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
We’re up to 17 history volunteers! This superb team have been carrying out more brilliant interviews. Recently we learnt first-hand how roses were grown at the nursery that used to be here, from Margaret Lowrey, who worked there with her husband. We’re also putting on a series of summertime Family Workshops: How to Record Family Oral History Memories, How to Make a Radio Podcast Interview, Make Art into Animation (using our oral history as inspiration), Make a Mosaic (turning a Bridgend timeline into art - thanks to the researches of Greater Liberton Heritage Group!) and Make the Best Oatcakes (frugal, healthy, delicious)!
The history group are also leading on Doors Open Day (30 Sept), our Storytelling Festival event in partnership with Bridgend Growing Communities (28 Oct) and an exciting autumn weekend gathering/celebration, Our Changing City, with the Patrick Geddes Centre (24-25 November). This last one will look at the role oral history, identify and culture can play in the community development of land and assets today, and will include the outcomes of this project. We hope you’ll want to get involved in all of these.
Not to mention planning for our final publication, digital map, film and mini-museum… phew! Come along on Tuesdays, 6 pm at the Farmhouse to meet us.
Carol.email@example.com. Mob: 07976 882038
Reaching the halfway mark in this project is the perfect moment to pause and reflect.
When we launched Place, Work and Folk with our Heritage Lottery funding last September, we little realised quite how hectic it was going to get by springtime. Thank goodness we had by then recruited more than a dozen volunteers, who had carried out a dozen interviews and several reminiscence groups, before we found ourselves up to our necks in preparations for the Bridgend farmhouse opening day.
I like to think we contributed quite a lot to that, from an exhibition of vintage and recent photos of groups and interviewees we’d worked with, to architect Malcolm Fraser’s compelling talk on his Deere Street researches, to a well-attended Farmhouse Memories event - featuring Bridgend’s last farmers, the Darlings, the Binnie brothers who grew up around the farm in its previous generation, and Bridgend local Mai Smith.
The memories were compelling and the exchanges with the audience during Q & A were stimulating and sometimes cheeky! Watching Harry and Doris, along with Will, declare the farmhouse open that evening was a thrilling and very moving moment, with a tear in more than one eye… We shouldn’t underestimate just what it means to people that this place has been brought back to life in such a glorious way.
The history project participants feel the depth of this, the responsibility for portraying and paying tribute to the many interviewees who have shared generously with us - it’s nothing less than a privilege to do this work. There is much still to do, so please come and take part if you’re inclined… You will be welcomed with open arms.