Monday, 9 December 2013

The Archivist Returns!

Last seen lurking in the background of a library in the Tales of the Oak comic, here's a wee festive tale illustrated by Andy lee, featuring The Archivist and Dutch Gable Hero, Sir Glen Douglas Rhodes.

It's part of the Magic Torch Tales of the Oak Christmas Special. Mind and come along to see us all over the next few weeks to Keep Yer Christmas can catch members of Magic Torch reading Ghost Stories by Candlelight on Thursday 19 December.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Winter Warmer - Thursday 5 December

If yer comin along to the Christmas Lights switch on, mind and pop in to say hello this Thursday, Keep Yer Christmas Local this year.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Merry December!

A View of William Street from Mid Quay Greenock
Almost 400 folk came along to the first (and certainly not the last) Violet Skulls Market on Saturday, and we made some nice new friends too. Be sure to check them out on facebook to keep up to date on  forthcoming events.

This week we have the first of our Winter Warmer events, with late opening til 8 on Thursday 5 December. If you are coming down to see the Christmas Lights switch on, be sure to pop in to say hello, we'll have mulled wine and some carolling. Keep yer Christmas local this year.

Over on the Tales of the Oak blog there's Ghost Stories all month, and of course, you can enjoy an evening of Ghost Stories by Candlelight on Thursday 19 December at the Gable. Tickets are available to purchase in advance from the shop now...they will not be available on the night. For now, here's a wee Para Handy tale, told in a Greenock not all that different from the one above...

Para Handy - The Stowaway

It was bitter down on Greenock Quay, and the grey and the cold seemed even to have affected the temper of the master mariner himself, who was in a most unusual mood.
'Och, it's chust, this time of the year, in cold like this, I'm sometimes minded of a wee trip from a few years back that went awry.' he said, 'Och it wass a bad cargo that.'
I was well acquainted with the broad spectrum of what Macfarlane would term a bad cargo, indeed, it would be easier to draw up a much shorter list of what he considered acceptable cargo for The Vital Spark.
'Ah weel, there huv been a few strange cargoes doon the years fur sure. No' the sort o' stuff ye wud be expectin' to see on a fine vessel like the Fital Spark, but ye ken what owners iss like, they wud put yer very life and station in peril fur just a few mair coppers. Sure I’ve hud it aal from suffragettes to stuffed albatrosses and there wass that unfortunate business with the Kirk organ, which eventually hud to be scuttled followin' the mishaps that befell us. But the wurst though, weel the wurst I don’t often care to talk aboot.'
Here, I allowed the appropriate silence for the good Captain, knowing him to be a great artisan of the dramatic pause. Instead, he stared out on to the river with an uncommonly troubled expression, such as he normally reserved only for weddings.
'And what cargo was that then?' I asked eventually.
'Weel, weel now. Its chust, it’s been so long since I’ve given it but a second thought. I don’t like to trouble myself with it. And sure Dougie flat denies it ever happened, him that particular month being a Rechabite and not prone to the deliriums. It aal came aboot in the long winter of a few years back. Do ye mind, when it wass so cold we were all waiting fur the river itself to freeze. Well, we were chust back from a wee cargo trip oot to that western isle that grows aal the fruit. Funny wee place, but it’s ay warm there, even in the midwunter. So the biting chill and mists o' the Clyde wur a wee shoak to the system. And no sooner had we dropt off aal the fruit crates, than we wur told to be aal the way aff back again to Lewis oan account o' some museum pieces needin' taken up for further study in Gleska.
'We wur to meet a Mr Jamieson at Stornoway, he wud be accompanying us with the cargo up to Gleska. It being the last chob of the year, the lads was aal promised a wee trip intae toon afterwards fur refreshments and dancin’. This suited The Tar chust fine, as he wass at this point in time still on the lookout fur a wife, and felt sure that it would be easier in the run up to Christmas on account of everyone wantin' to keep waarm in the wunter months.
'The cargo wass...and I'm no mistaken here...some bones and a few wee rusty brooches will think I'm having a laugh with you, a box of stones, and the like which had been found out near Callanish. Or wass it the Broch? Most certainly wan o' the two. And we wur reassured they wur of no small educational significance. And to be fair they weren't so very heavy either as to be causing too much strife while lifting, a particular worry of The Tar.
'It wass Mr Jamieson hisself though who set the whole enterprise aff on the wrong foot. He had a sort of a furtive look about him, a munister would likely have ken better what it signified, but to me, he looked like he wass trying very hard not to be seen. He wass not the most talkative of passengers, but as ye know fine, the crew of the Fital Spark are curious and conversational sowls, so were efter askin Mr Jamieson aal sorts of details about the cargo aal morning. Eventually, mebbe in desperation, hoping they would let him at peace, he told us why his wee box of stones and bones wass off to Gleska.

