Papers of Agnes Hannah Tennant, nee Gairdner, 1864-1947, Glasgow and Essex

Scope and Content

  • Personal diaries of Agnes Tennant, nee Gairdner, with enclosures including correspondence, engagement cards and programmes, 1881-1924;
  • Short history of the Adam Smith Club, 1897;
  • Notes on the Dalrymple and Tennant Families, c1794-1900.

Administrative / Biographical History

Agnes Hannah Tennant was born Agnes Hannah Gairdner in 1864. Daughter of Charles Gairdner, the manager of the Union Bank of Scotland, her life spans the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Born in Glasgow, she attended Queen Margaret College with her sister Edith between 1878 and 1879, taking classes in English Literature and Music. She was based at her father's residence in Broom until marrying William Augustus Tennant of the chemical company Charles Tennant & Sons between 1885 and 1887. After her marriage she relocated to Hallmore, Broxbourne, Hertfordshire where she had three children before moving to Orford House, Ugley, Essex by 1924.

This collection predominantly contains detailed personal diaries created by Agnes at various points in her life. The earliest is from her eighteenth year, and the latest, her sixty-first. The early diaries (1881-1885) provide an insight into her life in Glasgow in the 1880s, featuring multiple dances, her finances and reading, as well as travel throughout the UK and Europe. The later diaries (1887-1896) depict a young wife and mother of the late Victorian era, featuring the birth of her son, her husband's illness and subsequent surgery, charitable donations, attending performances in London and further travel. The final diary, created in 1924, contains correspondence from her adult children and grandchildren and features her relationship with her husband and further European travel.

The diaries are not arranged in chronological order.


Arrangement reflects original catalogue, which is not chronological. This arrangement was preserved to retain original numbering

Access Information

Access to records within this collection is open, however an appointment may be required. Please email Archives and Special Collections for advice:

Acquisition Information

Received prior to the introduction of formal accessioning procedures.

Deposited by H Tennant, Blairgowrie, 1974-1975.

Other Finding Aids

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents. Applications for permission to quote should be sent to Archives and Special Collections, please email:

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures.

Custodial History

The diaries came into the possession of the author's nephew H Tennant, who deposted them with Glasgow University Archive Services between 1974 and 1975.


None expected

Related Material

GB 248 UGD 132: Papers of Charles Gairdner, 1836-1892, banker, Glasgow, Scotland

GB 248 DC 233/1: Records of Queen Margaret College, Glasgow, 1883-1935, higher education institution, Glasgow, Scotland: Glasgow Association for the Higher Education of Women (1874-1897)

Location of Originals

This material is original