Scranalogue

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Women’s Voices from the Scottish Borders

November 16, 2015 by User deactivated | 0 comments

Remembering domestic servants, shorthand typists, cinema pianists and suffragettes: new soundbites from the Ian Landles Oral History Archive

We’re releasing some more soundbites from the Ian Landles Oral History Archive this week. This time we’re showcasing the stories of women from the Scottish Borders.

You’ll hear from Mrs Oliver (b.1901) about her experiences as a pianist working in cinemas in Hawick – ‘The Piv’ and ‘The Wee Thee’ – providing the soundtrack for silent movies. Mrs Oliver also worked as a shorthand typist and she talks about this in a second soundbite. We learn how she perfected her shorthand by sitting in the back of church during services and noting down the sermons.

Other women talk about their memories of the suffrage movement in the years leading up to the First World War. Mrs Stewart (b.1881) remembers suffragettes coming to Hawick and Mrs Thomson tells us how the activists gained a reputation amongst the locals: ‘they come to burn hooses doon’.

A number of women in the Borders worked in service in the early 20th century at the many country houses and estates across the region. Catherine McLeish (b.1902) and Meg Wilson (b.1893) share their experiences.

Follow us on Twitter and watch our Twitterfeed from tomorrow to catch these soundbites.

The Ian Landles Archive is a series of interviews and sound recordings collected by local historian Ian Landles between the 1960s and 2010. The collection, originally started in order to preserve the memories of local men who had fought in World War One, also contains testimonies from local women and material on The Hawick Common Riding, poetry, music, the railways, farming life and mill life. The original full interviews are held on audio cassette tape by Scottish Borders Council Archive Services at the Heritage Hub in Hawick. To listen to all interviews from the Ian Landles Archive currently held on Scran click here.

Images © Aberdeen City Council, Hulton Getty, Dalmellington & District Conservation Trust | Licensor Scran

#clickhear Celebrating the Borders Railway

September 8, 2015 by User deactivated | 0 comments

Scran is marking two important events this month with a new audio Twitter campaign #clickhear.

Working with our partners, Scottish Borders Council Archive Service, we are currently uploading highlights from a newly hosted oral history collection – The Ian Landles Archive – onto our website. And to celebrate this and the historic reopening of the Borders Railway we are Tweeting out free soundbites with a railway flavour this month, offering a taster of some of the fascinating testimonies from Borders folk now available as Scran records.

Memories of working as drivers and firemen on the old Waverley Route, the sadness of seeing old engines go off for scrap, remembering the steam from the trains dirtying washing drying on the line.  These are just a few titbits from our soundbites which began on 6th September and will be Tweeted daily until 15th September.

Armistice Memories

September 1, 2015 by User deactivated | 0 comments

‘London was fair heaving, perfectly heaving’

We’ve got a new interview from the Ian Landles Archive (© Scottish Borders Council Archive Service) uploaded and live on Scran with a full summary. And it’s an exciting one! Former railwayman, George Cairns, born in the Scottish Borders in 1899 and interviewed by Ian Landles in 1981, shares his memories of working as a porter and then a signalman on the Borders Railways. He also relates his vivid memories of the eleventh of November 1918.

soldier World War One

Before joining the railways, Mr Cairns signed up for the army. This was in the last year of the First World War and Mr Cairns was sent to train in Surrey. He never saw active service because he was struck down with ‘flu during the epidemic of 1918. As he recuperated in hospital in Lewisham in London, the Armistice was signed. To celebrate, Mr Cairns was allowed to leave hospital with his pal and travel up into London. He witnessed the crowds, got plenty of attention in his military uniform and made his way through the ‘heaving’ throng of The Strand and right up to the gates of Buckingham Palace where he read the historic proclamation declaring the Armistice which had been pinned there. He also saw King George V and Princess Mary as they paraded through the streets in their carriage.

It’s a fascinating story and well worth a listen. You can access the full interview with George Cairns here and find out more about the Ian Landles  Archive on Scran here.

And railway fans, watch out for our upcoming @scranlife Twitter campaign for The Ian Landles Archive launched to coincide with the reopening of the Borders Railway on 6th September. It’s coming soon #IanLandlesArchive #clickhear.

Image © National Library of Scotland, Cheering Soldiers, Western Front, 11 November 1918. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk

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