with Turnbull, Salvesen went into business on his own, and his new firm, Chr. Salvesen & Co. began life on Bernard Street, Leith, in 1872. This change coincided with the advent of the steamship, and the expansion of maritime commerce with German and Baltic ports. In the 1880s, Salvesen was joined in the business by three of his sons.

For the Salvesen whaling enterprise in the South Atlantic, a subsidiary company was formed – the South Georgia Company of Leith (1909-1966), based at Leith Harbour, Stromness Bay, South Georgia.

By 1911, the year of Salvesen’s death, the firm’s vessels were trading with ports on the Baltic, in Norway and Sweden, and were servicing whaling stations in the Arctic, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Cargo lines were also opened up between Leith, Malta, and Alexandria, and then into the Black Sea.

The Salvesen Archive contains ledgers and cash and account books in various forms, both from the firm Christian Salvesen & Co., and the important subsidiary, the South Georgia Co.

During that first decade of the 20th century, the shipping industry was in a depressed state and, globally, shipping companies made heavy losses. While the Salvesen fleet fared no better, the company’s whaling interests – now expanding as far as the Falkland Islands and South Georgia – helped it to show occasional profit. The Salvesen whaling enterprise in the waters of the South Atlantic was operated by a subsidiary company, the South Georgia Company of Leith (1909-1966), based at Leith Harbour, Stromness Bay, South Georgia.

Whale on the ‘slip’ prior to be being ‘worked’, South Georgia. From a large photograph collection in the Salvesen Archive.

Into the 20th century, whaling began to dominate Salvesen business and the firm became an industry leader just at the time when food oils and other products from the Antarctic were considered a boundless resource.

Conservation of species… far from the concern of our own time… Report on whale stock and conservation in The Times, 9 September 1918, from a correspondent in Oslo. However, the concern about conservation at that time was not so much about the various whale species themselves, but rather more about continuing access to whale oils. Conservation of whale oils, rather than conservation of whales. From a collection of newspaper cuttings albums in the Salvesen Archive.

A third Salvesen generation entered the business in the troubled economic period of the inter-war years. The firm managed to ride out these troubled times, and whaling was expanded and modernised. As stocks began to diminish however, the firm of Salvesen – whalers for nearly 70 years – was prominent in urging conservation. In 1963, they gave up whaling.

Distinctive funnel colours of the Chr. Salvesen & Co. shipping line shaded-in on the plans for the whale catchers ‘Southern Lily’ and ‘Southern Laurel’. From a collection of plans in the Salvesen Archive.

By the 1960s and 1970s, a fourth generation was still playing an important role in the firm, and over that period the company had begun to diversify its interests: home construction; canning, and cold-storage facilities; food processing; frozen and chilled food logistics; generator rental; off-shore oil support; and, road transport logistics.One of Salvesen’s acquisitions was the Buttercup Dairy cold storage business, taken over in 1964… though the company was unable to save the well-known and popular Buttercup Dairy stores.

Day Books of the Aberdeen-based Glen Line, a shipping firm owned by John Cook and Son which had been an acquired by Christian Salvesen & Co. in 1928.

In 1985, Salvesen went public on the London Stock Exchange – Christian Salvesen PLC. In 1990 the firm left shipping, and in 1997 it moved to Northampton, England. In October 2007, the Christian Salvesen board recommended a takeover of the firm by Norbert Dentressangle, the large French-based European logistics firm (the unmissable red trucks of Groupe Norbert Dentressangle are almost on a par with Eddie Stobart among the lorry-spotting community!). 

The Salvesen Archive includes many years of the ‘Norwegian Whaling Gazette’, or’ Norsk Hvalfangst Tidende’, which is rich in articles concerning the whaling industry (in Norwegian and English), and rich in contemporary whaling industry advertisements.

It was with Christian Salvesen Investments Ltd., a Groupe Norbert Dentressangle subsidiary, that the Centre for Research Collections would finally agree acquisition of the Salvesen Archive in 2012, so ending much involved contact and conversation between CRC staff and the firm in Northampton over access to the deposited collection.

Advertisement for BP bunker fuel placed in the ‘Norwegian Whaling Gazette’.

