The Heritage Hub

The Heritage Hub is the archive centre of the Scottish Borders Council Heritage Hub

A Guild Day Out!

We recently had a highly positive experience helping St. Boswells Women’s Guild to prepare for their Summer Rally, 2012!

On the occasion of the Women’s Guild’s 125th Anniversary in Scotland (and to celebrate St. Boswells Guild’s 118th Birthday), we were able to use images from our postcards and photographs collections to create a stunning visual loop with background information.

At the Summer Rally, this acted as a presentation on St. Boswells during the era when the Guild was being established.

We’ve included a few examples from the Guild’s visual loop during the course of this blog.

We’re delighted to report that the visual loop ran throughout the rally and “proved the highlight of the presentation with its reflection of the older aspects of the Guild and the area of St. Boswells.” (Women’s Guild representative).

And, we’re most happy for the Guild that the event was supported by over seventy people!

This illustrates the rich potential for archives’ outreach services to work with local community groups to bring a wide variety of audiences into the learning environment.

And, it speaks of our ability to stretch the learning over a surprisingly diverse canvas of human interests.

It’s highly enjoyable, rewarding and inspiring too!

Posted by: Keith

Waverley Line returns to Hawick

Map of Hawick Railway Station (Source: Hub maps collection)

In preparation for the Autumn Term 2012, we’re supporting an exciting new local investigation on the railways by Wilton Primary School’s P.1-4 classes.

We’re currently busy preparing a pack of quite unique archival learning resources! This is based on the rich textual and visual sources on the Waverley Line that we hold in our collections.

This further illustrates how archives and education professionals, working in partnership, are bringing new and exciting possibilities and opportunities to children’s learning in the Curriculum for Excellence era.

Watch this space for more details as this exciting project gets further down the tracks!

Posted by: Keith  

London Twenty Twelve - Seven Days to go and 500 and counting!

© IOC, 2012

With only 7 days to go ‘til the curtain comes up on the Greatest Show on Earth - The London 2012 Olympics - we thought we’d take a little time to reflect on the positive feedback we’ve received about our Border Olympians education outreach project on the occasion of it reaching a significant milestone….The Glow-based learning resource has now reached the mark of 500 users in Primary and Secondary schools across the Scottish Borders!

First, a little on the story so far…..

The exciting progress of the Hub and Henry Gray’s partnership work on the Border Olympians and Paralympians learning resource is well documented elsewhere.

You can read all about it here, in an earlier entry from the Hub’s blog:

(Amongst other things, this previous blog highlights the dynamic and vibrant nature of the archives sector in Scotland as a whole, and how the hub’s work echoes with it - with cross-community engagement and education outreach to the fore. And, it’s testament to the potential for small-scale, local and informal partnerships to make a big difference to the educational opportunities of children and young people across the Scottish Borders). 

Henry Gray reading a copy of the learning resource

We’re in the fortunate and humble position here feedback-wise, as Hugh Bonneville’s fictitious Head of Deliverance of the Olympic Deliverance Commission character in the BBC’s comedy series Twenty Twelve might say, to report that “this is good, it’s all good”:

Vicky Davidson, of Scottish Borders Council, commented: “Henry Gray’s extremely dedicated approach to the project and highly expert input into it, alongside the efforts of the Hub team, have ensured that the children and young people of the region can access a quite unique and absolutely invaluable learning resource.”

And among the feedback already attracted is praise from the Eric Liddell Centre in Edinburgh, which commented: “The Heritage Hub and Henry Gray’s Olympians learning resource supports Curriculum for Excellence literacy, social studies and citizenship work and much, much more. It is also an excellent lifelong learning resource.”

The Southern Reporter noted  that: “The unique project is the brainchild of the Heritage Hub, based at Hawick, which decided to mark Olympic year by creating storyboards about people from the Borders who have achieved excellence in their chosen sports by taking part in the world’s greatest sporting events.”

Hawick High School Rector, Alan Williamson, said: “Great work – an excellent Curriculum for Excellence learning resource for schools.”

Henry Gray, our key partner in the project and its main researcher, said:  “A booklet like this was always something I wanted to do and, with The Hub’s expertise on the archives and education side, I think we’ve produced something in partnership that will not only help educate and inspire youngsters but will preserve this valuable historical record for future generations.”

While Dr Irene O’Brien, chair of the Scottish Council on Archives, was also complementary. She said: “Fantastic news about the Hub’s Olympians programme now reaching more than 400 children and young people, congratulations.”

In order to open up the Scottish Borders’ amazing Olympic and Paralympic heritage to an even wider audience, in collaboration with the Hub, The Southern Reporter and The Berwickshire News have been running profiles of a number of the athletes featured in the learning resource each week, as we build towards the opening of the Olympic Games.

Among the athletes featured in the project are swimmer Douglas Welsh, three-day eventer Ian Stark, boxer Douglas Young, discus champion Rosemary Payne, American hurdler Craig Dixon, steeplechaser Bronislaw Malinowski and the legendary sprinter, Eric Liddell.

These profiles have been serialised in the local press from early June onwards.

