Archives of the University of Glasgow (GUAS)
maintain the historical records of the University of
Glasgow back to its foundation in 1451.
Glasgow University Archive Services
record is a charter dating from 1304 for the lands of the earliest
mention of record-keeping in the University is in 1490 when it is
recorded in the Annales Universitatis Glasguensis 1451–1558 that
‘in accordance with a proposition of the Lord Rector
, a parchment
book is ordered to be procured, in which important writs, statutes,
and lists of the University, are to be engrossed: and also a paper
book, for recording judicial proceedings.’ The Clerk to the
Faculty, and subsequently the Clerk of Senate, maintained the
records of the University due to the continuing requirement to
ensure that the privileges, rights, policies and finances of the
university were kept in good order.
The Clerk’s Press is the oldest surviving piece of university
furniture and was acquired in 1634 to hold such records.
the first professional University Archivist was appointed and it is
currently one of the largest archive services in Scotland outside the
national archives in Edinburgh.
University’s archives are primary resources for Scotland's educational, intellectual and cultural history and
contain collections of records created by individual staff and
students or groups and societies, as well as the business records
of the University and its affiliated bodies.
University Archives also manages the Scottish Business Archives, a
large internationally important collection of business records
(over 500 individual collections) covering the whole of Scotland and beyond
dating from the 18th century to the present. These collections
reflect the contribution and breadth of activity that Scotland’s business, industry and enterprise has made past and
present to the world economy.
The collections were
inaugurated by Sydney Checkland, the first professor of Economic History
, in 1959 and have been
managed by the University Archives since 1975. The Scottish
Business Archive is one of the largest collection of business
archives in Europe
The collections include those for the University of Glasgow’s
predecessor and affiliated bodies, such as Anderson’s College of
Medicine, Glasgow Veterinary College, Glasgow Dental Hospital &
School, Queen Margaret College, Royal Scottish
Academy of Music & Drama
, St Andrews College of Education,
St Mungo's College of Medicine, and Trinity College
. There are large
collections of photographs relating to University personnel and
buildings and Scottish topography and plans of University buildings
collection of shipbuilding records,
many held on behalf of the National Archives of Scotland, is unrivalled and includes those of John Brown of
Clydebank, the builders of the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary, William Denny of
Dumbarton, Lithgows of Port Glasgow and Scotts of Greenock, the world’s
senior shipbuilder. Also included are the records of important
national and international companies such as North British Locomotive
Co, the world’s largest locomotive works in 1900; James Finlay
& Sons, East India merchants; Gourock Ropeworks Co and their
New Lanark Mills, now a world heritage site; J & P Coats, world
dominant Paisley thread manufacturers; the House of Fraser department store group;
Anchor Line, cruise and emigrant passenger shipping company; Ivory
& Sime, Edinburgh investment trust managers; Babcock & Wilcox,
boiler-makers; Lloyds TSB, Scotland; and the major Scottish brewing and distilling companies, such as
Tennents and Scottish &
There are papers of individual and families of entrepreneurs like
(1877-1959), Sir James Lithgow
(1883-1952) and the Napier family including their shipping,
automobile, and textile interests.
Opening hours and admission
Admission to the Archives is free and everyone, members of the
University, visiting researchers and members of the public can use
Normal opening hours are as follows:
The Archives are closed on all University holidays.
13 Thurso Street searchroom
There are two public searchrooms. The main searchroom is on the 2nd
floor of the building at 13 Thurso Street, up 4 flights of stairs
(43 steps). There is level access throughout the 2nd floor, and 2
toilets just off the searchroom. A ground-level searchroom also
operates in the Dumbarton Road building, with 2 toilets and a
disabled toilet facility close to the searchroom.
A range of services are offered for University of Glasgow staff,
students and the wider research community.
Photocopying and photographic copying services are available to all
users. Copies are supplied on the understanding that they are for
private study and research.
An enquiry service is available for those who can not travel to the
Archives. This service is free and answers simple enquiries that
relate to the history of the University or about the archives that
are held. A research service is also available for enquiries that
will take over ½ an hour to answer. There is a fee for this
A free behind-the-scenes tour of the archive is available. Open to
all and held once a month during the academic year.