From August 2017 to March 2019, the Place, Work and Folk project captured a huge slice of the farmhouse and local people’s history in Bridgend. These were stories that might otherwise have been lost. It was an honour to work with around 25 extraordinarily dedicated and talented volunteers, and as many compelling and unforgettable interviewees, to record these magnificent stories and create a collective legacy to this community.
You can now read our Place, Work and Folk booklet here, listen to our interviews on SoundCloud at BridgendPWF and in our audio gallery, visit our wonderfully quirky mini museum and the stunning Timeline mosaic upstairs in the farmhouse, explore our growing vintage photos archive, view our films, and gain a strong sense of the local identity. We’ve held memorable gatherings and workshops throughout the project. We’ve worked with primary and secondary schoolchildren, older people, nearby and former residents, artists, storytellers (including some who don’t realise they are), musicians, local historians, heritage curators and librarians, students, retired and unemployed folk, professionals in health, community development, social work and education - but most of all, with Bridgend folk, both current and former, who have responded with greater generosity than we could ever have anticipated.
For many, we hear, our work has brought about a deeper sense of connection and community, and that means so much to us. You can see hear some of our participants’ reflections in this short video of our final celebration event.
I hope to stay connected with the Bridgend community, and I know that many history volunteers will want to stay involved here too. There is so much more history to be gathered, and there is a lot we didn’t have time to do. So if you have stories, memorabilia, film or photo material to share with us, it isn’t too late. Contact the farmhouse. And please visit the website and archives to make use of all we have gathered and created. It wasn’t only about the history – it’s about the roots that underpin and nurture new growth, as you can see in the restored farmhouse and its flourishing community today.
With thanks to our funders, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and to all of our partners, contributors and volunteers, too many to name here - our gratitude is never-ending, and so is the importance of this unique story.
Carol Stobie, Project Officer, Place, Work and Folk Project from 2017 to 2019.
After our busiest month ever last month - smashing our occupancy and financial targets, and having over 1,000 people through our doors between projects, events and other users of the building , we are now winding down from what has been an incredible year.
We are the first charity in Scotland to transition from a charity (SCIO) to a community benefit society with charitable status (CBS). This has allowed people to become part-owners of the Farmhouse and allowed us to raise over £70,000, an incredible amount which will ensure a strong start for the New Year ahead as well as ensuring we complete the kitting out the building.
We have seen our average weekly numbers rise from 50-100 to over 400 on weeks when we hold an event.
We have hosted major events and staff away days for key Edinburgh based charities such as the Welcoming, Crisis, Inspiring Scotland, Thistle Foundation, Positive Realities, Slow Food Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland, The Real Junk Food Project Edinburgh, Lone Fathers Edinburgh, the Orchard Project, to name but a few. We were part of the Tradfest, Power of Food Festival and International Storytelling Festival and held many other events for locals throughout the year.
We have hosted a funeral tea for 120; a christening; a 70th birthday party; children’s parties; pop-up dinners and have 2 weddings and a hen party (daytime!) now booked for next year. Come us speak to us, if you would like to discuss any events or celebrations we could host for you. All packages are bespoke.
We have also held a range of learning activities on site from Spoon Carving to Chair Making, Permaculture, Foraging, Natural Cosmetics, Cafe training skills, Up-cycling, Cooking, Pizza making, Oatcake making, Oral History gathering, Lime pointing, Arts and Crafts workshops and summer programmes with free workshops for families featuring mosaics, animation and more.
Over the year we have run the building supported by over 80 volunteers offering food projects, history sessions, and welcoming visiting groups like the Dirty Weekenders, student volunteers, international visitors and local folks. All of which couldn’t happen without local support. If you fancy getting involved next year, we have a host of new plans – watch for more information in our January newsletter.
Our main projects...
Come Dine with Us has run for 2 terms this year, feeding local folks, as well as ensuring 14 volunteers gained qualifications and skills working under a professional chef.
