To celebrate Burns Night tonight, we thought we’d have a search through the archives for mention of Scotland’s favourite poet. Robert Burns has long been a patriotic figure for Scotland and his presence is felt here in the collections of University of Glasgow Archive Services.
Drybrough & Co Ltd was a firm that had been brewing in Lothian for some time already by 1750 and the firm expanded over time. The brewers manufactured a type of ale called ‘Burns Ale’ and used the image of The Bard to promote their brand. As can be seen above, they produced beer mats with extracts from Burns’ works and they even published a special Drybrough’s Burns Songbook. Burns ale was clearly a popular choice in pubs and it won second prize in the 1950 Brewers’ Exhibition.
Not only did we find traces of Burns in our brewing archive, but he popped up in the records of Stoddard and Templeton. When searching through the files of carpet and rug designs, we came across this fine specimen:
This fantastic rug was designed by a company called William C. Gray & Sons Ltd. The company grew from small beginnings in 1876 in Ayr, where William C. Gray produced carpets on two hand looms. The company expanded and moved to Newton-on-Ayr in 1877. It was here that their factory would be built in the 1880s. Production increased in both amount and variety during the 1880s and 1890s and the company grew in success, with showrooms all around the UK by the 1930s. Eventually the company became Gray’s Carpets in 1967, trading up until 1971.
We looked up our corporate records of the company and found the design in an order book (GUAS Ref STOD/204/2/7). The dimensions were 5.8 x 3.0 in feet and it was first ordered in 1965. Unfortunately we do not have much more information relating to this specific rug design. If you recognise this rug, or even have one of your own, we would love to hear from you!
Happy Burns Night all, and enjoy your ‘chieftain o’ the puddin-race’!
Categories: Archive Services (GUAS)