An important piece of Forfar history went on public display at The Pitstop in Academy Street at the weekend as part of the ‘Weaving our way through history’ project.
The two-day event was put together by the Pitstop History Heritage Project which is not only keeping the memories of Forfar’s textile industry alive, but is also running workshops in the Whatley Weaving Shed to pass on the skills of the past to the next generation.
Commenting on the event Dawn Mullady, project leader, said: “The project was initially set up in 2013. Young people had done a previous project and it was there that they discovered that Forfar was built from weaving but there was very little documentation.”
A £1,000 set-up grant from the Nine Trades of Dundee and £23,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund Young Roots programme helped take the project forward.
These have helped weave the different parts of the project together with high hopes that looms purchased can now be used to enable the town’s younger generation to create items on a commercial basis.
The important role the project is playing in the local community was further demonstrated on Saturday with a £100 cheque donation from Forfar Community Council, presented by Mrs Isobel Ross, chairwoman, as well as the presentation of a plaque presented by Mr Bill McLaren, Past Deacon Convener of the Nine Trades of Dundee.
The weekend event included a photographic exhibition and historical research notes which gave an insight into tenement life of the factory workers who endured harsh times but who were proud and looked after each other. Memories of ‘the steamie’ or the ‘washie’ were relived through photographs whilst Ron Scrimgeour, past deacon of the Weaver Craft Dundee, gave an illustrated talk on the huge impact weaving had on the area. Ron said that, as part of the project, a number of former mill workers have now come to appreciate the role they played in Forfar’s history.
He said: “We have spoken to a number of weavers, spinners and winders from the past and they now feel there is a pride in the work that they did. It wasn’t acknowledged at the time.
“The Nine Trades of Dundee were originally approached for a grant for looms for the initial project. They are delighted with this development and the fact the project has taken on to such an extent today.”
For video coverage from the weekend log on to our websites, www.forfardispatch.co.uk or www.kirriemuirherald.co.uk