Taking up just short of 70 metres of storage space, the archive is composed of a wide mix of material representing the firm’s early shipping interests, its whaling interests, and the firm’s later diversification. The archive includes: office ledgers; cash, accounts and invoice books; letter and day books; order and stock books; whale catch records; log books; correspondence; newspaper cuttings; photographs; and, copies of the ‘Norwegian Whaling Gazette’ and the company magazine of latter years ‘Salvesen News’.

Advertisement placed in the ‘Norwegian Whaling Gazette’ by the Tønsberg ‘ropewalk’ (or reperbane), a covered pathway, where long strands of material are laid before being twisted into rope.

When the first tranche of the archive arrived at the Library in 1969, Christian Salvesen & Co. had been preparing to make a move from their offices at 29-33 Bernard Street, Leith, to larger and recently constructed premises at Citadel House, East Fettes Avenue, in Edinburgh. Doubtless the impending move had spurred the firm into disposing of unneeded company records, and the National Register of Archives for Scotland (NRAS) had surveyed and drawn up a list of material in July 1968.

Whales being ‘worked’ on a whale factory ship. From a photograph in the Salvesen Archive photograph collection.

The NRAS list shows that the material now in the care of CRC had been located at several places: Inveralmond House, Cramond, the home of Captain Harold Keith Salvesen (1897-1970), grandson of Christian Salvesen; Attic No.1 at the firm’s offices, 29 Bernard Street, Leith; Metal cupboards at the top of the stairs at the same location; Captain H. K. Salvesen’s room in the offices at the time of the survey; and, the Operations Store Room, at the Bernard Street offices (it is worthwhile noting here too that some material in the second tranche, 1990, had been drawn from not only the headquarters in Edinburgh, but also from the abandoned whaling stations on South Georgia).

The interior of the cinema at Leith Harbour. Many of the films (in Norwegian and English) were brought out to South Georgia from Norway and the UK.

In 1968, the Library had moved into its new premises on George Square in closer proximity to the academic community and departmental offices, and from an exchange of correspondence between the Company and the Library, and between the Library and Professor Samuel Berrick Saul (1924-2016), Economic History, it can be speculated that Professor Saul may have been a prime mover in having the Salvesen Archive brought to the Library. As an economic historian, he may have been helping us to build up a business archive. Professor Saul had facilitated the commissioning of Mr Wray Vamplew, a postgraduate Economic History student, to write a history of the Company.

Painting of a whale factory ship, the ‘Southern Venturer’, by George McVey, which illustrates the cover of Wray Vamplew’s book, ‘Salvesen of Leith’.

The book, entitled Salvesen of Leith, was eventually published by the Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh and London, 1975.

Copies of the Salvesen in-house magazine. From a run of the magazine in the Salvesen Archive.

Graeme D. Eddie, Honorary Fellow, CRC… Engaging with the Salvesen Archive of maritime trading and whaling

If you have enjoyed reading this post, check out previous ones about the Salvesen Archive…:

Cinema at the whaling stations, South Georgia August 2016

Maritime difficulties during the First World War – Christian Salvesen & Co. October 2015

Talk on the Salvesen Archive to members of the South Georgia Association November 2015

‘Empire Kinsley’ – 70th anniversary of sinking on 23 March 1945 March 2015

Pipe bombs, hurt sternframes, peas, penguins, stoways and cookery books: the Salevesen Archive July 2014

Whale hunting: New documentary for broadcast on BBC Four June 2014

 

 

 

 

Cataloguing the correspondence of Thomas Nelson & Sons (cont.)

Our intern Isabella has now finished her 10-week placement at the CRC, during which she was box-listing part of the records of Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd. Her thoroughness and fine attention to details made her perfect for the job. Luckily for us, Isabella enjoyed her placement so much that she decided to keep working on the collection as a volunteer! We are delighted that she is going to keep doing excellent work on this great collection. Here are a few more of her great finds.

Isabella working in the CRC reading room.

