Dundee University’s vice-principal visits Pitstop Weaving Project

Professor Chris Whatley with members of the Pitstop Weaving Project.
Professor Chris Whatley with members of the Pitstop Weaving Project.

The Pitstop Weaving Project was delighted to receive a visit from Professor Chris Whatley, head of the School of Scottish Studies and vice principal of Dundee University recently.

As a young lecturer, Prof Whatley had written ‘Onwards From Osnaburgs’, the history of Don and Low in Forfar.

He was delighted to visit the Pitstop and receive the ‘Mastermind’ inquisition from the young weavers who were using his early book as research material for their own project on Forfar’s textile roots.

The Pitstop heritage and media project includes practical weaving skills, a tourist trail map of Forfar and a surprise theatrical performance to be unveiled later in the year.

Professor Whatley answered many questions about his book, the textile trade and how local amateur historians could contribute to the search for historical truth and accuracy.

Pitstop project leader Dawn Mullady said: “We were originally going to visit Dundee University and have a tour of the history department.

“However, Professor Whatley insisted on returning to Forfar, the place of his original research, and engaging with our young people.

“This visit has been the highlight of the weaving project and we are delighted that Professor Whatley is going to keep in touch with us.”

The heritage and media project began last year and a grant of £1,000 from the Nine Trades of Dundee allowed the group to buy looms and to visit the Verdant Works in Dundee to whet their appetite for the ancient craft of weaving

This start-up grant, authorised by Nine Trades Deacon Convener and local baker Bill McLaren, created such an interest that a successful application was made subsequently to the Lottery Heritage Roots fund to expand this initial interest and begin exploring Forfar’s weaving past in a very practical way.

The Pitstop, on Academy Street, offers young people a safe and friendly place where they can catch up with friends and get involved in a wide range of activities.