Memories of the mills

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A project to capture Forfar’s past and its rich history of weaving will take place in the East and Old Parish Church in Forfar from Monday, September 12 to Saturday, September 17.

The open sessions are open to anyone who worked in the textile factories or who had family who worked in the factories that can relate stories, family histories and childhood memories.

Participants are invited to take along photographs depicting factories, factory life and the social life, pictures of old Forfar and any books on Forfar and textiles, street maps or plans of factories.

Weaver artefacts from shears, shuttles to certificates - anything that captures factory life - are also being sought.

Full details on the week long project, which was instigated by Forfar man Ron Scrimgeour, Deacon of the Weaver Incorporation of Dundee, will appear in next week’s paper.

Pre-publicity of the drop in sessions has already got Forfar tongues talking as many reminisce about life in the mills.

As a teaser Ron compiled a small questionnaire which we ran two weeks ago - how well did you do?

He asked: 1, Who or what was a tenter? (A loom tuner); 2, Where was the factory complex known locally as “the Tails”? (Academy Street: 3, Whose factory was it? (John Boath - Grant of Westfield); 4, What was Benholm House used for after the Second World War? (female workers hostel for Don Bros.); 5, What was produced in George Brodie’s Chapel Street works? (rope and twine); 6, Which textile family lived in Viewmont House? (James Craik); 7, What was a factory “bummer”? (a hooter to waken workers and call them to work in the morning -and remind them of the time at lunch time); 8, What was different about the St James works “bummer”? (It had a single bell note); 9, Where was the factory popularly known as “little Donnies”? (Station Works, Robert Street/Service Road); 10, The Dispatch referred to an incident at little Donnies in August 1932 as “the outstanding local event of the week.” What had happened? (It went on fire and burned down!). Ron also included a picture of some truly unique footwear which were rovies used as a type of jute slipper my mill worker women.

Full details of the week-long drop in sessions, which will run from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm, will appear in next week’s paper.