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Collection STB - William (Bill) Steel papers
Reports

Identity area

Reference code

GB235 STB

Title

William (Bill) Steel papers

Date(s)

  • 1893 - 1969 (Creation)

Level of description

Collection

Extent and medium

3 boxes, 60cm

Context area

Name of creator

Steel, William (Bill) (1910-1970)

Biographical history

Bill Steel was born around 1910, probably in Lanarkshire where his family were farmers. At some point the family ceased farming and moved to Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire.
In the mid to late 1920s Bill studied agriculture and horticulture at several locations including the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the West of Scotland Agricultural College.
Theer is some evidence that during the 1940s Bill ran a business from Musselburgh / Edinburgh involved in the supply of plants.
Bill married Eliza (Ella) Macleod Paton in the late 1940s and they eventually moved to Busby in Renfrewshire and ran a market garden and nursery. Around 1960, due to ill health, Bill gave this business up and he and his family moved to Longniddry in East Lothian. He maintained his interest in gardening and established a fine garden there, continuing to keep notes and diaries until close to his death - he died of leukaemia on 5th January 1970, aged around 61. Ella continued to tend their garden until her death in 2002.
The above, and further biographical information is from a biography written by Bill's grandson, Chris Ostler, who acquired Bill's papers on the death of his mother who was Bill's adopted daughter - the papers pertaining to agriculture / horticulture were donated to RBGE by Chris in February 2015.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

family

Content and structure area

Scope and content

3 boxes of archives including mainly cash books, diaries, pamphlets and lecture notes pertaining to Bill's time at RBGE:
Farm cash book, 1924-1930
Wm J Steel journal, 1893-1930 - Cash book?
Carbon copy correspondence book, 1938-1940 + blank book
lecture notes - properties of alpines -farmer's class, 1925-26 - cash book?; ledger accounts; general book keeping
Notebook - chrysanthemums and Dahlias
Envelope - old catalogues
Yellow plant list
lecture notes - surveying, agriculture, 1925-26, botany (Matthew Orr) 1934, Genetics (Dr Nelson) 1934
Account book 1908-1929
Pamphlets - West of Scotland Agricultural College - 100 common weeds, 47 poisonous plants; Ministry of Agriculture, red spider mite, pests and the breeding of grassland; Tables - making up pasture mixtures; home storage of apples and pears...
Commercial strawberry culture
bee keeping
recipes
lecture notes, botany
accounts, 1918-1925 - livestock
exercise book - tomatoes
lecture notes? ferns
automatic control - boiler
Scottish Beekeepers Association, 1932 and associated papers
notebook - strawberries
lecture notes, propagation - L.B. Stewart and pathology - Dr Wilson
Notebook - beekeeping
Ideas -practical and otherwise
Fruit Grower, Feb 1940 (Food production in wartime)
Cash ledger 1945-1949
cash book 1949-1956
large ledger 1950
bundle of papers - salesmanship
lecture notes - public parks, tomatoes
letter book 1907-1960s
39 assorted small notebooks / diaries

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

still to be appraised

Accruals

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

access limited until collection can be assessed

Conditions governing reproduction

permission required from RBGE

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Notes area

Note

RBGEA2015/28

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Description control area

Description identifier

STB

Institution identifier

GB 235

Rules and/or conventions used

Status

Level of detail

Partial

Dates of creation revision deletion

Description created in August 2019 from a list made in February 2015

Language(s)

Script(s)

Sources

Accession area

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