Bute Museum Library

01Bute Museum Library was established in 1907 when the 4th Marquess of Bute purchased the old Aquarium building in Battery Place and converted it to house the Bute Museum which had outgrown its previous building at Chapelhill House.  When housed in Battery Place the library only consisted of books, many of them donated by members of the Buteshire Natural History Society.  When the Marquess of Bute commissioned the present Museum, opened in1926, the library was housed in the Buteshire Natural History Society meeting room.  02The archive has grown greatly over the years and now contains books, documents, photographs, postcards, maps, slides, glass plates, negatives and audiovisual material covering the history, archaeology, natural history and geology of the Isle of Bute. Genealogical records including several family trees relevant to local families are available for reference.

The library is staffed solely by volunteers and is open for research on a Wednesday afternoon 1.30pm-3.30pm and at other times by appointment.

Enquiries both general and genealogical may be made in person, by letter to the Museum address or by email – .  Please note that a charge will be made for any enquiries undertaken.



Photographic Archive
This contains 5000 photographs and 2000 postcards showing  people, buildings, school photographs, civic occasions, including Royal visits, various groups and landscapes.


Russell Darling Collection
This consists of  mainly black and white photographs of buildings on Bute, many now demolished, as well as Clyde steamers, puffers, ironwork and postal items.




05Robb Collection
This is a comprehensive collection of 21000 shipping pictures including Clyde steamers from 1812 to 2006, Macbraynes, Waverley, major shipping lines and navies worldwide.




06Glass Plate, Negative and Slide Collections
This is a large collection comprising 800 glass plates, 4000 negatives and 300 slides covering all areas of island life including street scenes, local people (mostly unidentified), Clyde steamers and landscapes.



The photograph, postcard and glass plate archives can be searched digitally as these have been entered on to a database and work is ongoing to digitise the remaining archives.  It is hoped in the future that these will be available online.

07The Document Archive
This contains papers, booklets, tourist brochures, transport timetables, church affairs, exhibition and event programmes, school magazines, war time memorabilia and weather records.  There is a large collection of material including invoice books, accounts and other material relating to businesses on the island The library holds several collection of original documentation including, examination rolls, marriage and baptismal records for Rothesay Parish 1775-1835 (incomplete); Ascog Estate papers 1507-1752; records relating to the cotton mills and Robert Thom.  There are transcribed copies of  Rothesay Town Council Records 1653-1766; Parish Session Records 1658-1750 and Kingarth  Parish Session Records 1641-1703.  (No Rothesay Academy records are available as these were destroyed in the school fire of 1954).



08Jazz Festival Archive
This was donated to the Museum in 2011 and is made up of posters, programs, fliers, photographs and other memorabilia.  A very successful exhibition based on this archive was held in 2012 to mark the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the Festival.



09Bute Agricultural Society Archive
This was donated to the Museum in March 1995 and contains minute books of the Society from 1806-2005
10Bute Players Archive
The Bute Players Archive contains photographs, playbills and newspaper cuttings covering many of the performances mounted by the Players over the years.



11Newspaper Clippings File
This is a collection of newpaper items relating to Bute, from various papers, collected over the years from the late 1800s to the present day.  Although this is not a comprehensive collection and it is not individually indexed, the cuttings are divided into rough subject categories. The Museum Library does not hold back copies of any of the local newspapers, these are held in the Rothesay Library in the Moat Centre.

12The Map Collection
This collection contains Ordinance Survey maps, estate maps and other old maps relating to Bute and these are available for consultation.