"Weel" he says, "These bones were recently dug up in a secluded spot on the island, and they had a wee circle of stones - these very stones, also buried around them in a circle. There wass only the one body, only the one set of bones, and they were buried in a way that shows that the gentleman concerned wass all huddled up when he wass interred. There's nothing much too peculiar about that," he says, but I'd huv to say, it maybe sounded just a wee bit peculiar to the more under educated crewmen of the Fital Spark, such as Macphail, "but what's very strange indeed, is the condition of these bones. It looks very much as if they have been gnawed upon, and the teeth marks match no creature kent by science."
'Weel ye can imagine how this played, especially with Macphail, who is particular feared of monsters huvin' sailed to Australia that time and had the bother with the sharks. But, oor Mr Jamieson, looking most uncomfortable, yet seemin' unable to help hisself, presses on regardless.
"The jewellery wass scattered all around him, and one piece still clutched in his hand. And on each of the stones, strange carvings and pictograms, and on some others scratchmarks, again, from a larger beast than ever lived on the isles. It's a mystery to be sure. A mystery."
Here, The Tar produced wan o' the stones, huvin' been searchin' through the crate while Jamieson spoke. "Put it away!" Jamieson screams "Fur yer own sake put it back!"
I have nivver seen Colin move so quick in aal my life, and right away, he wass below decks with the carbolic soap, trying to wash aff any misfortune that might have rubbed aff oan him. As ye might imagine, the mate wass quite put oot by the whole discussion, and made it plain, "The only mystery is why ye dug it up and why we let ye bring it on board. Its bad luck for us aal."
Mr Jamieson declined to join us for evening meal, which, given The Tar's recent efforts, I wass not minded to disagree with. Instead he sat beside the cargo, hands in his pockets against the cold. It wass after dark that the calamity befell us.
'Now, it was Dougie and I both in the wheelhouse, and on my mithers own grave, up by the mast, there was a man standing on dake by Mr Jamieson. A stowaway, ay. But wan that ye could see right through as though he wur sugar glaze or a nice silk net curtain as ye might see in Pollokshaws. A big heavy fellow it wass, barely dressed for the cauld. Dougie and I both chust stood, and since then, neither of us huv been able to agree upon why we didn't go to Mr Jamieson's aid. It wass as though our legs were sacks of coal.
The stowaway chust stood, quietly, pointing at Mr Jamieson, who wass in some commotion shakin his heid and he's shoutin "Please leave me alone. Why won't you leave me alone". The Stowaway keeps pointing, only now, he slowly opens his mooth and there's a howlin' too, o' the sort that I'm sure even chilled the old bones in the box. Weel this seemed to be the last straw fur oor Mr Jamieson, and he chumped straight aff the boat. At which point the stowaway promptly vanished.

We wur goin' at a fair clip, and it wass the dark of midwunter. But sure we stopped to see if we could catch sight of the poor sowl, and by this time the howling had roused even Macphail, so we wur aal there to look and call oot. But even that many pairs of eyes and lanterns won't make the wunter dark light. He wass gone. And so wass our stowaway. Dougie wass for throwing the cargo overboard, but the morning wass comin' on, and we had aal been lookin forward to a trip to Gleska.

A terrible business. And wur we not now late as weel from aal the looking for Mr Jamieson? There wass aal sorts of accident reportin' to be done at Gleska, and while I wass dealin' with the owners and officials, Dougie wass out speakin' to fowk, tellin only hauf the story and intimating that oor Mr Jamieson wass not so demure a curator as to not enjoy a good few too many refreshments. And sure it can get fearsome slippery on dake in midwunter sails at night. Smert, makin' sure we widna get a name for oorselves as a ghost ship. A cursed puffer is a terruble thing, it can hauf yer workin' week in two. It's a short skip from there to only running a passenger ferry to Helensburgh in the summer months.
There wass some commotion at the museum also, as not all the intended artefacts were intact and present. I'm pleased to say though that my honesty wass never in question, more it wass felt that Mr Jamieson hud been efter takin' a few wee pieces which he must huv had in his poaket afore he slupped and fell ower the side.

It wass a terrible business right enough. A terrible business. It almost put us right aff the dancin’.