1. Jane Borthwick Letter: While every other letter in this bundle is written in black or dark blue ink, with edits often made with red ink, Jane Borthwick writes a letter here in an aesthetically appealing purple ink. The letter concerns a manuscript which she was enlisted to read, review, and recommend for either publication or rejection. Unfortunately for the author, Ms. Borthwick found the piece too dull to be printed. On the back of the letter there is slight evidence of handling where several ink stained fingers held the letter. While the marks are slight and it cannot be determined if these are the product of Jane herself, an employee of Nelson & Sons or of a later cataloguer or archivist, it stands as evidence of this letters connection to the people that have interacted with it, carrying its handling history on its surface.1. Jane Borthwick’s letter

2. R. Anderson Letter: A letter from R. Anderson displaying discoloration of paper, dust and dirt – Some of the correspondence we are working to catalogue requires light conservation methods before we can return them to storage. In this letter from an R. Anderson, one side shows how protected and covered paper ages as that side has been stored firmly pressed against another letter, while the other side reveals how long-term exposure to the elements of stacks can fade, damaged and color the paper. In order to attempt to combat this issue a small dry sponge is used to wipe away what dirt or dust can be wiped away, however, due to the age of the ink on the paper we must be careful not to take any of the ink off the page itself. This then becomes a conundrum of whether to maintain the precision of the ink or to treat the residue before it becomes a larger and more expensive issue.

2. R. Anderson’s letter

3. French Postcard: Here we have a postcard from Vienna written entirely in French. Unfortunately, our cataloguer does not read French and so help was requested from a fellow student from the Book History and Material Culture course, Eleanor Cambridge, as well as the cataloguer’s supervisor and resident Archivist with the Center for Research and Collections, Aline Brodin. The emersion of this postcard from the collection allowed for cooperation between postgraduates as well as Archivists to engage in a multi-national approach to decipher another element of the archive. This opportunity not only demonstrates the way archivists and cataloguers often work in tandem in order to contextualize information and collections, but it further speaks to the multi-national nature and reputation of Nelson & Sons.

3. French postcard

 4. J. A. Bains Letter: Pictured here is part of a collection of nine letters sent from one J. A. Bains on highly personalized stationery decorated with fastidiously carved print images on one side. Despite the intricacy of the prints on the stationary, their appearance is not entirely a surprise as if you look to the right-hand side of the image you will see that Mr. Bains was a bookseller as well as a Stationer. Mr. Bains interactions with Nelson & Sons was such that he had been writing a biography on the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen and was very determined to see his piece published with their company alone. This sentiment was made plain to Mr. Brown, a manager at the company, in the final line of Mr. Bains letter from May 12th, 1896 writing, ‘I am determined that Messrs. T. Nelson & Sons shall publish it – even if I have to wait for months or years! I have spent too much labor (even if amateur) too much money and wandered too many miles to gather information to let it fall through.’ Bains was a jovial correspondent, often using exclamation points in his letters, reasserting that he would have no one else publish his work but Nelson and Sons, and on two occasions joking that if Nansen, who was on expedition at the time of these letters, did not return then his book would be the first biography published and probably a roaring success. Unfortunately, Mr. Brown did not return his enthusiasm as he rejected the opportunity to publish the work, multiple times, and so Mr. Bains took his biography to Walter Scott Publishing Co. Ltd. and the book was published in 1897.

4. J. A. Bains’s letter

 5. Sophia Caulfield and Audrey Curtis Letters: Many of the manuscripts sent to Nelson & Sons were full of differing content and came from a variety of people throughout a number of countries. Audrey Curtis and Sophia Caulfield were two of those authors. Ms. Curtis submitted her manuscript of ‘a tale of the Huguenot persecution in France about the date 1685’ while Ms. Caulfield wrote about ‘little-known curiosities in the department of Natural History’ of London. Each woman worked on historical and amateur scientific novels. Curtis herself had previously been published by the National Society for her short story entitled “The Artist of Crooked Alley” as well as for her story for children titled “Little Miss Curlylocks”. Each woman was a fairly accomplished author by the time they came across Nelson & Sons for their publications with Ms. Caulfield identifying herself as one of the original writers for a popular magazine aimed at young women interested in science and politics. As well Ms. Caulfield included a written resume with her manuscript to Nelson & Sons of all that she had worked on which included compiling a dictionary of needlework, textiles, and lace, as well as editing magazine articles, and her latest book which had been shown at the Chicago “World’s Fair” as well as the ‘Great Paris Exposition’.

