The archives are the result of a year-long project by a team of academic experts, who painstakingly restored, preserved and recorded hundreds of historical Aberlour documents, including administrative records, files, reports annuals, photographs and issues of the association’s magazine. .
Now fully searchable and open to those with personal or family ties to Aberlour and to researchers, the archive provides a detailed account of the organization’s work caring for children across Scotland since the founding of its first orphanage in 1875.
Ron, who arrived at Aberlour as a six month old baby alongside his seven older siblings, said: ‘I have been in contact with the Aberlour Children’s Charity for many years, however, for some reason I never got to the point of handing over my records. When Aberlour said they were donating their archival material to the University of Stirling, I was very keen to be involved in that.
“I was looking forward to hearing that the student body, in generations to come, will be able to access Aberlour’s archives and mine – I felt that was a pretty important thing to do. It is also a legacy for my children; they know very little about their father’s upbringing.
Ron was born in Edinburgh and spent fourteen years at the old Victorian Institute. He went on to a successful career in the automotive industry and returned to the Aberlour area in his late 50s where he lived with his wife for 12 years. In partnership with Aberlour Children’s Charity, he gave many talks about his life and experiences in the old house and as a result received donations of photos and stories from others related to Aberlour, eventually raising a large collection of orphanage materials, which he has now donated to the university archives.
Ron added: “When I look at the material I have, some goes back to the 1920s and one item, goes back to 1871. There is a particular folder where you can more or less follow my journey through orphanage life , from start to finish This is a very important and personal document for me, but it is something that I am happy to share with the University.
“I am very happy to see the archives open and to officially hand over the material I have.”
SallyAnn Kelly, chief executive of Aberlour Children’s Charity, said: ‘We often speak to people who have been brought up in the care system or have some experience of care, and they often don’t have much of a paper trail of what their life was like. The archive truly gives people hosted at Aberlour the fullest possible account of their lives.
“The partnership we have with the University is very important to us – both from an archival preservation perspective, but also for the long-term learning of health and social care students.”
Karl Magee, Archivist at the University of Stirling, said: “Our project team painstakingly preserved, cleaned, repackaged and cataloged documents spanning nearly 150 years of Aberlour history.
“The archives now make it possible to have a complete and detailed file for those who seek to know more about their time in care. This new resource will also bring significant benefits to the research community, helping to improve record keeping and social care, with Aberlour’s story brought together in one place for the first time.
The cataloging of the Aberlour Children’s Charity Archive was funded by a grant of £26,954 from Archives Revealed – a partnership program between the National Archives, the Pilgrim Trust and the Wolfson Foundation, which is the only stream of funding in the Kingdom -Uni dedicated to cataloging and unlocking archives. .
The archives of the Aberlour Children Charity can be accessed via the University of Stirling website.