This is an example of imaginative outreach work at play! And, we’re fortunate to have talented and friendly contacts in the local media who’ve partnered up with us to support the project and the wider aims of our archives and education outreach work!

Where do we go next with this unique archival learning resource?…

An additional aim of the project is to contribute to the Olympic Games 2012 legacy programme, by focusing on one of the key themes, A Connected Scotland. This aims to use the games to enthuse and engage young people in active learning across a wide range of areas in Curriculum for Excellence.

We’ll be looking at developing and delivering this legacy element in the near future. And, like the Olympic motto itself we’ll be aiming to go “faster, higher and stronger.”

Watch this space!

Posted by Keith

Archives & healthy living education!

We’ve the beginnings of an exciting informal partnership with the British Heart Foundation and Loughborough University’s Olympic and Paralympic value driven education programme!

Their national programme - Flames Lighting the Way - promotes physical activity and health. You can find out more about their work here:

We’d like to congratulate the Flames team on winning the prestigious Coubertain’s Olympic Vision award at the Podium awards recently!

The Vision award is the overarching showcase award for the education outreach project that most lives up to the ideals of the founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin. And, it’s recognition of the educational benefit that Flames is bringing to young people UK-wide.

Recently, the Flames team kindly reviewed part of our Border Olympians and Paralympians schools’ learning resource (and more on this later) and found that:

"It sounds like such a rich resource we would be happy to publicise it for you where appropriate as part of our legacy work in Scotland.”

This highlights the usefulness of archives across a surprisingly diverse canvas of human interests and education aims.

And, it’s entirely in tune with the Scottish Council on Archives recently stated desire to make education outreach a priority for archives services, as routes to widen access to our collections and reach new potential audiences (A National Plan for Learning 2012-15).

We’ll be happy to develop this contact as part of the legacy element of our Border Olympians and Paralympians project!

And, with a longer-term view, we’ll be exploring possible tie-ins with Flames in light of the educational opportunities for archives presented by the Glasgow2014 Commonwealth Games!

Watch this space!

Posted by Keith

Gallipoli Learning Experience

We recently had an inspirational meeting with our colleagues in Hawick High School, to discuss the resources and ideas we’ve been busy developing for our Gallipoli Learning Experience.

This project takes an archives-based look at the experiences of Hawick and District’s soldiers and townsfolk during the ill-fated Gallipoli Campaign of 1915.

We’re excited to report that, as a result of this, we’ll be delivering seven workshops in the Hub on various Wednesdays over the months September to November!

Without giving the game away, here’s a little more detail:

The workshops aim to give students an appreciation and understanding of using Archives.

Our focus is on the unique nature of Archive sources in relation to Gallipoli , on the ‘detective’ work that Archivists do, and on the ‘micro-history’ approach that individual letters and accounts facilitate.

We’ve created opportunities for students to use active learning approaches through drama, and to allow them to shape the learning for themselves; approaches that are consistent with Curriculum for Excellence.

Embodying the information and understandings through drama techniques, and having to deal with incomplete material are both key.

As is the idea of emotional engagement as a route to enhance the cognitive and social aspects of their learning.

The subject matter lends itself to activities that foster empathy and we are intentional about this because experiences of frustration, surprise, suspense, loss and excitement serve to anchor and deepen understanding.

In terms of articulation with Curriculum for Excellence and National Qualifications, the learning experience targets experiences and outcomes across Social Studies (History), Literacy across Learning and Expressive Arts (Drama/Art & Design). There are also rich opportunities for developing skills for learning, life and work.

The project is illustrative of the potential for archives’ education outreach services to bring “together two sets of skills, those of the educator and those of the archivist,” in order to “make use of the richness of the archives to support the Curriculum for Excellence” (SCA National Plan for Learning 2012-2015).

And, we hope that opening up that heritage will encourage and support the youngsters to gain a deeper understanding of the factors that shaped their community, and Scotland more widely, and made them what they are today.

“We recently signed-up our entire S3 year group (240 pupils) to the Heritage Hub’s innovative Gallipoli Learning Experience. For the school, the Hub’s work represents a highly creative solution to the exciting challenges that Curriculum for Excellence poses and we’re sure our young people will enjoy immense educational benefits from the learning experience.“

(Alan Williamson, Rector, Hawick High School)

We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Hawick High School and shall keep you posted as to progress once the workshops begin!

Posted by: Keith

A National Plan for Learning 2012-2015

On 3 July 2012, the Scottish Council on Archives (SCA) published an exciting and ambitious 3-year national education plan:

“Many Stories, One Scotland reflects the commitment, enthusiasm, professionalism and determination of educators and archivists. They have come together for a common purpose – to harness the richness and breadth of Scotland’s archival heritage in order to enrich and further broaden Scottish education.” (SCA)

The SCA’s innovative plan is about how educators can make use of the richness of archives to support Curriculum for Excellence. It is about helping them in the on-going development of ‘Learning about Scotland’.

It builds on the strong foundations of the existing work of Scottish archive services in the area of education outreach. And, it includes a number of case studies that provide a flavour of what has already been achieved.

