Collins McKay Collection


Reference Code

GB243 T/SOR/32


Collins McKay Collection

Dates of Creation



1 archive box

Name of Creators

Collins McKay

Level of Description


Administrative History

Collins McKay was born in Possilpark Glasgow in 1950. His family had been involved in key working class struggles including the rent strikes and the development of the Independent Labour party. He left school at 14 and worked in a variety of jobs, including a spell in the army. During the late 1970s, he was an active member of Garthamlock Claimants Union and went on to work in community development in Glasgow’s east end. He went to university in 1995 at the age of 45 and gained a first class honours degree from the University of Strathclyde. His honours thesis was based on the autobiography of John McKinnon, a Glasgow weaver, who was involved in the Radical War of 1820. The thesis focuses on the development of class-consciousness amongst the weavers and their involvement in creating a union within the militia. He then went on to study for a PHD and his thesis ‘The Political Life of the Duke of Queensberry and the Act of Union of 1707’ was published by Cambria Press, New York. He passed away in October 2019, you can read an obituary of him here:

Scope and Content

The collection contains research papers and publications relating to Collins McKay’s honour’s thesis and a copy of the thesis.

System of Arrangement

Arranged by record type.

Custodial History

Material collected by Collins McKay and passed to Spirit of Revolt.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collins McKay

Appraisal, Destruction, Scheduling

Appraised according to the Spirit of Revolt appraisal policy.


Further accruals expected.

Access Conditions


Copyright Reproduction

Application for reproduction should be made to the Spirit of Revolt group.

Existence of Copies

No known copies.

Finding Aids

Descriptive list available at Glasgow City Archives and on the Spirit of Revolt website.

Publication Note

No known publications.

Related collections

Other Spirit of Revolt (Ref: T/SOR) collections held at Glasgow City Archives.

Date(s) of Description

Complied by Nicola Maksymuik (Project Archivist), October 2015



Honours thesis


An Analysis of the Autobiography of John McKinnon, A Glasgow Weaver-1802-1868. Collins McKay.



Draft of first chapter of honours thesis


Research papers



Handwritten research notes


Annotated copy of the McKinnon text, on which the thesis is based, from Glasgow city archives.



Copies of documents mainly about the weavers and the radical war from other archives including Glasgow University pecial Collections, Paisley Archive, Blair Atholl Archive and SRO (General Register). Some copies annotated with research notes.





Pamphlet- The Miner’s Next Step: Being a Suggested Scheme for the Reorganisation of the Federation. Issued by the Unofficial Reform Committee.



A catalogue of some labour records in Scotland and some Scots records outside Scotland. Compiled and edited by Ian MacDougall, Scottish Labour History Society. Read on line.