28 Nov

Investigating New Archive Documents

Archive, Norman Mowatt

The volunteer archive team was recently informed that some documents had been donated to the Picture House archive. We were interested…


After a gap of a few weeks the volunteer archive team met to have a look at these new documents and to have a look through the archive for some new ideas for future research and blog articles. During the course of the day we also discussed our ideas and made notes on the subjects that could be of interest since the Picture House Board has encouraged us to continue adding to the blog website. We had a look at some of the ledgers and accounts books, and began exploring the extensive digital archive that had been created by archivist Robin towards the end of the project.

The New Documents

Within the new papers, which was principally a business conversation in correspondence, were two sheets of paper which were not letters. On inspection they turned out to be Weekly Wages Sheets for the Picture House. As always we were very interested in anything related to the people of the Picture House so we decided to have a closer look and to think what the pages could tell us.

There is a list of job titles with a name against each:

Manager D Sinclair

Cashier Miss McDougall

1st Operator Miss Crossan

2nd Operator Miss Drummond

Spool Boy Mrs Brown

1st Door Attendant J Ramsay

2nd Door Attendant A Newlands

1st Male Attendant A McGougan

2nd Male Attendant

1st Female Attendant Miss Meenan

2nd Female Attendant Mrs McGougan

3rd Female Attendant Miss Martin

4th Female Attendant Mrs McCallum

5th Female Attendant Mrs McArthur

1st Cleaner Mrs McArthur

2nd Cleaner Mrs Howell

3rd Cleaner Miss M Howell


The same name list is on both sheets. One sheet has the hand written words Present Pay added at the top. There are amounts against each name, which would perhaps be insensitive to discuss here so I have decided not to mention amounts other than the total wage bill. The image I have shown here has had the amounts removed digitally during processing:

  The Wages Sheet

We found it interesting that there are two completed columns of earnings, one for weekly pay and a separate one for Matinees. Then there is an unlabelled blank column, and of course a column for total earnings. The columns are sub divided into three smaller columns for amounts in Pounds, Shillings, and Pence. An overall total sits at the bottom of the total earnings column and below that there is a space for the inclusion of N. H. and U. Insurance which is blank on both sheets. The two sheets display slightly differing amounts against most of the names, presumably indicating that some or all of the staff didn’t work the same hours each week.


The one thing that jumped out was that there was no date. A date would be useful to know. To find one called for a little detective work. I looked into what we knew about the people on the list from our previous research for biographies of the people of the Picture House and came up with the following:

Duncan Sinclair. Died in 1952 aged 66. He was manager of the Picture House for 19 years


Obituary, Campbeltown Courier 22nd May 1952

Death Notice, Campbeltown Courier 22nd May 1952

Angus McGougan. Died in 1950 aged 80, and was retired as Picture House Attendant by then.


The National Records of Scotland on Scotland’s People, deaths 1950 ref 507/ 19 Campbeltown

Occupation recorded as Picture House Attendant (Retired)

Isa Crossan. Married George Durnan in 1951. She trained for three months in Glasgow to become a projectionist and worked in that role while George Durnan served in the army during WW2.

The National Records of Scotland on Scotland’s People, marriages 1951 ref 507/46 46 Campbeltown

The Wee Pictures by Norman S. Newton, page 21. (Published by CCB 1989 and 2008)

What else do the Wages Sheets tell us:

The 2nd operator and Spool Boy roles are filled by women.
The attendants are most likely all older men.

NH and U Insurance is printed on the wages sheets.

National Health and Unemployment Insurance was payable as fixed amounts under the 1911 National Insurance Act. The taxes changed from fixed amounts to earnings related amounts after the 1946 and 1948 National Insurance Acts were enacted. Since that would involve calculated deductions from each wage a different type of form might be required.


From all of the above I think it most probable that the Wages Sheets are from the years of WW2 (1939 – 1945). The Wages sheets confirm a number of the names mentioned on the aforementioned page 21 of the Wee Pictures book and add one or two more to the list of known employees of the Picture House, and we now have a list of the job roles in the Picture House at that time. Two very interesting and useful documents to add to the archive.

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