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Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow lectures

  • GB 249 RPSG
  • Collection
  • 2017 - 2021

Digital recordings of lectures, plus abstracts of lectures and biographies of speakers, from the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow's 216th, 217th, 218th and 219th lecture series.

Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow

Singer strike, 1911

  • GB 249 SOHC 2
  • Collection
  • Original recordings, 1988

Conversations between members of Glasgow Labour History Workshop and former Singer employees, discussing working conditions and the strike at the Singer sewing machine plant in Clydebank, Scotland, March / April 1911.

Clydeside industrialists began to introduce scientific management practices in 1910. The Singer sewing machine plant in Clydebank became the site of the first explicit confrontation between capital and labour in Scotland resulting from the ensuing reorganisation of work processes. Within two days of twelve female cabinet polishers going on strike, the Singer works became paralysed as the majority of the 11,000 workforce joined in.

University of Strathclyde | Scottish Oral History Centre

Duncan Craig papers

  • GB 249 OM/482
  • Collection
  • 1946-1947

Royal Technical College Diploma in Engineering Science as applied to Electrical Engineering, 1946; Royal Technical College Certificate of Associateship in Electrical Engineering, 1947; thesis presented for the Associateship of the Royal Technical College (ARTC), 1947.

Craig, Duncan Robertson, 1927-1998, electrical engineer

Voices from the Yard oral history project

  • GB 249 SOHC 46
  • Collection
  • September - November 1989

Oral history project conducted in 1989 by Glasgow Museums with eight former workers in the Clydeside shipbuilding industry. The project documents, from the workers' own perspectives, life in Glasgow's shipbuilding industry in the 1930s and 1940s, and includes their recollections of the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Based along the river Clyde in the west of Scotland, the Glasgow shipbuilding industry grew dramatically in the late 19th century, becoming one of the world's major centres of shipbuilding construction, employing tens of thousands of people in a host of different firms, constructing ocean liners, steamships and battleships, for export around the world. At the turn of the 20th century, Glasgow was responsible for a large proportion of the world's ship production. After suffering a severe downturn during the Great Depression in the 1930s, the Glasgow shipbuilding industry went into terminal decline in the post-war decades, and by the 1990s was at a fraction of its former capacity.

The interviewees held the following occupations within the shipbuilding industry:

  • shipwright/boilermaker
  • 2 x shipyard blacksmith
  • 2 x shipwright
  • caulker
  • ship's plumber
  • marine engineer
    In addition, one of the interviewees (Pat McChrystal) describes in detail a myriad of other roles, and the overall process of ship construction.

The interviews reference a range of shipbuilding companies on the Clyde, including Fairfields, Alexander Stephen & Sons, and Harland & Wolff. As most interviewees spent most of their working lives in the industry, interviews chart the career trajectories of workers, often involving changes of role and employer, including time spent in the broader industrial marine ecology of the Clyde, such as the merchant navy and ship repairers. Comments are also made on wages, hours of work, the hierarchy within jobs, and differences in skilled/semi-skilled labour.

Most of the interviewees started their working lives in the 1930s and 1940s in the shipyards. Although the interviewees talk about their working lives across the decades, most of the specific detail focuses on their experiences in the yards in the 1930s and 1940s. The impact of the Great Depression of the 1930s is a notable feature of the material, and this period's effect on the shipbuilding industry on the Clyde is described. In particular, the interviewees outline the personal impact of the collapse in shipbuilding, describing the impact of periods of prolonged unemployment. The development of cycling and hostelling around Scotland as a popular leisure activity for unemployed men in the 1930s is also featured.

One interview is with Andy McMahon, a former shipbuilder, who was also the Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Govan, between 1979 and 1983. Leaving school at 14, McMahon became an apprentice in the Fairfield shipyard in the early 1930s and later became a trade union shop steward. McMahon describes his periods of unemployment during the depression of the 1930s, and details his emerging political consciousness in the shipyards in this period, which included membership of the Communist Party and being blacklisted for political activism.

The interviews cover the entrance of the worker into the shipbuilding industry, which was typically on leaving school, aged 14 or 15. The interviewees discuss parental attitudes towards employment, as well as the influence of fathers - who typically were also employed in the shipyards - in securing work. All entrants to the shipyards underwent a 5 year apprenticeship, leading to a skilled trade, and this apprenticeship period is heavily described in the material, including entrance examinations, rival gang fights, an apprentice strike in the 1930s, and the impact of the Great Depression.

