Comrie based charity Grace Notes Scotland has received support of £45,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an oral history project, The End of the Shift.
The aim is to record the experiences of folk who worked in past industries of Perthshire and East Fife, such as mills, dye-works, glass-works, factories, quarries and mines and to create a dedicated website as well as books and educational materials.
Workers who recall the ‘end of the shift’ or ‘the last whistle’ all have a story to tell, not only of their work, but also of a way of life now fast fading. As most folk who worked in these industries are now up in years, it is important to record them. Younger generations can be taught to record them and gain new skills as well as an understanding of their own local history and heritage.
Grace Notes Scotland would like to hear from those who worked in Perthshire and East Fife industries and anyone who would like to volunteers to help with the project. Grace Note Scotland will be running oral history workshops and training days, open to all who are interested. The first of these will be at the A.K. Bell Library in Perth, on 28 June from 2 till 4 pm. No previous experience is required, and all ages are welcome.
Speaking on behalf of the charity, Grace Notes Scotland’s Secretary Liz Elkind, said: “We’re delighted that Heritage Lottery has given their support to the project. Recognising the contributions made by a workforce once crucial to Perthshire and Fife is important, as is conserving their knowledge, skills and experiences. We are also very pleased that the Gannochy Trust has granted additional funding to produce books for general readership as well as education and research.
The project will be directed by Margaret Bennett, founder and Director of Grace Notes Scotland, who said: “By getting together a team of volunteers, we can create an archive of recordings, photographs and film clips that will be also be available on a special website. The material will also be available to museums and local history societies interested in preserving industrial heritage.”
Colin McLean, Head of HLF Scotland, said: “We are delighted to support this project as these people’s lives are inextricably woven into Scotland’s rich history. Sadly, it is an element which is in danger of disappearing as it slips out of human memory. This project will not only capture those vital memories but in doing so will give different sections of the community the opportunity to meet, forge new friendships and learn new skills. Together they can celebrate, and take pride in their past.”
Notes to Editors
Grace Notes Scotland is a Scottish charity set up for the advancement of Scottish heritage, education and culture (locally, nationally and internationally). Run by volunteers who are “dedicated to handing on tradition to new generations”, the organisation holds training workshops, contributes to school projects, carries out oral history projects, creates exhibitions dedicated to Scottish tradition, and traditional song weekends in Gaelic and Scots. Past projects included Perthshire Memories, an oral history, which produced a book and CD based on recorded interviews with more than eighty individual including shepherds, land-workers, housewives, trades and professional people. The database is now part of the A.K. Bell Archive as well as the School of Scottish Studies.