Thursday, 31 May 2012

Cuttin' About - Part One

Arriving at work at 9am on Tuesday May 15, a few members of the Identity team were preparing for something of an adventure. Our pens, paper and computers had been replaced by waterproofs, rucksacks and hiking boots as we left the warm comfy office in favour of the great outdoors. Our destination, the Kelly Cut.

Arriving at Kellybank cottage around 9.30am the team, accompanied by one of the volunteers, set off on foot for what would turn out to be a hike in excess of six miles. I bet you’re wondering how we managed to rope someone to voluntarily come on this hike? Well, part of the Identity project involves working with a group of volunteers, all of whom have a specific area of interest when it comes to local history. The one particular volunteer who had accompanied us on our hike has something of an interest in the history of the town’s water supply, and the use of the numerous dams which gave Greenock, and the surrounding area, a fresh water supply. As our volunteer has been researching the subject independently for over ten years, having him accompany us and show the team the points of interest seemed the logical thing to do.

Little did we know that for the next few hours we would be climbing hills, jumping over puddles, wading over marsh land and encountering the local wildlife. However looking back on the journey, the sore feet, soggy socks and windswept hair were a small price to pay in return for the spectacular views on the area we encountered at we perched on the walls of the Crawhin dam. The walk to the Crawhin damn was not an easy one, in order to access it we had to come off the designated footpath, and wade our way through a marshy field, trying our best not to fall down any of the bumps in the landscape as the roaming sheep looked on curiously. It's safe to say that once we reached our final destination of Cornalees Visitors Centre everyone welcomed the opportunity to sit, and relax before heading back to the office.

But this was only hike one, of a three part expedition. Our tour guide has pointed out another two dams that he believes are of even greater significance to our project. So keep your eyes open for another update from our next hike. Until then please enjoy this short video taken with our handycam.

Please excuse the delay between the hike and the time of posting… I’ve only just recovered!

Monday, 14 May 2012

The Dutch Gable - Sgioba Luaidh Inbhirchluaidh

The wonderful singers of Sgioba Luaidh Inbhirchluaidh were the very first group to visit the oldest house in the town. We were lucky enough to have a camera on hand while they treated up to one of their songs.

Keep your eyes open for more of Sgioba Luaidh Inbhirchluaidh, we have a feeling they'll be making a few special appearances in the near future.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Celebrating the Comet - Part Nine

It’s been quite some time since we've brought you a post on the historic P.S Comet. We originally stated that the comet post would be with you EVERY Friday, however over the past few weeks we have left you in the lurch, desperate for some more nautical knowledge. We have had quite a busy few weeks here at Identity HQ with numerous projects beginning to hit their full stride, on top of this we have all recently undergone Oral History Interview training with Howard Mitchell. It’s safe to say that the next few months (especially June) will be extremely busy for everyone Involved in the Identity project, so keep tuned to this blog for all the latest news, stories and up and coming projects from Identity Inverclyde. Now, here’s that long awaited Comet Post.

1962 marked the 150th anniversary of Henry Bells prestigious steamship; in order to highlight and celebrate this occasions Sir William Lithgow composed a letter showing interest in funding construction of a replica of the ‘comet’ which was to be made seaworthy for a short period of time.

Lithgow contracted George Thompson of Buckie to build the hull of the ship stating:

“It would appear the hull cost will be in the region of £3,500 to £4,000. It is not intended that the school should be very fancy, but it is proposed that the vessel will be laid up on permanent exhibition. For your guidance, the dimensions of the “Comet” are given as; 42’8” over deck, 11’3” beam, 5’8” from top of keel to gunwhale.”

Sir William Lithgow's Letter to William Miller
The team at Identity previously completed a short booklet on the history of the Comet, while doing so they were involved in interviewing a number of workers employed by George Thompson to construct the hull of the ship….

The plan was for the replica to set sale, albeit for a short period of time. Therefore it was necessary for the ship to be fitted with an engine, built at a local shipyard making use of the original 1812 plans. Below are a few pictures, showing the process of the construction of the Comet replica, the boiler and various other events.


We hope you enjoyed this quick look at the 1962 rebuild. Our next post will contain some extremely rare footage of the replicas maiden voyage, as well as highlight the festivities that went with the 150th anniversary.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Avast! Captain Kidd Month 2012

We aren't really covering controversial Greenock pirate Captain Kidd as part of the Identity project, but have no fear, over on Magic Torch's local folklore blog Tales of the Oak, Kidd will be celebrated throughout the month, leading up to the anniversary of his execution on 23rd May.

To get you in the mood, here's a rousing rendition of the Ballad of Captain Kidd that was produced for Torch's 2006 Heritage Lottery Fund project Downriver.

You can also view this leaflet that was produced as part of the project.
Captain Kidd - Man and Myt