Saturday, 2 July 2011

New Displays and Strange Old Customs

We are proud to announce that we now have a new display of archives about Deerness in the Library foyer and continuing upstairs in the Archive Searchroom . This display is to help promote the Deerness in 100 objects event at Deerness Hall from 24 June - 7 August.

Our display includes school log books, kirk session minutes, photos of ploughing cups and medals, and one of the Deerness Coastguard Station books.

We have also provided some nice colour photocopies of some of the contents of the archive items to the Deerness Hall for the public to view there.

We are all waiting impatiently for our day off so that we can go down to Deerness and experience it ourselves.

We have not forgotten all you pirate fans out there though - do not despair! We have copied and moved the display of Orkney Pirate archives and Tall Ships photos down to the wavy wall in the library. The wavy wall (a very apt place to put it!) is near the childrens area on the way to the Marwick Room and the Computer Room in the main part of the Library.

And just to keep you laughing through the weekend here are a couple of drawings we found recently in the Customs & Excise Records. These are instructions to Kirkwall Customs Officials to watch out for some ingenious ways of smuggling tea and lace from ships in 1834.

Archive reference: CE55/2/6 Customs and Excise Records : Board’s Orders: Board to Collector, 1834.


  1. I absolutely love these customs notes regarding smuggling of tea and lace. I am a costume designer and this is brilliant reference, if it's ok I shall mention and add this as a link on my own blog.
    Many Thanks
    Jane Petrie

  2. Thank you for your comment. Yes, please do mention it on your blog. I think I have tracked down a manuscript in the Merseyside Maritime Museum by a Lieutenant Rawstorne who "was a Royal Naval officer and a chief officer in the Coast Guard. From 1830-1837, he produced detailed description of vessels involved in smuggling accompanied by fine intricate drawings of concealment methods". So if he is our man, then you could contact the museum to see more of his drawings.
    Best wishes,

  3. I can understand the tea smuggling, but lace ??? I can only guess it was very expensive way back when. It has given me a good laugh at the antics !

    1. the whole value of intricate handmade lace has been forgotten! think of the great portraits of aristocrats and royalty in the 17, 18, 19th. centuries - with their massive lace collars instead of jewellery to show their wealth!


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