5. Audrey Curtis’s Letter

6. Rev. F. Docker Letter: The Reverend F. Docker, pictured here, was a religious short story author who sent several stories for potential publication to Nelson & Sons in 1896.  Along with his letter and his manuscripts he included a newspaper clipping from The Christian Age newspaper bearing one of the stories which he had written as well as his picture. If you peer at the heading of the paper, you will see that it is identified as No. 1,268. -Vol. XLVIII.-26. and was published in ‘London, Wednesday, December 25, 1895’ meaning that the story Reverend Docker submitted to the publishers was in fact a Christmas installment.

6. Rev. F. Docker’s Letter 

7. Miss M. Douglas Letter: Here we see another example of Nelson & Sons enlisting the help of an expert for practical scientific publications. M. Douglas was a woman who worked with Nelson & Sons when producing a new book about Arctic Exploration. She was the designated reader and critic for the configuration and aesthetic design of the maps illustrated in the book. Unfortunately, this letter does not give the reader any more background as to her work but rather it does prove she showed a high proficiency for spatial relations, math, and geography in order to conceptualize and stylize maps for the Arctic which in 1896 was still a relatively unknown climate. In her letter here she shows a high understanding of Polar currents as well as a strong familiarity with the literary histories of Arctic Exploration.

7. Miss M. Douglas’s letter 

8. Ernest Ingersoll Book Submission: In 1896 Ernest Ingersoll submitted to Nelson & Sons his story entitled “A Railway Stowaway” which had previously been published in the United States by the well-known publishers of Harper & Brothers. In his letter Mr. Ingersoll offers Nelson & Sons ‘all rights outside the United States’ to the publication. While many authors include a full manuscript along with their letters, which they either request to be returned if they are rejected for publication, a gamble if the author has not written out or commissioned printed copies, Mr. Ingersoll included a small pocket copy of his story which was printed in the style of the Harper Collins 1882 edition. This particular copy was hand bound as you can see from the string threaded through the center pages and came complete with illustrations. The size of the copy enabled it to stay with the letter in this case, instead of the manuscript being returned or archived in a different location within the collection. This inclusion allowed us to not only understand the background of this submitted manuscript but also to collect the priority piece of knowledge that Nelson & Sons were offered sole rights to this piece for every publication outside of the United States. Unfortunately, Nelson & Sons decided to reject the offer. However, Mr. Ingersoll did not give up entirely and instead sent them a copy of one of his other stories entitled “The Ice Queen” which had been well received in the United States and which Harper & Brothers were willing to negotiate on copyright purchasing and illustrations expenses. While the last photo in the below series is not included in any copy of Ingersoll’s printed work, it is a wonderfully interesting example of marginalia which mimics medieval style. Referred to as a manicula, the hand design which was used to draw attention to specific passages, is used by Ingersoll here to identify the final paragraph of his letter.

8a. Ernest Ingersoll

8b. Ernest Ingersoll

8c. Ernest Ingersoll

8d. Ernest Ingersoll – manicula

 

Implementing ArchivesSpace

Meeting our Needs

Since the early 2000s we have been looking for suitable software to manage our archives in a holistic manner. We began to deliver online catalogues at this time via various project initiatives, with metadata encoded as EAD/xml, but this only dealt with resource discovery and was quite cumbersome. Moreover, along with other digital developments, the work inhabited one of a number of parallel silos.

As time moved on, we got better at developing systems to move different elements of work from the analogue to the digital but were still some way off developing or finding a comprehensive, robust and sustainable way to join things up in a meaningful way. This changed when we began to investigate Archivists’ Toolkit in 2011. Although we had looked at it in one of its earlier versions, we were surprised to see how much subsequent developments had brought it quite close to ticking everything on our wish list. It was lacking a resource discovery layer but a successor product, ArchivesSpace, was already planned and would include this.

From Archivists’ Toolkit to ArchivesSpace

We therefore began looking at Archivists’ Toolkit in more detail, assessing issues such as functionality and usability but also those of sustainability and interoperability. It scored very highly, high enough for us to be able to make the business case to commit to ArchivesSpace and obtain the internal funding to sign up as Members.

The involvement of the profession in the development of ArchivesSpace has been and continues to be crucial. What has been developed is not just other people’s idea of what the product needs to be but what we as archivists actually require. Although heavily influenced by the predominant US partners and the specifics of US practice, it has been developed in way that is equally intelligible to others and easily customisable to reflect local needs and terminology.

