Papers of Sir Archibald Cameron Corbett, 1856-1933, 1st Baron of Rowallan

Scope and Content

The collection includes family photographs, journals and correspondence from the First and Second World Wars, correspondence and notebooks from travellers in Europe and photographs from the 2nd Baron Rowallan's time as Chief Scout. There is also political correspondence from the 1st Baron's time as MP for Glasgow Tradeston.  

  • Political Correspondence 1895-1933;
  • Family papers 1874-1975;
  • Photographs c.1878-1975;
  • Presscuttings 1888-1933.

Administrative / Biographical History

Archibald Cameron Corbett was born on 23 May  1856  , the son of Thomas Corbett of South Park, Cove, Argyll & Bute, Scotland and Sarah, daughter of Archibald Cameron. His father was the founder of the Glasgow Central Working Men's Club & Institute, Glasgow, Scotland, the first Working Men's Club in Scotland. He was educated at Glasgow Academy, and went into business at the age of 20, leading to his involvement in the management of his father's estate at Woodgrange, London, England. He inherited this estate on his father's death, continuing the development of workmen's clubs, cottages, allotments and gardens there.

In 1887, he married Alice Mary, only child of John Polson of Castle Levan, Gourock, Scotland, and had two sons, Thomas Godfrey and Arthur Cameron and one daughter, Elsie Cameron. He contested the parliamentary seat of North Warwickshire, England, in 1884. He was elected Liberal MP for the Tradeston district of Glasgow in  1885  , continuing as MP until  1911  . He was also a Justice of the Peace for Warwickshire, England and Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Archibald Corbett was well-known as a politician and a philanthropist, being a prominent benefactor of the City of Glasgow. In recognition of his parliamentary service and his generosity to the citizens of Glasgow in gifting Rouken Glen Park and Ardgoil Estate, Argyll & Bute, for recreational use, he was granted the Freedom of the City of Glasgow on 21 January  1908  . He held particularly strong views on the 'Irish Question', taking part in the campaign against Home Rule for Ireland with Lord Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Roseberry; John Bright; and Joseph Chamberlain. His philanthropic work included giving financial support to a number of religious and social movements, including the Foundry Boy's Society and the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). He was also very active in the work of the Temperance Movement in Scotland.

He was created Baron Rowallan on 27 June  1911  , and following his elevation to the House of Lords he made a hobby of showing visitors around both Houses of Parliament. His sudden death on 19 March  1933  , whilst reading at his gentleman's club, Brook's Club, London, prompted numerous public expressions of condolence.

Source: Who's Who


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposit: 2nd Baron Rowallan: 1975 Deposit: 1976: (additional deposit)

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)1284, replaced by 2809) and London (NRA19910)

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

None which affect the use of this material

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 0248 procedures

Custodial History

After being surveyed as part of the Western Survey (WS/544), the material was permanently deposited in Glasgow University Archives in November 1975. A subsequent deposit of was made in September 1976 and added to DC26/21


None expected

Related Material

See source lists on Political and Labour History, War Studies and Tourism History available via Glasgow University Archihve Services homepage at GB 0233 NRA 29285 Papers of Thomas Godfrey Polson Corbett 1895-1977, 2nd Baron Rowallan (National Library of Scotland) For contact details of all repositories with a GB code, see the Archon repository search page, at the Historical Manuscripts Commission.

Location of Originals

This material is original


Gaynor, WinghamA Hundred Years of a London StreetLondon , (  2002  )

Corbett, Elsie  , Red Cross in Serbia: a personal diary of experiences , ( 1964  )

Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives,ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999 and National Council on Archives,Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names

Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.

Compiled by Moira MacKay, Assistant Archivist, research by Virginia Russell, Archives Assistant, Sep 1997