Warm welcome for special visitor to Watt Institution

Staff at the Watt Institution were delighted to welcome a special guest to view their archives recently.

Cat Berry is the great great-granddaughter of the prominent Scottish artist, Sir Noel Paton (1821-1901), who was related to the former librarian of the Watt Library, Allan Park Paton.

Allan Park Paton (died 1905) served as Librarian for around 25 years and was responsible for the Pre-Raphaelite stained glass windows in the Old West Kirk. Allan also lived at the Watt Library during his incumbency.

Joseph Noel Paton, known as Noel, later became a Sir. He was born in Dunfermline on 13 December 1821 and died on 26 December 1901. He was an artist, illustrator and sculptor and was very well-known across Scotland.

Allan was related to Noel Paton and each referred to the other in letters as ‘cousin’.

Cat visited the Watt Institution to view a scrapbook in the archives called the Pmalder Album, which was compiled by Allan Park Paton. The name of the album spells red lamp backwards, a nod to the house where Allan Paton lived in Greenock.

It contains many drawings and small artworks by artists such as Norman Macbeth and Noel Paton, among others.

It is deemed as a very important piece of work and Inverclyde Archives were able to purchase it for their collection following a grant from the Friends of National Libraries.

Councillor Jim Clocherty, convener of the Education and Communities Committee, said: “The Pmalder Album is one of several important pieces of work telling the rich and vibrant history of Greenock and Inverclyde which is stored in Inverclyde Archives.

“I’m delighted Cat Berry visited the Watt Institution to view the album, and was also able to meet local researcher Margaret Kane, who has been looking into the history of Allan Park Paton for many years.

“Every year we welcome visitors from across Inverclyde and beyond to the Watt Institution to see for themselves the fantastic collection we have here.

“I hope this will encourage other people to visit the Watt Institution and Inverclyde Archives to see the many other interesting items which are held there.”

For more information about Inverclyde Archives and the Watt Institution, click on the link in the right hand column.