Priorities and Impact

We originally focused on moving our behind-the-scenes work over but then switched to frontloading our resource discovery, migrating existing EAD xml files and also retro-converting a wide range of old spreadsheets, databases and similar. In terms of impact, this both provides evidence that our business case was sound but, most importantly, meets growing user expectations of what and online catalogue should deliver.

Phase one saw the delivery of nearly 17,000 catalogue records along with over 22,000 authority terms. We still have more to add, along with a whole range of management metadata about accessioning, locations etc. This will feature in Phase 2.

Because the source metadata has been drawn from a variety of legacy sources, there are issues of consistency and quality to be addressed. These are outstanding issues which could never be solved just by getting the metadata into ArchivesSpace. However, with all the metadata now in one place we can now look to quantify and rectify them. Experience told us that’s users would often rather have partial metadata rather than no metadata at all so we chose to go for a warts and all approach, only correcting what was obviously erroneous at this stage.

Community and Participation

We are proud to have signed up as the first European partner and the support we have had from a growing community of ArchivesSpace users and developers. This discussion is also two-way, with us feeding ideas back for future development.

Locally we are also more fully integrated into developing solutions that deliver all our collections online, through a suite of applications and interface that work together, improving user experience and improving how we manage the collections themselves.

Next Steps

We still have lots to do with the system to leverage the full functionality of the system and fully showcase our amazing archives collection. So watch this space.

View the online catalogue.

Read about this from a technical perspective

New acquisition: Further papers of Alexander Craig Aitken

aitken1The mathematician, statistician, writer, composer and musician, Alexander Craig Aitken, was born in Dunedin, New Zealand on 1 April 1895. He was of Scottish descent. He attended Otago Boys’ High School from 1908 to 1912. On winning a university scholarship in 1912 he went on to study at the University of Otago in 1913, enrolling in Mathematics, French and Latin. Studies were cut short by the 1914-1918 War however and he enlisted in 1915 serving with the Otago Infantry. Aitken saw action in Gallipoli and Egypt, and he was wounded during the Battle of the Somme. After his hospitalisation, he returned to New Zealand in 1917.

On the completion of his studies in 1920, Aitken became a school-teacher at Otago Boys’ High School and the same year he married Winifred Betts the first lecturer in Botany at the University of Otago where he also did some tutoring. Then, encouraged by a professor of mathematics at the University, he gained a postgraduate scholarship which brought him to Edinburgh University in 1923. His thesis on statistics gained him the degree of D.Sc. in 1925 when he also joined the University staff as a lecturer in Statistics and Mathematical Economics. In 1937 he was promoted to Reader, and in 1946 was appointed to the Chair of Mathematics.

Aitken’s publications include: jointly with H. W. Turnbull, The theory of canonical matrices (1932); with D. E. Rutherford, a series of Mathematical Texts; wartime experiences in Gallipoli to the Somme: Recollections of a New Zealand infantryman (1963); and, posthumously To catch the spirit. The memoir of A.C. Aitken with a biographical introduction by P.C. Fenton (1995). He made many important contributions to the many fields of his subject, particularly in the theory of Matrix Algebra and its application to various branches of mathematics. In his time, Professor Aitken was one of the fastest mathematical calculators in the world.

While at school, Aitken had learned to play the violin, and later on in life he played both the violin and viola and composed pieces for performance by university groups.  He died in Edinburgh on 3 November 1967.

Shortly before Christmas we acquired a further tranche of Aitken’s papers.  These include a number of original mathematical manuscripts, correspondence, legal documents, offprints, publications and photographs.  Amongst these is a review by Aitken of Sara Turning’s “Alan Turing”.

aitken

At the moment we still have to look through the collection, box it up and create a basic handlist.  Once this is done it will be available for consultation.

Welcome to the new Blog

We are in the process of moving our blog in-house.  Although we’ve imported all the post titles, we still need to copy over the detail. Once we have finished the migration tasks, we will start blogging again.  In the meantime you can find the old blog at http://edinburghuniversityarchives.blogspot.co.uk/

Update, 4th July – blog content successfully migrated. New blog posts will appear here soon.