The Place, Work and Folk project has gathered oral history from over 30 locals, worked with schools, and held major events. All of which will culminate in events early next year which will highlight their marvellous work over the last 18 months.
Our Drop-ins on Wednesday and Sundays have been busy and productive with a steady stream of new volunteers coming to take part in a wide variety of activities which have all helped us to achieve great things on site.
Our Acorn Fund has kick-started a youth outdoor group; a singing group; medicinal dahl classes, a wormery build and a drumming group. Coming in the New Year - a guitar group and woodwork group.
It’s been an incredible year, but more importantly, we want to say a huge thank you to all our supporters, partners, member/shareholders and of course our wonderful volunteers and wish everyone the best for the festive season and for a fantastic 2019.
Merry Christmas from all of us here at Bridgend Farmhouse.
You’ve maybe heard about our Place, Work and Folk community oral history project.
Over the past year and a bit, our 20 volunteers have been interviewing, researching and gathering wonderful living memories, from dozens of local folk who recall the working farm and the community around it (1940s-1990s). They’ve brought it all vividly back to life for us and I can’t thank them, or our amazingly dedicated volunteers, enough.
It’s been a joy, a privilege, an honour – sometimes also a host of surprises, a flurry of unexpected outcomes and a hoot! Now it’s time to present it all back to you, and to establish an archive that community groups and learners of all ages can engage with and take inspiration from in the future.
We’re creating a booklet with photographs, excerpts from our interviews, features on the wider story of the farm (putting the farmers themselves at centre stage), a full account of our project activities, public events, school workshops and much more. There will be a film featuring the Darlings, the Binnies and other key interviewees, a full range of Soundcloud recordings and soundbites, plus a marvellous mini-museum upstairs featuring our exhibition, creative displays and all our tales from the past. And wait till you see our Mosaic Timeline of Bridgend! All to be launched this February.
Contact me for more information - we hope you’ll want to visit us and make use of all we’ve collected. Heritage Lottery Fund have generously funded us up to the end of February, but our legacy will live on in all kinds of activities and creations - well into the future.
Mobile (Monday-Thursday): 07976 882038 (on leave 20 Dec-13 Jan)
We’ve had more animation workshops this summer – see our SuperPig classic!… plus a masterclass in traditional oatcake-making (messy but tasty)… more interviewing of locals with remarkable recollections (stay tuned for more additions to BridgendPWF on Soundcloud… a doubling-down on our editing of existing recordings… the start of plans for a November gathering, Our Changing City (24-25 November - contact me if you’re curious!), setting up workshops with Castlebrae Community High School… further workshops towards our Mosaic Timeline, based on Greater Liberton Heritage Project’s incredible research… and preparing for Doors Open Day on 30 September - we can’t wait to see you there for late 50s/early 60s treats, games and other entertainments, featuring extracts from our informants’ most youthful escapades!
Our volunteers can highly recommend The National Museum of Rural Life, where we got a much clearer sense of how things might have looked at Bridgend in the days of the piggery and of the dairy farm. We loved the Tamworth pigs, the Clydesdale horses, the rare hens (we didn’t check whether they had teeth), petite Ayrshire cattle and a splendid farm cat. They do a fine soup at the café, and the museum is so good we need to go back for further study. But maybe the tractor trip up to the old farmhouse was the best of all, close to milking time and with the opportunity to handle vintage baking implements, wax nostalgic at the retro furnishings throughout the meticulously-preserved house (donated by the Reid family in the 1990s) and chat to superb, dedicated volunteers like George – who were most interested to hear all about Bridgend! Many thanks to Marion Lawton for our educational visit at no charge, and to the wonderful Venchie for minibus transport!
There are new volunteers still joining us and a trip to Whitmuir Organic Farm coming up on 4th September, many events and projects to plan for, plus the usual Tuesday evening meetings at 6pm. We can give you great things to do - join us for more adventures!
Carol.firstname.lastname@example.org. Mob: 07976 882038
Carol and some of our PW&F group visiting the National Farming Museum