News of the closure of the paper mill Tullis Russell at Markinch in June was greeted with shock and dismay, both for the loss of jobs and livelihoods and for the ending of a 200 year old family business. The papermaking business began in 1809 when Robert Tullis of Cupar bought Auchmuty mill. The Tullises married into the Russell family and the business later became Tullis Russell and Co, led by Sir David Russell, whose extensive archive is already held by the Special Collections Division.
Because this Russell archive was already here, and because of close links over many years between the University and the Russell family, it was decided that the business archives remaining at the mill would be united with the rest of the material and the collection kept together.
The material was brought back to Special Collections in an array of boxes, bags and bubble wrapped packages. The process of going through, sorting, listing, boxing and putting onto shelves has begun but is going to take quite some time. Once catalogued it will enhance our understanding of the history of this fine company. We will also know more of papermaking in general through the extensive library of books on the manufacture of paper which have been transferred along with the archive. The University also has custody of the archive of Curtis Fine Papers, former occupants of the Guardbridge Mill site. Together with the Tullis Russell archive, this will eventually make us a centre for the history of Scottish papermaking – once it is all catalogued!