While the vast majority our collections have been gifted to us, on occasion we have purchased important items relating to the history of Dundee and the Tayside area. The rise of the internet has seen some important documents, which were thought lost or whose whereabouts were unknown, appear advertised for sale on line. One such example, the Dundee Power Loom Tenters Society Minute Book (MS 65), was mentioned in a blog post last year. http://www.archives-records-artefacts.com/2009/11/dundee-power-loom-tenters-society.html
More recently, Archive Services managed to acquire a series of documents relating to George Murdoch, a prominent Dundonian of the early nineteenth century who held the office of Kirk Treasurer. The items include a burgess ticket awarded to Murdoch in 1822 and a seating plan for a church service for the burgh's trades dating from 1840. This is particularly significant as the plan gives us a good idea of the layout of the interior of a ‘lost’ church. The church in this plan (probably the East Kirk or the Middle Kirk) was one of the victims of a great fire which led to the destruction of most of the mediaeval complex of town churches in 1841.
In early February 2009, archive staff became aware that these documents were individually listed as being for sale on an internet auction site, and promptly contacted the seller who kindly agreed to sell the entire collection to Archive Services. This has ensured that this collection has now returned to its home city and that Dundonians are able to consult this interesting piece of their history.
The George Murdoch and Family Papers (reference MS 277) are open for consultation.
Dr Kenneth Baxter