“H is for Headquarters”

9:45 AM

This week our #ArchiveZ tag was 'H' in the alphabet and it seemed only appropriate to document the move of the Trust to its current headquarters in Johnstone. On this day 26 years ago, archival work commenced at the Ballast Trust's new headquarters in Walkinshaw street, Johnstone. The move was completed earlier in March 1992, a task which took 3 days!

Prior to moving to Johnstone, the Trust had initially operated from Bill's base at Malcolm's of Brookfield, however this was only a temporary arrangement. The liquidation of Scott Lithgow shipyard saw the Trust begin a large-scale operation to rescue and list the huge volume of commercial and technical papers of the inoperative organisation. The task was of such a scale it was agreed that all surviving records of constituent companies would be centralised in the former Joiner's Shop in the Kingston Yard. It was through this operation that the Ballast Trust were able to secure a new headquarters for the next 3 years and 8 months, from 29th July 1988 to 19th March 1992.

This is part of a letter written by Bill to Henry Higgs, giving an update on the move to Scott Lithgow's Joiner's Shop in Port Glasgow from the offices in Brookfield. Dated 17th December, 1988. Reference No. UGD 301/1/20/120.  

This is a letter written by Bill to George Mackenzie at the Scottish Record Office. This is a progress report on the move and subsequent activities in Port Glasgow. Dated 12th August, 1988. Reference No. UGD 301/1/20/65.

This is correspondence between George Mackenzie at the Scottish Record Office and Bill Lind. Bill highlights the plan for Scott Lithgow's and gives dates when the Trust would be ready to move to Port Glasgow. Dated 30th June, 1988. Reference No. UGD 301/1/20/49.  

It was in Port Glasgow that the working practices of the Ballast Trust developed and the value and importance of its service came to be fully understood and acknowledged. The enormity of this task is apparent in Bill's correspondence, where he estimates over 120 tons of material was collected from Scott Lithgow's and was brought to the Joiner's shop for processing. This process culminated in a rich collection covering a period of 120 years, including written communication about the building of blockade runners on the Clyde during the American Civil War, photo albums and a series of yard manager diaries. These records were then transferred to the Scottish Business Archive at the University of Glasgow by Glasgow University Archive Services.

The successful arrangement at Scott Lithgow also helped to secure the agreement of Kvaerner Kincaid of Greenock, to clear the vast quantity of commercial and technical records from their premises. A similar set-up to Scott Lithgow was granted and Kincaid's allowed the Trust access to the mould loft of the former shipbuilders. At this point the Trust was operating from two independent locations simultaneously.

However, this came to an end in 1991, when Trafalgar House notified the Trust of its intention to demolish the Joiner's Shop and clear the site at the Kingston Yard. A new search for permanent premises led the Trust to its present base in Walkinshaw Street, Johnstone.

The move to Johnstone was a gargantuan task, which required two teams at the Kingston Yard and at Kincaid's along with help from personnel at the Scottish Records Office (now known as National Records of Scotland) and Strathclyde Regional Archives (now known as Glasgow City Archives) and students from Professor Slaven's Department of Economic History in the University of Glasgow. The move began on the 16th March 1992 and was completed by the 19th March 1992.  

This image shows the outside of the Trust in 1992. Ref UGD 301/6/3/8.

This image is of Bill Lind in his office at the Ballast Trust, now the office for our Archivist and Surveying Officer. Ref UGD 301/6/3/8.

This image is of our central work area before any of the shelving was added. Ref UGD 301/6/3/8. 

This is correspondence between Bill Lind and Duncan Haws, Travel Creators Ltd. explaining the Trust. Dated 8th March, 1994. Reference No. UGD 301/1/26/35.

The premises at Walkinshaw Street, previously a furniture factory of James E. Robertson and Sons Ltd. suited the purposes of the Trust well. Between 1992 and 2007 this was where Bill was able to shape his personal vision for the trust and what was required to identify, list and catalogue technical records in order for them to be accessible and understandable to everyone.  

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