Monday, 31 October 2011


Today is our Halloween Party in The Custom House in Greenock, and we'll share lots of photos with you later in the week. Thanks again to Riverside Inverclyde for letting us loose in there...

Two treats today...

Our new Halloween booklet, produced by pupils from Lady Alice Primary and Highlanders Academy...

A Highland Halloween

And The Galoshans Play chapbook for you to stage your own play.

The Galoshans Play

Thursday, 13 October 2011

St Stephen's - Graphic Novel Page

It's been full steam ahead on our Graphic Novel, here's a wee preview of St Stephen's take on an episode from Newark Castle's dark past. Don't get on the wrong side of Sir Patrick Maxwell.

Right now we're also getting ready for our traditional Halloween celebrations, with pupils from Lady Alice Primary School and Highlanders Academy. We'll be sharing some traditional halloween recipes with you all next week.

The party is going to take place in one of Greenock's most important historic buildings, The Custom House; our local Urban Regeneration Company, Riverside Inverclyde, have very kindly agreed to let us host the party there. And of course, as we all know, The Custom House is home to quite a few uneasy who knows what could happen.

And to help you enjoy your own traditional Greenock Halloween, here's a wee copy of The Galoshans Play.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

National Poetry Day - Greenock by William Wordsworth

To celebrate National Poetry Day, we are publishing poems all day across our different blogs.

The Identity project is all about people passing through Greenock, some staying with their traditions and stories, others moving on elsewhere. Someone who passed through Greenock on his "Highland Tour" was the Romantic poet, William his short stay, here is what he had to say about the town...


We have not passed into a doleful City,
We who were led to-day down a grim dell,
By some too boldly named “the Jaws of Hell”
Where be the wretched ones, the sights for pity?
These crowded streets resound no plaintive ditty
As from the hive where bees in summer dwell,
Sorrow seems here excluded; and that knell,
It neither damps the gay, nor checks the witty.
Alas! too busy Rival of old Tyre,
Whose merchants Princes were, whose decks were thrones;

Soon may the punctual sea in vain respire
To serve thy need, in union with that Clyde
Whose nursling current brawls o’er mossy stones,
The poor, the lonely, herdsman’s joy and pride.

Monday, 26 September 2011

A Graphic What?

One of the project outputs for identity, is to produce 5000 copies of a 64 page "graphic novel", presenting historical stories and personal heritage back to the community in a way that has not been tried before locally. But what is a "graphic novel"? Is it just a grown up comic? A posh way of saying "cartoon strips"?

Well, here's just one online definition..
"A story whose narrative is related through a combination of text and art, often in comic-strip form." You can read just one of the many histories of the art form here.

Often, comics and graphic novels are assoicated with superheroes, but the form has often been used to tell historical stories, Art Spiegelman's "Maus" explores the horror of the holocaust, with the Jewish characters drawn as mice and the Nazi's as cats; Frank Miller's explosive retelling of the 300 Spartans, "300" turned historical characters into superheroes; and more recently Bryan Talbot's "Alice in Sunderland" is a personal journey through the history and traditions of Northumberland..complete with a Jabberwocky and Sid James. All great, all worth a read.

Many schools of course now recognise the value of visual storytelling and have graphic novels as part of the reading curriculum or in the school library. Most public libraries have had them on the shelves for years. It can be a way to encourage reading, or just as importantly, a completely different way to read altogether, enjoying the fusion of words and images, seeing how one influences the other.

We aren't creating our "graphic novel" and hoping someone snaps up the film rights, but we do feel it is a new way to tell the stories of this area, and a way to reach audiences who maybe have not been interested before.

Six Inverclyde schools have already started researching their stories and preparing their pages; the page above is from St John's Primary School Port Glasgow. We'll be posting more preview pages and character sketches over the next few months as well as some exclusive online content.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Get Involved - Volunteer Session 22 September

Since Identity was first announced back in May, we have had loads of folk come forward to offer their skills to help on the project...some have already started helping us.

Over the last few weeks, our focus has been on getting the schools programme up and running...which it is...and going like a wee train. We'll share some of that with you later in the week. What we want to do now is give all our potential volunteers the chance to find out more about the programme and let us know when / how they would like to be involved.

So we've invited anyone who has expressed an interest in the project to come along to an information day tomorrow at 7 1/2 John Wood Street, 10 - 12.

But maybe you didnt get the memo...maybe you think the project sounds really cool and meant to ring for more info a few weeks ago, but never found the time. No problem! Pop along tomorrow and we'll have a chat. It's never too late to get involved. The project has a whole lot of things to do, we need volunteers.

What would you like to do? There’s opportunities around research / archiving, media production, performance, writing and event management (though not all at once!) and some of these will have training elements delivered through James Watt College.

