The Beshara Trust Archive

In November 2010 Lyndon Antle volunteered his services as Archivist to the Beshara Trust, to initiate a working archive from the 40 years of records that had been preserved. In January 2011 he was co-opted as a Trustee for a two year period to establish this project. Contact was made with the Borders Archive at the Hub in Hawick, and supportive links formed with the Scottish National Council on Archives.

There are a substantial number of Beshara records held in various places, many at Chisholme, dating back to the earliest years of Swyre Farm. Over 400 items have thus far been recorded. These include material on the first Trustees; the purchase of Swyre Farm; Sherborne House and the Chisholme estate; and courses held over the years. There are also documents relating to developments such as Beshara Publications, Beshara Press, Beshara Crafts, Beshara Frilford, and the Beshara magazines, plus a plethora of other material marking the passage of the decades of activity since the founding of the Beshara Trust in November 1971.

The archive has already received donations of private papers, including correspondence among Bulent Rauf, his friends and students. The Trust recognizes that there is a special responsibility to preserve these.

Establishing such an Archive on the foundations of this material is not merely about a record of the past but is also an inspiration for us and for future generations. In time, the archive may prove to be a wonderful resource with a value and function we cannot at this time imagine.

Any contributions of documents, pictures or other media (e.g. audiovisual recordings) would be gratefully received, and will be held with every consideration for privacy and respect for any requests concerning confidentiality, access and use by third parties.

This is the first in a series of interviews that chart the early history of Beshara. Shamsuddin Antle, the Beshara Archivist, speaks about the purpose of the Archive, as well as his memories of the beginnings of Beshara at Swyre Farm and the connections with the Salisbury Centre in Edinburgh.