Caird Library and Archive Open Day

Coronavirus reopening

Visitor notice: All of our sites have reopened and we can't wait to welcome you back. All visitors will need to book a ticket in advance. Find out how we're keeping you safe

Essential information

Date and time: 
20 July | 11am - 4pm
Voyagers gallery, Caird Library & Archive

The Caird Library is opening its doors and waiving the need for readers’ tickets for our annual Open Day. 

Come along and discover the hidden treasures in the world’s greatest maritime library and archive. 

Highlights of our diverse collections will be on display, which include an English spy book from 1582, letters from Phillip II relating to the Spanish Armada of 1588, plus Cutty Sark documents and material concerning Astronomy and the moon.  

Further items include a watercolour of the Cutty Sark by the accomplished maritime artist Pelham Jones (1890-1950). This fine watercolour has never before been placed on public display. 

Also featured is a rare folio containing representations of the Armada tapestry hangings, a visual story of battle between the Spanish and English fleets. The folio contains depictions of the engravings by John Pine of the original tapestries.  The large original tapestries made by the weaver Francis Spierincx of Brussels were commissioned by Lord Howard of Effingham (1536-1624)  Spierincx commenced work on the tapestries in 1592, they were delivered to Howard in 1595, Howard eventually sold the tapestries to James I.  The tapestries were re-located in 1650 to the House of Lords, however on the night of 16 October 1834 a fire broke out, the fire quickly took hold, soon the flames swept through the House of Lords, this was the largest London fire until the Great Fire of 1666.  When firefighters arrived in force, the House of Lords and various other nearby buildings had been completely destroyed.  All the tapestries were lost, except one which was stolen shortly before the fire, the whereabouts and fate of this tapestry remain unknown to this day.

Talk with staff about our remarkable documents and learn how to start researching your own seafaring ancestors. Or find out about our curators’ personal picks from the map collection, and our captivating assortment of prints and drawings.

Younger visitors will have a chance to handle a selection of objects relating to our new Endeavour galleries.

Come aboard and be inspired by maritime history.