The interviews also document everyday experiences in the workplace environment. There is material on interviewees' day-to-day routines, detailing the challenges and tasks required by specific roles within the shipbuilding process, often going into detail regarding specific industrial techniques, typically involving skilled manual labour. Interviews also cover the various tools and equipment used to perform specific roles, and comment is often made on the provision and availability of tools. Interviewees frequently discuss how they were expected to make their own tools. The impact of new technology in the shipbuilding industry is also touched upon.

The interviews also provide details of the working conditions in the shipyards. Interviewees often describe the conditions of the shipyards which they encountered on leaving school and starting work there. Frequent comment is made on the physical conditions of life in the shipyards (noise levels, extreme heat, working outdoors in winter etc), the provision of specialist equipment (or lack of), and the various strategies adopted to ameliorate demanding conditions. The sheer physical demands of the work is often commented on, and the provision of on-site facilities (eg. canteens, toilets) - or lack of - is also outlined. Interviews also cover the health and safety procedures (or lack of) in the shipyards, describing workplace accidents, workplace risks to injury, and exposure to hazardous substances, including asbestos.

The interviews also document industrial relations within the shipyards. Interviewees discuss their relationships with management, the distinct dress codes of different groups, and management attitudes towards workers. Interviewees also outline their relationships with foremen, who were responsible for day-to-day oversight of ship workers, described by one interviewee as "very powerful". Discussion also takes place on workplace discipline, and penalties for infringements. Interviews also feature material on the development of trade union activity in the shipyards, as well as the campaigns for improved wages and conditions in the 1930s. Workers also discuss their myriad grievances in relation to their working conditions: no teabreaks, low wages, no pension, no holiday pay, lack of tools, "hire and fire" culture. Some interviewees also reference Catholic/Protestant relations in the shipyards, detailing practices of discrimination and sectarian attitudes.

Some of the interviews feature life in the shipyards during WWII. Interviewees discuss the "boom time" of the industry, the changing focus towards warships and merchant fleet, and the new influx of people into shipbuilding. In particular, comment is made on the arrival of women workers in the shipyards during WWII, undertaking traditionally male roles.

Glasgow Museums

Giving voice. An oral history of British women who qualified as speech therapists between 1945 and 1970.

  • GB 249 SOHC 37
  • Collection
  • 2017 - 2019

Oral history project carried out by Jois Stansfield for MSc Health History at University of Strathclyde.

This is believed to be the first oral history of speech and language therapy in the UK. Early members of the speech and language therapy profession were recruited from retirement networks and via the professional body, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. Interviews were held across England and Scotland, taking a life-story approach with each participant. Personal testimony, previously unheard, from these pioneers of the profession demonstrates the degree to which these women were products of their age, class and gender and the individual ways in which they negotiated challenges in their personal and professional lives.

Stansfield, Jois, b.1951, speech therapy historian

Oral history project on women’s experiences of work and closure at James Templeton & Company Ltd, Glasgow, c. 1960-1981

  • GB 249 SOHC 32
  • Collection
  • May - September 2018

Oral history project, conducted in May - September 2018 by Rory Stride, with women formerly employed at James Templeton & Co., carpet manufacturers, between c. 1960 and 1981. A total of six women were interviewed. The interviews last approximately between 45 minutes and 1 hour 15 minutes and were conducted at a variety of places across Scotland. The interview questions were semi-structured and largely directed by the responses of the participants.

The interviews focus on the women’s working lives and their first experiences of employment after secondary school but specifically exploring their experience of work at James Templeton & Co., the preeminent carpet manufacturers in Glasgow during the 1960s and 1970s. The company had seven factories, located in the east end and southside of Glasgow with the company’s Crown Street factory being the last to close in early 1981 when Templeton Carpets amalgamated with Stoddard Carpets. Topics discussed include trade unions, working conditions, gender divisions in labour, staff camaraderie, management and staff relationships, and periods of redundancy, unemployment and re-employment after leaving James Templeton & Co. The interviews also cover the women's feelings and opinions regarding the gentrification and redevelopment of the former headquarters and factory of James Templeton & Co. located at Templeton Street on the north eastern edge of Glasgow Green.

