THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES An Introduction to THE KINTYRE FILES

http://www.nas.gov.uk/onlineCatalogue/

Based in Edinburgh, The National Archives of Scotland (NAS) claims to have one of the most varied collection of archives in Europe and is the main archive for sources of the history of Scotland and access to the archives is open to members of the public. The NAS changed its name from The Scottish Record Office on January 7, 1999 and is both an associated department and Executive Agency of The Scottish Government, headed by The Keeper of the Records of Scotland. The Agency is responsible to the Scottish Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture and its antecedents date back to the 13th century and it is responsible for selecting, preserving and promoting and making available the national archives of Scotland and also has a role in records management more generally. The National Archives of Scotland is based at three locations in Edinburgh, at H. M. General Register House and West Register House in the city centre, which are open to the public and at Thomas Thomson House in the Sighthill area of the city, which is the main repository and also houses a conservation department and other offices. An online search of the files related to Kintyre, the steamers and services on the Clyde and West Highlands and the files related to Knapdale and Kilberry produced nearly 7,000 results, the main problem being that these files, presented online in tabled batches of ten, need to be ‘re-tabled’ so that they can be presented in chronological order, a long and time-consuming process. Though the results of the ‘re-tabling’ process are not ‘pleasing to the eye’, the successive addition of ‘re-edited’ tables distorting the widths of individual columns and Microsoft Word programs steadfastly refusing to correct the columns widths to uniform widths, it remains that the work(s) are at least ‘serviceable’ in that, probably for the first time, the user can gain any proper historical view of ‘Kintyre On Record’, from the 1300’s onwards to at least the 1990’s. Not helping in these mateers of ‘uniformity’ is the fact that, any additional detail found on the files, that seen if one clicks on the file references, has been added to the file entries, rather than require users to do this for themselves and the detail, at a glance, often suggests to the user that it is worthwhile actually going to Edinburgh to further explore particular files. These ‘presentational matters’ became clear after ‘re-tabling’ the 567 files for ‘Kintyre’, that one file turning out to be some 1.4 mb in size and near 140-pages in length. The original idea had been to list all 7,000 ‘Kintyre-related’ files in a single document but, in view of the results of processing the first ‘Kintyre-related’ file, a single such document might run well in excess of 1,500-pages and, because of its size, be unlikely not only to upload to the internet but too be impossible for those with slow, ‘dial-up’ internet connections, be impossible to download too. 1

Only by splitting the various files into, at least initially, geographical groupings can these files be put online and, given that they could be uploaded and downloaded in Microsoft Word format, anyone so inclined could then merge all the various tables and, selecting the first column of the then completed ‘composite’ table, the column with all the uniformly listed dates, by using the ‘Table/A-Z Sort’ on the Microsoft Word program’s toolbar, it MIGHT be possible to chronologically list all the file entries, THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES THAT PROCESS THIS MIGHT WORK and the end product would undoubtably look ‘messy’, even though ‘serviceable’ enough to use using ‘’Edit/Find’ facility on the Microsoft Word program’s toolbar to look for entries of particular interest. An online search of the files related to Kintyre, the steamers and services on the Clyde and West Highlands and the files related to Knapdale and Kilberry produced nearly 7,000 results, these listed thus Kintyre Tarbert Tarbert Argyle Kilcalmonell Whitehouse, Argyll Clachan, Argyll Clachan, Argyll Tayinloan Muasdale Glenbarr Bellochantuy Kilchenzie Killean Gigha Cara Stewarton, Argyll Drumlemble Machrihanish Southend Sanda Campbeltown Campbelton Kilkerran Davaar Dalriada Peninver Saddell Carradale Grogport Cour Claonaig Skipness SUB-TOTAL Clyde Steamer David MacBrayne SUB-TOTAL = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 567 files 941 files but only 367 for Tarbert Argyll and 7 for

143 7 = 39 = 4 40 42 31 12 113 = 240 196 54 4 34 = 86 183 227 = 2096 34 300 = 53 18 24 = 124 99 1 112 14 211 6029 = 327 6430 2 74

Knapdale Kilberry TOTAL

= =

359 = 6917

128

At the very least, even whether or not this HUGE project is ever completed, given sight of these notes regarding the project’s framework and given sight of the first-produced set of ‘reedited’ and ‘composite’ tables with the 567 files for ‘Kintyre’, others may be able to take this and other similar projects forward and bring local history into the public domain. NOTE TOO - that from June 2009, Scottish Government files were released after 15 years. Previous practice had been to close such files for 30 years if they had been transferred to NAS before the implementation of The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA).

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