Here, Para Handy shook his head sadly. He would be drawn no further on the matter.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Dutch Gable Dates for your Diary

Quite a few wee interesting events coming up over November / December, help us Keep Christmas Local this year. In addition to the Big Comic Book Bash and Violet Skulls Market, we will also be having The Dutch Gable Christmas Night In on Thursday 5 December (during the Christmas Lights switch on) and The Dutch Gable Winter Warmer on Thursday 12 December, We will be open til 8 both nights,

The Thursday 5 and 12th events will include a winter themed exhibition, Christmas Carolling, mulled wine and mince pies, storytelling and bargains galore from our Newark Products shop. 

The week after, on Thursday 19th, you can enjoy this spooky evening...

Monday, 11 November 2013

Scottish Book Week - Big Book Bash

Later this month Magic Torch will be running an event to celebrate Book Week Scotland.

Come along to The Dutch Gable House on Tuesday 26 November from 1 - 8 o'clock to get involved in comic creation workshops, see some great examples of classic comics, exhibitions of comic art and a number of films exploring the history of the comic book genre.

You will be able to get your picture taken as the star of your own comic book page and see our Big Comic projected in the Back House of the Dutch Gable. There will also be more copies of the Tales of the Oak comic being distributed for FREE.

Contact us if you want any more information, or would like to bring a group along.

The event is supported by the Scottish Book Trust as part of the Big Book Bash

Monday, 28 October 2013

All Hallows

Some Hallowe'en traditions from our graphic novel, Identity The Archivist's Treasure, still free to download online. And there's even more traditions in this wee story featuring Highland Mary...

Later this week we will have a special performance of The Galoshans Play to share with ye, just in time for the Big Day...

Monday, 21 October 2013

Sir Glen and Old Greenock Characters

To accompany our very popular Big Map, a new graphic of Sir Glen with some Old Greenock Characters by Andy Lee has now been installed at The Dutch Gable House. The wee detail above gives you a glimpse at a few of the characters.

The Tales of the Oak blog has been running excerpts from John Donald's Old Greenock Characters for a few years now, hopefully we will see it republished soon. Meantime, we are developing a few projects which involve the characters, some of whom also cameo in the Tales of the Oak comic - still available FREE from Dutch Gable.

As for Sir Glen, as well as showcasing some more items and stories from his past in the study, he will be unveiling more local mysteries when he returns as the star of his own comic next year...

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Halloween at Newark Products Shop

We've lots of Halloween gifts coming into the shop at The Dutch Gable House, including paint your own Halloween Decorations and Spooky Soaps. But we're especially pleased to be able to offer you this exclusive replica of Ghost Ship in A Bottle from Sir Glen Douglas Rhodes Cabinet of Curiosities. Be the envy of all lesser cursed Halloween parties with this terrifying gift...

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Dutch Gable - Storytelling Training

Magic Torch have another opportunity to learn storytelling skills this month.

Places are limited, so contact to book.

You can still get FREE copies of Tales of the Oak by Magic Torch exclusively at The Dutch Gable House. The Wee Nasties childrens book is now available to download for FREE via amazon.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A Wee Word Wi Ye - We Said Aye!

As part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival Inverclyde, Volunteer Service Inverclyde are running two exhibitions throughout October...

A Wee Word Wi' Ye

We Said Aye To Volunteering

Come along to the middle floor of the Dutch Gable from October 7 and check out the Trust Volunteering Inverclyde facebook page for more info.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Doors Open Day 2013 - Thanks for popping by!

Almost 700 people came to visit us during Doors Open Day weekend this year, lots of tourists, Doors Open Day fans and local folk. With the help of Magic Torch, we started sharing the story of the enigmatic Sir Glen Douglas Rhodes, with material from his arcane archive on display, we had live music from Brian Heron, The Folkin Hillbillys and Sgioba Luiadh Inbhircluaidh, new digital displays from the Identity project a REALLY BIG map and new gifts for sale in the Newark Products shop. It was a great weekend.

If you missed us though, have no fear, from next week (24th September) we'll be open Tuesday - Saturday 10 - 4 FROM NOW ON!

Our programme of autumns events, including new storytelling training sessions, the Dutch Gable heritage group, Scottish Book Week events and even a Vintage Fayre will be online soon. Follow the blog or twitter or like our facebook page to keep up to date. Very shortly you will be able to do all that via our smashing new Dutch Gable app.

See ye again soon!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Identity Evaluation

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

With the first phase of our Identity project now complete, this evaluation looks back over the project with contributions from staff, volunteers and others involved with the delivery. The evaluation gives a solid overview and timeline of the project, its achievements and challenges, along with live links to all the material being discussed.

Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Dutch Gable House Doors Open Day

This Doors Open Day on September 14th and 15th, be sure and come along to The Dutch Gable House, not only will you get your chance to nab a FREE copy of Magic Torch's new book supported by Heritage Lottery, but there's also copies of Wee Nasties, Identity : Kith and Kin, all our leaflets and exclusive postcards and DVDs up for grabs. We're too good to you.

