Coll-1167/A/6/8: Paris: bird’s eye view from the north of the Isle de la Cite
With immediate effect our project archivist, Elaine MacGillivray, will be looking after two collaborative Wellcome Research Resource-funded archive projects. Elaine will continue to work on our own ‘Evergreen: Patrick Geddes and the Environment in Equilibrium’ project, and has taken on responsibility for another fascinating archives project ‘Body Language: movement, dance and physical education in Scotland, 1890-1990′. Elaine will be splitting her time 50/50 between the two projects which will see her working (usually) Tues-Wed on the Evergreen project and Thurs-Fri on the Body Language project. This means that our Evergreen project will now extend until March 2020.
The extended time affords an opportunity to create and enhance even more catalogue descriptions, and to engage with more volunteers, interns and student placements. We will also be able to undertake public engagement activity up until March 2020. We are very pleased that this extended window will allow us more time to shine a spotlight on Patrick Geddes and his ideas, and to share with you some of the collection highlights uncovered during the project.
Like the recently re-discovered beautiful pencil and wash drawing shown above. It shows a ‘Bird’s Eye View of Paris from the north of the Isle de la Cite’. The eagle-eyed among you may notice Notre Dame Cathedral minus its steeple. This particular item is undated and we have yet to investigate the possible author. If any of you can shed any light as to the origin and date of this item please do get in touch. We would be delighted to hear from you.
Work continues on re-cataloguing the Geddes family photographs. Working in such close proximity with these photographic collections has provided a rare opportunity to follow intimately the changing face of Patrick Geddes throughout his lifespan. We hope you enjoy the visual journey as much as we did.
With our this project currently in progress, our eyes and ears are particularly attuned to Patrick Geddes material elsewhere in our collections. It was a delight recently to stumble across a volume entitled Records relating to the Mechanics’ Library and University Hall, Riddle’s Court. We have been working very closely with the Education Officer at the Patrick Geddes Centre, Riddle’s Court, so this is an extra special find at this time.
In the late 1880s, Patrick Geddes acquired Riddle’s Court for the purpose of creating University Hall. Prior to this, it had been in the possession of the Mechanics Library, who had been based there since the mid 1850s.
A volume in our collection contains extracts of records relating to the building’s time as the Mechanics Subscription Library, including the earlier history of the buildings, as well as records of its time as University Hall. As well as text, the volume is peppered liberally with illustrations.
The first residents moved in for the Winter Session of 1889-90. There were only three of them – William Speirs Bruce, Riccardo Stephens and William Grant Burn-Murdoch. All three had a strong connection to Geddes.
Illustration by Louis G Irvine