Priceless Pieces of Edinburgh’s Past Collecting Dust

Louise Gray has an article, Priceless pieces of history left to gather dust, in The Scotsman, about very valuable items that are just gathering dust in underground storerooms and warehouses, and they are in danger of being lost. There is a lot of valuable information that genealogists researching Scottish heritage would be very interested in.

Excerpt from the article:

Priceless records of Edinburgh’s rich past could be lost forever because of staff shortages and inadequate storage at the city archive, leading Scots historians have warned.

Thousands of artefacts, detailing the history of the capital from the tenth century to the present day, are kept beneath the City Chambers and in a warehouse at Murrayburn.

Among some of the unique items contained in the council-owned archive are the first recorded rules for playing golf, city records for criminal convictions, notes on the graves within Greyfriars burial ground and records about the establishment of the Edinburgh Festival……

The archive’s users are worried documents are kept in an “unsuitable warehouse” with inefficient heating and no air conditioning. Staff constraints mean the entire collection is managed by a lone archivist, much of it has never been catalogued and important papers are kept in cardboard boxes on the floor.

This is very distressing to say the least. Hopefully something can be done soon – they are talking about it, but all we need is another repeat of the 1973 fire in St. Louis that destroyed irreplaceable military records, or the loss of the US Federal Census from 1890 – the loss that occurred in both instances have caused many a genealogist a lot of extra work, and what Louise describes in the above mentioned article could rival those losses.

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