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Authority record
GB 1534 EG1 · Corporate body · 1906-

Founded in 1906, the Embroiderer’s Guild is a voluntary charity that aims to collect and teach about embroidery in order to keep the practice alive in today’s declining art curriculum in schools. Originally started in London, other branches began opening across England until eventually the first Scottish Branch formed in Edinburgh (1953), and in 1956 the first Glasgow branch was opened. In addition to offering courses on embroidery, the Guild also has regular meetings for members to attend, as well as giving lectures and creating exhibitions. They also curate a collection of embroidery, consisting of pieces both historical and contemporary from the 16th century onwards, which is currently held at the Bucks County Museum Resource Centre. The Glasgow and District Branch had a 50th anniversary celebration exhibition in 2006, and a 60th anniversary exhibition in 2016.

GB 1534 EN1 · Corporate body · 1990-

Engender is Scotland’s feminist membership organisation, a charity working in Scotland and other parts of Europe for equality and women’s rights. Based in Edinburgh, their goals include increased public awareness of sexism and its detrimental effects, equal representation of women in government, and training women activists at a local level. The organisation launched in the early 1990s as a research and campaigning organisation. They involve themselves in all aspects of society, including care, education, employment, health, media, arts, sport, politics, public spaces, social security, abuse and women’s rights. They also run conferences and events, host women’s writing on their blog, and host a podcast: ‘On the Engender.’

Edinburgh Women's Centre
GB 1534 EWC · Corporate body · 1974 - 1984

Edinburgh Women's Centre was in operation from 1973 to 1984, providing information and services for women within the Lothian area.

Glasgow Women's Library
GB 1534 GWL · Corporate body · 1991-

Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL) has been providing information, resources and services since 1991. It developed from a broad-based arts organisation called Women in Profile, which was set up in 1987 with the aim of ensuring the representation of women’s culture during Glasgow’s year as the European City of Culture in 1990.

Since 1991 thousands of women have contributed to the growth and success of the Library. The collection has been largely donated and there have been scores of women involved in managing its projects, volunteering and contributing their time, expertise, visions and energies.

Despite the absence of revenue funding and a complete reliance on volunteers, GWL was quickly established as the central general information resource about and for women in Glasgow. People from all sections of the community donated books, magazines, journals and ephemera and by 1994 GWL’s rapid growth, both in terms of collection size and user numbers, resulted in the need to relocate to larger premises. Consequently, the organisation moved to Glasgow City Council-owned premises at 109 Trongate where it continued to expand and develop, providing learning opportunities informally in the context of the lack of any funding for this purpose.

The Library is a unique resource in Scotland but has always sought inspiration, support and links with sister organisations world-wide. Many of the Library projects, policies and initiatives have developed after peer group visits, contacts or discussions.

Over the Library’s history we have held hundreds of events, undertaken research, training and partnerships, visited and hosted workshops, conferences and exhibitions. We have visited international sister projects as well as making firm links with local and national women’s initiatives.
In 2000, GWL secured its first project funding, enabling the employment of workers for the first time. This was followed by further successful funding bids to facilitate new projects focusing on the provision of Lifelong Learning opportunities and an Adult Literacy and Numeracy Project aimed at women.

During a key period of development between 2002 and 2006, GWL secured its status as a Linked Library to the Scottish Parliament, appointed a Librarian and a Writer in Residence, undertook several research commissions on behalf of public bodies and launched its Women Make History Project. This period saw further growth in user numbers, with more than 10,000 people a year accessing the ever-expanding collection of materials and range of services.

In 2007, GWL was decanted from 109 Trongate to temporary accommodation at 81 Parnie Street (due to the development of 109 Trongate for visual arts organisations) pending a negotiated and agreed relocation to permanent self-contained premises at the Mitchell Library, for which the organisation worked towards a planned £1.5 million refurbishment. Whilst some archive materials and artefacts remained in storage at Parnie Street, project work continued and in April 2008, a new learning initiative aimed at Black and Minority Ethnic Women was launched. The new Women Make History Project researched, developed and delivered its first Women’s Heritage Walk and has since developed a further four.

In June 2008 GWL was successful in its bid for funding to the Heritage Lottery Fund and was awarded £410,000 to create a purpose-built archive space within the Mitchell Library premises and to employ an Archivist for three years to train volunteers in archive-related skills, conserve the collection and co-ordinate a programme of related public events. In addition, the Scottish Government agreed three years funding to develop GWL’s Lifelong Learning Programme at national level.

Like 109 Trongate, the temporary Parnie Street premises were also designated in 2010 as being required for visual arts project development, resulting in GWL having to move once again and take occupation of the Mitchell Library space in advance of planned renovation works. This move revealed, in fact, that the space could no longer meet GWL’s operational and strategic requirements in terms of size, functionality, vision and ambition. In the five years between the offer of these premises and the temporary move into them GWL’s growth had been significant, having increased its paid staff cohort three fold from four to 12 and doubling its number of core projects from four to eight. GWL worked with Glasgow Life to identify suitable new premises, and the former public library building in Landressy Street in Bridgeton was identified as an option for GWL by Glasgow Life as a result of the relocation of their public library service into the refurbished Olympia Building. With the support of Clyde Gateway the Library worked hard to raise money for the essential renovations needed to make Bridgeton Library fully fit for our purposes.