But there's more!

You can also enjoy the study of Sir Glen Douglas Rhodes, exhibitions of original artwork, live music in the Back House and hand finished wooden gifts in Newark Products shop and information on the programme of activities starting up in the Gable from September onwards...and like or check in at The Dutch Gable House facebook page to be entered into a prize draw to win a piece of original artwork from Andy Lee!

10 - 4 both days. Hopefully get ye in  there.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Identity @ The Dutch Gable House

Dutch Gable House...getting ready...

Our Identity project, supported by Heritage Lottery over the last 2 years, has come to its natural end, though Inverclyde Community Development Trust intend to continue to work on other cultural and heritage programmes through The Dutch Gable House - and all the material from Identity will still be available at the Gable and online.

All our books and leaflets can be freely downloaded from our Scribd Bookshelf

Our films are on our Youtube channel

And our archive continues to grow online

Tabs for all of those pages, will remain at the top of the blog.

You'll find a few changes to the blog over the next few weeks - we're keeping the Identity name, as we still feel it sums up what we do rather nicely, but the focus of the blog will become all the projects of The Dutch Gable House, which will hopefully be opening permanently from September 2013. These include our new heritage programme researching the Gable itself, our anti sectarian project Gies Peace, Magic Torch storytellers, the Tea Leaf Book Group, locally handcrafted wooden gifts at Newark Products, vintage fairs and much more

Our Identity facebook page will be shutting down, so we'd recommend liking our Dutch Gable House page or following us on twitter. Or both!

Thanks very much for all your ideas and help over the last two years, and we hope we'll see you at The Dutch Gable House as an exciting new project for the area takes shape...

Meantime if you have any questions, you can contact us at

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Beacon Special Offer - The Unthanks Songs From The Shipyards

Thanks to The Beacon Arts Centre, you can take advantage of an excellent special offer and experience The Unthanks Songs From The Shipyards this Saturday 20th July at the Special Price of £10 per ticket.

Simply email and put Heritage in the subject line. Provide your name, number and how many tickets you would like and Box Office staff will call you back to confirm the booking. 

If you need any convincing...check this out....

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Identity - Kith and Kin

Be sure and come and see us at The Dutch Gable House and Oak Mall Unit 8 over the weekend for your chance to grab your FREE copy of our new book Kith and Kin. The 96 page book explores the heritage of the area over the last 200 years, celebrating key events, personal family histories and migration. The book comes with a DVD featuring a 30 minute accompanying film.

Oak Mall and The Dutch Gable House each have a different exhibition to accompany the book, and there are also plenty of our previous project booklets and leaflets for you to enjoy. When they're gone they're gone.

And in amongst all this book launching and exhibiting, our new project webiste has gone live this week, featuring films and information gathered by our volunteers. Check it out at

If you are over picking up Kith and Kin from Dutch Gable, you can also get an exclusive free book from another Heritage Lottery Fund project, Tales of the Oak. The book Wee Nasties is intended to introduce younger readers to the myths and legends of the area. Here's a wee video to accompany the book...

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Inverclyde Festival of Heritage

We've a busy week ahead...hope we'll see you at some point!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Identity : The Story So Far...

Here's a showreel highlighting some of the work of Identity over the last 18 months, its been a really busy and fascinating project, and the next few weeks will be no exception, with book, film and website launches.

Identity will be playing a major part in the Inverclyde Festival of Heritage in May, so stay tuned for the dates for your diary soon...

Monday, 8 April 2013

Tomorrow and Tomorrow...

The Identity project is rapidly approaching the finish line, with these next 2 months set to be very busy. Our new website will be launching in May, as will Kith and Kin, the book written by our fabulous project volunteers. As a wee taster for both the book and the website, here is a chapter of the book by Alex Hardie, narrated by one of our project team Craig Miller.

Over the next few weeks, as well as keeping you up to date on Identity's events and launches, we're also going to be taking a look at developments within The Dutch Gable House. Inverclyde Community Development Trust run both the Identity project and Dutch Gable House (and lots of other cool stuff as well) and when the Identity project concludes, we'll be changing the focus of this blog to tell the story of the Dutch Gable and it's ongoing redevelopment as a community space for arts, heritage and enterprise. All the Identity material will still be here however, as well as on the new dedicated project website.

The Gable recently secured some additional resource from Inverclyde Council's Community Facilities Fund, and will be opening again over the next few months following some more refurbishment. In the meantime, our shop is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 - 4.