Thanks to the support of the Friends of the National Libraries, Glasgow Life was able to purchase for the City Archives the Cochrane-Baillie family and estate papers, 1716-1950s, which were previously held on deposit within the archives.
This rich and extensive archive documents the lives of four generations of a family who held positions of influence locally, nationally and across the British Empire and beyond. These include a Rear Admiral, an Admiral of the Fleet, a Commander-in-Chief of the East Indies and a Governor of Queensland. The collection also includes extensive correspondence and journals for the women of the family. The archive is of outstanding national, regional and local significance covering more than 200 years of our history. It tells the story of many significant naval, historical and social events, highlighting the role of Scots within the empire. It is also a wonderful portrayal of local, family and community identity. The archive provides a rich source of local history, documenting estate management and the lives of the many individuals who lived or worked on the estate.
The Cochrane-Baillie of Lamington papers have been identified as a collection of pre-eminent international importance, with outstanding research value for naval, political, social and local historians and for those interested in women's studies. There are a number of highspot letters from men and women of note, including Prime Ministers and Queen Victoria, as well as references to major incidents. These include local events, for example the Glasgow riots in 1792, and events of international significance, such as the capture and burning of Washington in 1814.
The following excerpts from the correspondence and diaries give a flavour of the richness and range of the collection: Letter from the late Queen Mother, March 1923, a month before her marriage: “I have come up for a few days rest from dressmakers, photographers, and other horrors.”; letter from Joseph Chamberlain, 1896, concerning treatment of Aborigines: “It was a most unsatisfactory, but , I am afraid a perfectly correct account of the treatment to which the native population is subjected in a colony entirely British, and it is not creditable to our national character.” The 1901 diary of Charles Cochrane-Baillie (1860-1940), Governor of Queensland (1860-1940) describes a meeting with a Pole, born 1808, who came there 50 years ago, and remembered Napoleon breakfasting at his father’s house on retreat from Moscow.
Thanks to the generous grant by the Friends of the National Libraries we have been able to ensure that the entire archive remains in Glasgow for everyone to access, learn from and enjoy, providing a invaluable contribution to our cultural offering.