If you can't make it tomorrow, you can ring anytime on 01475 806760, or contact our Project Manager Kay Clark by email on

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Doors Open Day 2011

Photo from McLean Museum

This weekend as part of the marvellous Doors Open Days in Inverclyde, we are working with Riverside Inverclyde at The Custom House in Greenock. In addition to the tours around the building being organised by RI, visitors will have the opportunity to watch a new short film about the Identity project and meet with project staff to find out how to get involved.
You can also find us at Port Glasgow Town Hall on Saturday, where we are premiering our documentary on the Comet Rebuilt project. The short film looks at the history of The Comet and the refurbishment of the 50 year old replica at Ferguson Shipbuilders over the last year. The film will be showing from 10 - 2 on Saturday only.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Trust at The Tall Ships

You can find out more about Identity, volunteer to get involved, see some classic old Inverclyde footage and also snag some books from our previous heritage projects by coming along to The Trust's tent at Tall Ships Greenock. We are in the covered marquee area at the McDonalds end of the site on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

In the meantime, enjoy this wee folk classic from our house band Ard Amas, who will be selling their new cd at Tall Ships over the weekend. "Bonnie Ship The Diamond".

Bonnie Ship the Diamond by The Trust (Inverclyde)

Friday, 1 July 2011

Fair Friday!

To celebrate a grand old local tradition, here's some tunes linked to the themes of our project...bit of Led Zep, some White Stripes, Imagined Village...all good. Have a nice weekend!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Greenock Old and New

Check out this excellent photo blog from Chris Bradley; side by side comparison of Greenock photographs as published by Eugene Mehat taken in the '60s with their current locations taken by "Grianaig". Showing the dramatic changes in the town in a relatively short time. 
Greenock Old and New Project (now with added Gourock) Brammer.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Identity Folk Night : Reely Jiggered

Reely Jiggered have been causing a stir nationally with their incredible blend of Traditional and Contemporary Music.

The dynamic three piece ceilidh band formed in 2008 has already made their mark having played in many venues including Hafton Castle, The Tall Ship Glenlee, Gig on the Green, Glasgow University Union and performing for the Royal Scottish Academy of Music Ball, Cultural Events for the Egyptian and Bangladeshi communities, as well as weddings, birthdays, corporate and charity events. Their fresh and lively approach to Traditional music is innovative, incorporates many ethnic styles and appeals to a large audience.

Not only has the band been hailed a success, but the individual members themselves are successful soloists. Between them, the three members have performed throughout the UK, Europe and America. Such events include: the Opening of the Scottish Parliament, BBC Proms in the Park, appearances on Spanish, Mexican and Bangladeshi Television as well as broadcasts on Radio MOD, BBC Scotland and BBC Radio 3. 

You can see Reely Jiggered perform at the Inverclyde Folk Club / Identity night on Friday 17 June in the Loreto Club. Doors open 7.30. In the meantime, there's not nearly enough of this clip...

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Identity Folk Night - Davy Nicol

Davy Nicol is a singer-songwriter based in Greenock, on the West Coast of Scotland. His acoustic style songs range from stories about living and working in Scotland, to songs which also have a pop and country-tinged feel to them.

Davy is also a member of successful Scottish band The Lazarenkos.

More recently Davy has been working on video projects to support his music. This song, "Greenock Road" is a tribute to the shipbuilding heritage and people of Greenock, Scotland.

You can see Davy perform at the Inverclyde Folk Club / Identity night on Friday 17 June in the Loreto Club. Doors open 7.30.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Get Folked

Inverclyde Community Development Trust and Inverclyde Folk Club have come together to get everyone talking and singing about local heritage at a folk night to be held in the Loreto Club this Friday.

Identity is all about the different people and cultures who have passed through our area, those who moved on and those who stayed. Songs, stories and music are of course a key part of peoples cultural Identity. And it's also quite a good excuse for a wee dance.

Inverclyde Folk Club have pulled together an excellent and diverse line-up for the evening, with performances from club members, The Drams Band, local singer/songwriter Davy Nicol and a performance from critically acclaimed fiddle trio Reely Jiggered, currently putting the finishing touches to their new CD. We'll have some more information on the evenings performers through the week.

A short film about the project will be shown on the night and people will also be able to come and talk to the staff team about how to get involved.

This traditional folk night is the first in a series of cultural evenings to raise awareness of the project throughout June.

Doors open at the Loreto Club at 7pm on Friday.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Every Journey...

"There is no life that does not contribute to history." Dorothy West
There are centuries of history in Inverclyde, history to be proud of. But too often, history is facts and figures and dates. Our ambitious new project, Identity, is about people. Specifically, it's about the migrant communities who either passed through our towns on their way to the new world, or who settled here to make our community what it is today. From exiled Highlanders to German and Irish migrant workers through to the Italian community and the migrant communities of today, we'll be exploring and recording our shared heritage. 

Identity is developed and managed by Inverclyde Community Development Trust and supported by Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland.

Over the next 18 months the project will work across the Inverclyde community collecting and recording stories, songs, traditions and family histories, creating a new local archive. The material collected will be used to produce a whole range of media and events to help tell the story of the Inverclyde community and our heritage.

Identity will also create employment, volunteering and learning opportunities.

The project launches in mid-June with a series of "cultural evenings", which we'll give you more info on soon. Over the next 18 months you will see...
  • Creation of a new local archive
  • Highland Halloween Event involving local schools 
  • Winter Traditions Event involving local schools
  • Drama produced to help celebrate Comet bicentennial in 2012
  • 5000 graphic novels produced and distributed
  • 2 Outdoor drama performances
  • 1000 project books produced and distributed
  • 160 pupils attaining ASDAN qualifications
  • 120 people accessing SQA modules
  • 24 local people employed
  • Every local school involved
And as many people on board as possible. To get involved call 01475 806760

You can also find us on facebook