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The Highland Games Centre is the home of the Braemar Royal Highland Society Archive - a collection of documents, books and photographs that together tell the history of the Society and the Braemar Gathering.


Braemar Royal Highland Society (BRHS) was founded in 1815, and the oldest documents in the archive date from the following year. The archive’s completeness is astonishing, especially when you consider that BRHS had no dedicated premises until 1959 and has always been run by volunteers. It is the oldest surviving friendly society in the country, and celebrated its bicentenary - 200 years of existence - in 2015.


The archive includes minute books dating back to 1819, lists of members and their subscriptions from the 1820s onwards, prizes awarded at the Braemar Gathering beginning with the very first in 1832, early account books, Gathering programmes, a complete set of Gathering Books from 1924 to the present day, correspondence from illustrious patrons and vice-patrons, photographs of the Gathering dating back to the 1890s and much more.


Researchers in the fields of Scottish traditional sports, piping, Highland dancing, the Royal Family and friendly/mutual benefit societies may all find material of interest in the BRHS archive, as well as those interested in local Deeside/Aberdeenshire history or those with relatives who have competed at the Gathering.


Items from the archive form part of the main exhibition in the exhibition hall, as well as appearing in a regularly updated display in the Baxter Room.

An archive catalogue is currently being prepared, and will be available in the coming months.

Please contact us in advance of your visit if you wish to consult other items from the archive in person - charges may apply. Some material may be closed for data protection or confidentiality reasons.

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