We’re delighted to report that one of these case studies features our ongoing Gallipoli Learning Experience partnership-work with Hawick High School (and more on this later)!

In addition, a pilot project will flow from Many Stories, One Scotland,which will focus on developing partnerships with educational and archival professionals. And, there will be a strong emphasis on working with local communities and on bringing parents and children into the learning environment.

The ethical dimensions of the right to have access to and ready use of archives comes into play here too, as the pilot aims to support the wider equality agenda and to offer targeted support to areas of social disadvantage.  “Opening up that heritage,” the SCA says, “will encourage and support children and youth in their understanding of what has moulded the Scottish people and made them what they are today.” We hope to have an exciting announcement to make on this project in the near future!  

You can download a copy of the SCA’s national plan for learning here:

We’re on page 15!

Posted by: Keith

Year of Industry 2013 - Shaping a New Vision

Good News! And, partnership working comes to the fore once more!

Over the last few months, we’ve been busy designing an exciting new education project with our colleagues in Borders Textile Towerhouse (BTT). BTT is the textile museum of the Scottish Borders and is part of the Heart of Hawick Campus, which we also share with Tower Mill.

We’re delighted to report, that we’ll be exploring and taking forward an exciting new Education Outreach project with Vision 2014 in the very near future, as BTT and the Hub’s contribution to the children and young people’s Year of Industry 2013!

Vision 2014 is the Hawick Learning Community’s exciting rolling programme to celebrate and foster excellence among children and young people in Hawick and its surrounding communities. Like the Hub, and Borders Textile Towerhouse, Vision 2014 aims to educate and inspire!

Working together with BTT, we’ve designed an exciting outline for a learning experience based on individual and community stories relating to industrial life in Hawick and the Scottish Borders during the Second World War Era.

This is a further illustration of the usefulness of archive sources and of their ability to make a real difference to children’s learning. And, of the utility of archival materials in terms of tapping into the exciting possibilities and opportunities for inspirational, creative and skills-based learning that Curriculum for Excellence offers.

While much of the finer detail of the project is under-wraps during the schools’ summer break, we’re currently busy developing the ideas and learning resources. We’ll principally be working with Hawick Learning Community’s Primary Schools. Though, the project offers rich opportunities for wider outreach in terms of intergenerational educational and community benefits. And, what we can reveal, is that one of the outcomes of this project will be an information resource designed and produced “by the pupils for the pupils,” with expert input from the Hub and BTT. It’s exciting stuff!

Watch this space!

Posted by: Keith

Miss Douglas’ Rainy Day Poetry

We were looking out of the window of the searchroom watching the rain today and the team was talking about the flooding over the past week. Not surprisingly (since we work in the historic archives!) someone mentioned the Hawick Flood of 5 August 1767.

An entry from the Town Council minutes dated September 19th 1767 (Ref: BH/2/2) shows discussions over repairs of the ‘Auld Brig’ in collaboration with the Duke of Buccleuch. The bridge and this flood later inspired poetry in an address to the Magistrates, Town Councillors and Inhabitants of Hawick from the ‘Brig’ when its was being demolished in 1851.

The link below takes you to a digitized copy of this poem from 1851 written by a Miss Douglas. Bridges and rainy weather can provide inspiration for the creative mind!

Posted by: Rachel

A Family Life Revealed

I spent a lovely evening at Traquair House celebrating the publication and launch of a new book based on the archives of the Stuart Family. It was great to see so many people there - our colleagues from the Border Family History Society, George MacKenzie the Keeper of the Records of Scotland, members of the local community and Nick Barratt Consultant Geneaologist.

Catherine Maxwell Stuart and Margaret Fox, the authors, gave an enticing glimpse into how the stories in the family archive came alive and opened up the personalities of family members.  The real human stories provided a wealth of material for inclusion in the book and it has been written using the family’s own words from within the records.

As Nick Barratt pointed out, it makes us think about our own family archives and what they can contain - do we keep as much, is it as enlightening?

Our congratulations to the authors on an excellent book that shows archives and family stories in an engaging and accessible way!

Posted by: Rachel

Review of our Week and Scotland’s People coming to the Borders!

Well it’s been a busy old week here at the hub!

 First we had Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs visit on Monday to preview and launch local access to Scotland’s People.  This service will be set up at the Heritage Hub soon, so watch this space for further details

Fiona Hyslop with pupils from Hawick High School.

Fiona Hyslop with George MacKenzie, Keeper of the Records of Scotlands and Registrar General, and Councillor Vicky Davidson.

Following on from this we had some great news stories including one from one of our users on help hub staff had provided in tracing her family story.  This included the ‘Hawick Yarn Stealing Case’ which took place in the 1860s across the road from where she was born!  To read her story see The Hawick News at:

 We’ve also had volunteers in cataloguing, a meeting about Flodden projects and  Rachel’s been out to The Glen to help with looking at records about the estate held there.  There have been lots of visitors and enquiries looking at everything from police records to records about inns, poets to WWII German pilots!!

All this activity certainly keeps us busy!

Posted by: Rachel and Juline