About Us

IMG_7066After meeting at work in the Heritage Sector, Karen and Rachael’s friendship blossomed over a love of tea and old stuff. Both women have a huge amount of passion for the celebration and promotion of Scottish heritage, culture & history. On this blog you will find; interviews of interesting people, photographs of interesting things, and anything else we fancy, always with a focus on history. All thoughts expressed on this blog are our own.

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Email: TheHistoryGirlsScotland@gmail.com   Twitter: @HistoryGirlsAye  Instagram: @HistoryGirlsAye


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Karen Mailley-Watt has an MA Joint (Hons) and an MLitt in Decorative Arts & Design History from the University of Glasgow. Until October 2016 Karen was the Heritage & Outreach Officer for Glasgow City Heritage Trust (GCHT) and Head Organiser of the Gilded Age Project at GCHT. She can normally be found with Rachael hanging around historic sites, gothic graveyards or schmoozing at exhibitions. Or dog walking, she also likes to walk dogs.

About Karen’s PhD Research: Glasgow Girls Revisited is an interdisciplinary project that will encompass archival research; material culture analysis of extant artefacts and building decoration; and, as appropriate, experiential learning through replication of craft and artisanal practices. The proposed research will consider the broad communities of production of industrial design in Glasgow over the period 1888-1938, and investigate the place of women in these businesses as both designers and makers (and in some instances owners and managers). 

Rachael Purse has an MA (hons) in History and an MSc in Museum Studies, both from the University of Glasgow.  Rachael is a positive thinking and confident woman who is passionate about the celebration and dissemination of heritage and history.  Rachael will try her hand at anything, from  repointing lime mortar to database creation, all done with a can-do attitude which she hopes would make Rosie the Riveter proud.

Rachael was Co-Organiser of the Gilded Age Project alongside Karen at GCHT, the Glasgow’s Gilded Age 1864-1914 Project celebrates the architecture, art and design of the city in this period.

About Rachael’s PhD Research: In May 2016 Rachael was lucky enough to be successful in her application for The Glasgow School of Art  (GSA)’Bringing Back the Mack’ PhD Scholarship, funded by the GSA and Historic Environment Scotland. Rachael will be recording and providing critical reflection on the restoration process, as well as the changing use of space within the building and contemporary conservation practices and ethics. It is a real privilege to be able to contribute to this vast project in real-time, working alongside such a skilled multi-disciplinary team.

 The History Girls also  sometimes make appearances on STV Glasgow’s Riverside Show and The People’s History Show, presenting segments on the more obscure aspects of Glasgow’s rich history. 


Glasgow’s Victorian and Edwardian Swimming Baths, Glasgow City Heritage Trust, public lecture with question and answer session. (2014)

Stained Glass in Glasgow: Colour and Light, Glasgow City Heritage Trust, public lecture with question and answer session. (2015)

 It’s All About Alf: An Introduction to Alf Webster Windows, Alf Webster: Glasgow’s Lost Genius Conference, Websters Theatre (formerly Lansdowne Church) in Glasgow. (2015)

Penny for the Boatman, walking tour of Glasgow’s Necropolis. (2015)

HERstory: Influential Women of Glasgow’s Southside, public heritage talk at House for an Art Lover. (2017)

HERstory: Influential Women of Glasgow, public heritage talk for Doors Open Day at St. Andrews in the Square. (2017)


Fivers, Footnotes & Frivolous Language: Women and Scottish History, The Drouth, Issue 58, published Spring 2017.

Women and the Scottish past and present – how do we properly pay homage and why?: This article can be found on Bella Caledonia, published in August 2016.

Govanhill Baths: Architecture Essay: This essay was commissioned for inclusion in United We Will Swim: 100 Years of Govanhill Baths, published by Luath Press in March 2015.