Henry Duncan Littlejohn notebook found

What connects Edinburgh, forensic medicine, public health and Sherlock Holmes? Many people would be tempted to say ‘Joseph Bell’, although they would probably wonder where public health fitted in. The answer is in fact ‘Henry Duncan Littlejohn’.

Born in 1826, the son of a prosperous merchant, Littlejohn was also credited by Conan Doyle as having been an influence. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1847 and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1854.  The same year saw him take up the position with Edinburgh Town Council as Police Surgeon. In 1862 he was appointed Edinburgh’s first Medical Officer of Health. The work he undertook had a significant impact on reducing the frequency of outbreaks of smallpox and typhus.

He was President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (1875-6), of the Medico-Chirurgical Society of Edinburgh (1883-5), and of the Institute of Public Health (1893). Awarded an honorary degree by the University of Edinburgh in 1893, he was knighted two years later.

Littlejohn was appointed to the Chair of Medical Jurisprudence at the University of Edinburgh in 1897. In the context of that post, a series of his notebooks were kept by his successors within the departmental records of the Forensic Medicine department. However when these arrived in the University Archives volume “Wounds II” was noted as being absent. Thanks to the vigilance of a member of academic staff, this missing volume has now been found and transferred to us.

We are thrilled to be able to reunite this volume with the others. the series now runs to 6 volumes in total:

  1. Infanticide I
  2. Infanticide II
  3. Poisons III
  4. Poisons IV
  5. Wounds I
  6. Wounds II

Enclosed in the third volume are (1) Examination script and (2) Letter about ‘meat pies’ from a student of Henry Duncan Littlejohn. Enclosed in the fourth volume is booklet A Case of Strychnia Poisoning by J. Allan Gray, Medical Officer of Health, Leith.

The ‘new’ volume is of a similar format to the others with notes, news cuttings and loose enclosures.

Neil Armstrong

In memory of astronaut Neil Armstrong, we are displaying the award by the University of Edinburgh to him of Doctor Honoris Causa. The ceremony took place a the British Embasy in Washington on 13 June 2008.

We hold the certificate (shown here) in the University Archives.

University Mace stolen – reward offered!

On the night betwixt the 29th/30th October 1787 the door of the Library was broken open by thieves and the University Mace was stolen from the press where it was usually deposited. The Magistrates offered a reward of ten Guineas for the discovery of the Delinquents.

So reads the inset entered between the College minutes for 11th September and 3rd December 1787.

The University would appear to have been without a mace until 1789. William Creech presented the College with a new one at the meeting of 2nd October that year. At the same meeting it was reported that the University been granted Arms by the Lord Lyon and that a new seal was to be made, the use of one of the city’s seals being “inconvenient and unsuitable to the dignity of the University”.

Early Veterinary students

Although our registers of students who attended the Edinburgh / Royal Dick Veterinary College only begin in the 1860s, the college itself was established in 1823. Although, unlike the University, there is no easily-identifiable published list of early students, one does in fact exist. Included in William Dick’s ‘Occasional Papers’ (published 1869) is a list of all the graduates.

The list gives their name, year of graduation and place of residence. Cornell University have a digitised copy of the entire publication at http://archive.org/details/cu31924000347975

Crowd Control

The following letter was sent, we think to Prof T. C. Hope, Professor of Chemistry, by a student in 1844. Student misbehaviour is nothing new!

Dear Sir,

You cannot but have observed, and been annoyed, at the constant disorderly contact of some of the young gentleman of your class. You have hitherto been too forbearing to take any notice of it but I trust you will allow me to prefer the request (in which I am sure the majority of my fellow students join) that you would be so kind as to endeavour, by some means or other, to put a stop to a recurrence of it for to say nothing of the great annoyance it must be to yourself.

I am sure you will agree that it really is “trop mal” that those who are anxious to pay attention to the Lectures should be prevented from doing so by the few juveniles who perch themselves on the upper seats for no earthly purpose but childishly amuse themselves during the whole Lecture by throwing paper balls and creating a disturbance to the no small annoyance of their more peaceable neighbours – Trusting you will excuse this communication.

Yours with the greatest of respect,

One of your Class

Feb’y 15th 1844