Research Collections


Papers of Robert Climie

Socialist, Trade Unionist and Labour MP

Reference codes, titles and dates of Archive

Reference Code: GB1847 RC
: Papers of Robert Climie
Date of Creation of material
: 1914 and 1929
Level of description
: Fonds
: 4 items

Biographical history

Name of Creator: Robert Climie.
Biographical history
: Robert (Bob) Climie was born in Kilmarnock, Scotland on 4th January 1868.  He was the son of Robert Climie (who is recorded as working as a coalminer, hammerman, bolt maker and a colliery fireman) and a bonnet knitter (Mary McGarvie).  Educated at the local School Board, Robert served his apprenticeship at the Britannia Works continuing with them as a journeyman.  Early in his career he became involved in trade union activity and joined the Independent Labour Party (ILP).

As part of his political activity he spoke at the ILP’s outdoor meetings against the Boer War and was first elected as a local ILP councillor in 1905, developing a particularl interest in public health and housing.

Nominated by Ayrshire Trades Council, Robert Climie was a member of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) Parliamentary Committee from 1910 to 1918 and 1920 to 1923.  He was the eighteenth STUC President in 1914 and was presented with a commemorative gong in honour of this position (now held as part of this Collection). Below are surviving photographs of Robert in his role at the Scottish Trades Union Congress (from STUC Archive). The first image is 1912 (front row far right), the middle image is 1918 (back row far right) and the final image is 1923 (middle row, 5th person).

STUC Parliamentary Committee 1912 STUC Parliamentary Committee 1918 STUC General Council 1923

In the 1923 General Election Robert was returned as Labour MP for Kilmarnock, having unsuccessfully contested the seat in 1922.  He was narrowly defeated in the 1924 General Election but won the seat back again in May 1929.

Robert was married to Jane [or Jeannie] McIldowie Meikle, also a Labour Party activist, and had a family of six sons and one daughter. He died on 3 October 1929 at the age of 61.

“…a small man of medium build, with dark hair and moustache, blue eyes and a fresh complexion.  He was moderate in all things, always hard-working in the labour cause and a lifelong supporter of Ramsay MacDonald.” (Kilmarnock Standard, October 1929)

Archival history: Retained by family member.
Immediate source of acquisition:
Donated by family member, September 2004.

What is in the Archive

Scope and Content abstract: This small collection is made up of four items; three paper items and one artefact.

  • Commemorative gong presented to Robert Climie from the STUC in 1914

Commemorative gong presented to Robert Climie from the STUC in 1914 Commemorative gong presented to Robert Climie from the STUC in 1914

  • Handwritten letter from Ramsay MacDonald (The Hillocks, Lossiemouth), 2 January? 1929
  • Typed and signed letter from Ramsay MacDonald (10 Downing Street), 23 September 1929
  • Newspaper cutting "Robert Climie: a tribute" (obituary) by William Stewart

Appraisal, Destruction and Scheduling Information: This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 1847 procedures.
Accrual: None expected. 
System of Arrangement: The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received.

Getting & using the Archive

Conditions Governing Access:  Open by arrangement with the Archivist.
Copyright/Conditions Governing Reproduction: Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.
Language of Material: English.
Physical Characteristics: Paper items fragile and commemorative gong requires specialist handling.
Finding Aids: Handlist to item level.

Other collections of similar subject matter

Location of Originals: This material is original.
Existence of Copies:
No known copies.
Related units of description
:  Research Collections holds various archives and collections which deal with subjects covered by this Archive. Related archives include -

Further details of related material can be found on the appropriate links page.

Publication note: None to date.

Archive contact

Carole McCallum (University Archivist)
Telephone - +44 (0)141 273 1188
Email -  

Notes relating to the preparation of this description

Description Compilation Details: Compiled by Carole McCallum, University Archivist, 24 November 2008.

Last Updated: 18 August, 2009
Edited by:

Robert Climie in 1923