This charter granting Central Regional Council its coat of arms represents the huge change that took place in Scotland after the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 came into force in 1975.
The Act abolished the old structure of local government entirely: the Royal Burghs, some of which, like Stirling, had been in existence since the 12th century, were abolished ending 850 years of continuity in Scottish local government. Removed along with them were the County Councils that had taken care of larger infrastructure matters such as highways and education for 85 years since 1890. In their place were created 9 large regional authorities including our Central Region, 3 island areas and 53 District Councils whose boundaries were similar to, but not the same as, the older burghs. The changes embodied in the Act were the result of the recommendations made in what was known as The Wheatley Report or the Report of the Royal Commission on Local Government in Scotland. Commissioned in 1969, the Commission, headed by Lord Justice Bob Wheatley, looked at the state of local administration in Scotland as, by this time, it was widely accepted that there was a need for reform. The report concluded that Scotland had too many administrative authorities and that there was no clear division of functions between the counties, burghs and districts then in existence.
Of most pressing importance to our service, The Act also stipulated that local authorities should take care of their historic records, making what was described in the Act as ‘proper arrangements’ for them. In the case of Central Region, their Archives were established in Stirling in the old High School building. The Archives received transfer of all of Stirling’s Burgh records, then the local Burgh, Church and other records held centrally by the National Records of Scotland under a charge and superintendence agreement with the national repository. The first Archivist, Mrs Connie Brodie worked tirelessly to ensure that the correct records came from the departments of the new councils to provide a continuum of corporate memory from the very beginnings of the Council’s written records in the 14th century. Finally deposits were encouraged from organisations and members of the public in the local area who required expert care for their archive collections making the Central Region Archives a community repository for central Scotland. Through further local government reorganisation in 1996, there has been a continuity of excellent local archive services in Stirling, and Stirling Council Archives continues that tradition.
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