Having relocated to permanent premises at 23 Landressy Street in 2013, a major £1.4 million capital refurbishment project was completed in November 2015, when the Rt. Hon. Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland opened the new premises, publically declaring GWL as ‘truly a national treasure.’ This was followed in December by GWL being awarded the prestigious status of ‘Recognised Collection of National Significance’ by Museums Galleries Scotland and the Scottish Government, further cementing its status as the only Accredited Museum dedicated to women’s history in the whole of the UK.

GB 1534 IC1 · Corporate body · 1981-2011

The 1981 Investment Club (1981-2011) was formed for the purpose of creating a group of women who, through shared knowledge and experience, would be able to learn how to invest their finances with minimal risk. Club membership was open to women who resided in the West of Scotland, and was restricted to 20 women at a time, all of whom would be involved in the management of the club. Shared holidays and annual meals also became tradition. In 2010, the current members near-unanimously agreed to end the club, deciding that the May 2011 AGM would mark its conclusion, and compiled these records for the GWL to ensure their past efforts would be remembered.

GB 1534 IM1 · Person · 27th Dec 1948-5 Dec 2008

Ingrid McClements (Dec 27th 1948 – Dec 5th 2008) was a women’s and racial rights activist who spent her life campaigning for equality in both London and Glasgow. She studied in Leeds before moving to London in 1974, where she worked for Brent Council and was involved in many political events and campaigns, including equal pay, trade union right, setting up the first women’s centre in Brent, was heavily involved in the Working Women’s Charter Campaign. She was also a member of the International Marxist Group. She continued her activism through the 70s and 80s, eventually moving to Glasgow in 1993. There, she worked with the Glasgow Council promoting equality issues and capacity building for voluntary sector organisations. She was also involved in Gara, the Glasgow Anti Racist Alliance, which was established to tackle the social exclusion of young people caused by racism in Glasgow. She continued her activism even after being diagnosed with breast cancer, working tirelessly until her death in December 2008.

Isobel Ramsay, NAAFI worker
GB 1534 IR1 · Person · Unknown

The letters of Isobel Ramsay were written from 1939 to 1946 and detail her work in the Middle East while serving in the N.A.A.F.I.(British Armed Forces) as part of the war effort. All are addressed to her father. Ramsay left for Cairo in April 1939 and spent four years attending to the soldiers, in the midst of which she met Tony Marks, a fellow N.A.A.F.I. member, and married him in August 1940. They moved to Jerusalem in 1943, where Ramsay joined the Auxialiary Territorial Service (A.T.S) . Ramsay and Marks later had a son in 1944, and returned home to Scotland in June 1946.

GB 1534 JC1 · Person · 1891-1961

Janet Crawford (1891-1961) was a political activist. Born to Marion Dowie and William Benson, the latter of which’s brother (George Benson) is known for his military exploits in Sudan and death in the Boer War. Crawford was opposed to the family’s involvement in the colonial wars, growing up to become a socialist, then eventually a communist. She was also a writer and photographer, having written at least one book of poetry, and some of her pre-war photographs were published as postcards for sale in Mull. She attended St Andrews University, and met her husband, William, in 1913, though it did not last to be a happy one. They had three children together during the 1920s, but Crawford’s lesbian sexuality put strain on the relationship, and an affair in the 1930s with a German diplomat in Edinburgh effectively separated them completely. Crawford continued her political activism, campaigning against the Nazification of Germany and, throughout the 1950s in London, was involved in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

GB 1534 KM · Corporate body · 1980-present

Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) began in 1980 as the Barrow Action Group, to oppose the import of foreign fuel for reprocessing at Sellafield nuclear site. Since then, CORE has widened its campaign to challenge Sellafield’s radioactive sea and air discharges, and the resulting implications to the local environment. CORE is a non-political, non profit-making organisation.

GB 1534 KM · Person · 1936-2013

Kathleen Laura MacLean George was born on the 10th October 1936 in Maybole, Ayrshire. Kathleen attended the University of Glasgow where she met John Miller, whom she married in 1961. They had three daughters; Jo (1962), Manda (1963) and Bridget (1965). After moving to St John's Town of Dalry, Dumfries and Galloway, in 1972, Kathleen became involved in politics, joining the Scottish National Party (SNP), canvassing at elections, and standing as a candidate for the local council. Much of her activism became focused on challenging the nuclear industry's plans to investigate the Galloway Hills as a site for the disposal of radioactive waste. With local campaigners, she educated herself and others, fundraised, lobbied, staged events and built a movement which eventually led to a public inquiry into the planning application to test bore at Mullwharchar. Kathleen also had links with the wider anti-nuclear movement in the rest of the UK, and continued to follow the development of nuclear related stories in the media until her death in January 2013, in Rhonehouse, Dumfries and Galloway.