University of Strathclyde | Scottish Oral History Centre

Papers of Linda Armstrong relating to the history of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists

  • GB 249 ARM
  • Collection
  • 2020 - 2021

Collection of papers created by Linda Armstrong, and some collaboration by Jois Stansfield: researchers interested in the history of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, and the Speech and Language Therapy profession in general.

Papers were researched and created between 1999 - 2021 and many were revised and edited just prior to deposit in January 2021. Sources used for the research included the papers of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists held within the University of Strathclyde Archives and Special Collections, and also papers and files still held by the College.

The papers comprise: lists covering a range of historical areas relating to the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and the profession in general such as Journal articles, College conferences, and committee members; and analytical articles covering topics such as how the College was formed, the change in the name of the profession, and analysis of the content of the College’s news bulletin.

Armstrong, Linda, b.1960, speech and language therapist

Scottish Election Ephemera

  • GB 249 T-SEE
  • Collection
  • 1950, 1979 to date

Election literature including campaign leaflets, manifestos and publications produced by political parties for Scottish constituencies. Primarily covering all elections since the first Scottish Parliament election in 1999, there is also a selection of earlier donated material present.

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists records

  • GB 249 RCSLT
  • Collection
  • 1934 - 2005

This collection comprises items relating to the formation and running of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. The bulk of the records are minutes of the Council and the boards and committees of the College.

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists

Laurie Flynn papers on the asbestos industry

  • GB 249 FLYNN
  • Collection
  • 1893 - 2005

Laurie Flynn's papers on the asbestos industry span the period 1893-2005 and contain information primarily on the occupational health hazards posed by asbestos. This interest is centred on the activities of Cape Asbestos Company Ltd (and all corresponding names including shell entities) as well as the company's overseas subsidiaries.

There are 4 main series:

  • mining in South Africa, 1938-2005
  • asbestos litigation in North America, 1934-2005
  • asbestos in the UK, 1953-2005
  • Cape Asbestos corporate papers, 1893-2000

The focus of the collection is on employer negligence concerning health and safety, as argued in compensation lawsuits brought against the company and its subsidiaries.

Access to the wealth of business and legal papers brought to light primarily through lawsuits led Flynn to question whether multinational enterprises are as progressive as some commentators (notably business historians) have made out. The depositions, affidavits and court exhibits contained in this collection illuminate the role played by corporations and their representatives (in particular company medics and corporate lawyers) in suppressing scientific evidence concerning the risks of asbestos exposure. The Flynn papers also illustrate the lengths to which Cape Asbestos’ legal advisers went to create complex and confusing company structures in order to distance the parent company from liability ("corporate veil").

The collection includes some of Flynn’s notebooks and other background research materials for journalistic projects (among them extensive interviews with South African miners and Glasgow laggers), scripts and transcripts for documentaries, press cuttings, scientific literature, and correspondence with health and safety experts, medical specialists, environmental consultants, tort lawyers and asbestos ban campaigners.

In addition to documenting Flynn’s sustained interest in the workings of multinational asbestos enterprise, the collection also includes a little material relating to gold and diamond mining and the medical impact of atomic testing.

Flynn, Vincent Laurie Macpherson, investigative journalist

University of Strathclyde Department of Physics records

  • GB 249 OF/1
  • Collection
  • 1862-2003

Records relating to the teaching of physics at the University of Strathclyde and the Royal College of Science and Technology, the Royal Technical College, the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College and Anderson's College (the antecedents of the University of Strathclyde).

University of Strathclyde | Department of Physics

Occupational and Environmental Diseases Assocation case files

  • GB 249 OEDA CF
  • Series
  • c. 1970 - c. 2007

Ten separate series of individual case files and one series of radiographs resulting from the Occupational and Environmental Diseases Association's advocacy for better compensation payments for sufferers of asbestos-related diseases.

The case files comprise correspondence, medical notes and the results of the Association's own groundbreaking electron microscope testing.

Occupational and Environmental Diseases Association

University of Strathclyde student record cards

  • GB 249 OS/59
  • Series
  • 1964 - 1990s

Details recorded are student's name, date of birth, session, year of course and course of study.

University of Strathclyde | Academic Registrar

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