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.
Place, Work and Folk community history project is going from strength to strength. We were thrilled to be one of the central features of Bridgend’s Launch Party on 24 March, and to meet so many of you there! Our history volunteers hosted an exhibition featuring photography and audio recordings of our interviewees, our volunteer meetings and training, plus Reminiscence Gatherings.
You can hear many of our latest recordings on Soundcloud.
Also centre stage were products of our recent series of Niddrie Mill Primary School workshops, where we taught oral history interviewing and led arts activities inspired by the memories collected. Two collages of the brilliant P5 children’s artwork were the first ever art display to be held in the restored farmhouse and have restored cows and pigs back to the farm!
Please note - we’re looking for more local schools to offer our ready-made workshops in oral history interviewing, animation art and mosaic.
Volunteers also created a wonderful display of vintage pictures scanned from our interviewees’ kindly shared originals. Our work even inspired a poem, Time and Bridgend by local writer Johnni Stanton, read by him at the opening and shared with all who asked for a copy.
Our next steps are: