Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Inverclyde Festival of Heritage

A new Inverclyde Festival of Heritage is being introduced in May by tourism group Discover Inverclyde, the Inverclyde Community Development Trust, the Inverclyde Tourist Group and other local groups to help highlight Inverclyde’s history, some of its heroes and its industrial and maritime heritage.

The Festival, which runs from Monday 13th to Sunday 19th May makes use of a number of venues including an exhibition unit in the Oak Mall shopping centre, the Dutch Gable House in William Street, the Waterfront cinema, the Beacon Arts Centre and the McLean Museum, as well as potentially the area alongside the Egeria statue at the west end of West Blackhall Street and Ginger the Horse at the entrance to Cathcart Street, weather permitting.

As well of being of considerable interest to the local community, the Festival of Heritage is timed to appeal to thousands of cruise line passengers and crew arriving in Greenock that week on the Queen Mary 2 (Wednesday 15th May), the SS Mein Schiff Ein  (Thursday 16th May) and the Caribbean Princess on Sunday 19th May.

Activities on offer will include an exhibition all week long in the Oak Mall unit, drawing from the Community Development Trust’s Identity project, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland, which is a time lined story of the history of Inverclyde dating back to the earliest recorded period and following through to major developments in Inverclyde’s industrial and social past.

New film from Inverclyde Old and New Project
The Waterfront cinema will be showing a compilation of films and animations covering topics including the ‘Identity’ project film,  St Patrick school’s animated film and song The Shipyards, St John’s animated film The Comet, plus films from Aileymill Primary School, Glenburn School and the St Andrews documentary style film on the history of Larkfield and Schools Past and Present. There will also be also the ‘River of Steel’ film highlighting the history of the local shipyards, and ‘Into the Past’, a 20 minute film showing the changing landscape of the towns of Inverclyde.

A number of major Scottish characters will come to life during the exhibition including Robert Burns, Highland Mary and James Watt with storytelling of Burns’ life and his poetry. On the upper floor of the Beacon Arts Centre on Wednesday 15th May there will be a performance of the drama ‘Guerra, Guerra’, written and presented by young people from St Columba’s High School on the impact of Italy joining Germany in the early part of the second world war and how this developed into a harrowing journey for the Italian community living in Scotland and the Inverclyde area.

Two new books will be launched as part of the Festival. On Monday May 13th in the Dutch Gable House a new book entitled ‘Kith & Kin’ and telling the tales of local people’s roots and how their families came to be in Inverclyde will be launched and on Thursday 16th  Magic Torch will be launching their new children’s book Wee Nasties also in The Dutch Gable House.  Wee Nasties is beautifully illustrated by local artist Mhairi Robertson and introduces younger readers to the myths and legends of Inverclyde. Free copies will be available throughout the day, with a storyteller in attendance, sharing local stories in the afternoon and a display of the original sketches and artwork from the book.

There will also be a small exhibition featuring local pirate Captain William Kidd, with an exclusive free exhibition booklet, while a comic featuring the exploits of Captain Kidd will be available for purchase from the Dutch Gable shop.

There will be no cost to attend any and all of these activities. In addition, throughout the Festival a number of pubs and clubs will be offering live music with an accent on music concentrating on the past.

Chris Jewell of Discover Inverclyde said, ‘We are excited to be able to introduce this new Inverclyde Festival of Heritage with the Inverclyde Community Development Trust and the tourist and other groups, and the Festival is something we intend will develop into an annual event with an ever increasing number of elements to it. We anticipate that a number of other events will be added to this year’s Festival and a leaflet detailing all that is going on is being produced and will be distributed shortly, as well as appearing on the Discover Inverclyde website www.discoverinverclyde.com and the Inverclyde Festival of Heritage Facebook page at www.facebook.com/InverclydeFestivalOfHeritage’.

Paul Bristow of the Inverclyde Community Development Trust added, ‘This brand new Festival has given us the opportunity to showcase much of the work we have undertaken as part of our major ‘Identity’ and other projects involving lots of local groups and we would encourage everyone in Inverclyde to be a part of the Festival by coming out to see all that is being displayed and portrayed. I know that we will all learn a good bit more about our history and the local population.'

Councillor Ronnie Ahlfeld, a Director at Discover Inverclyde is enthusiastic about the Festival and its interest to the local community. He said, ‘It is great to make an opportunity for Inverclyde to showcase its past and a lot of very interesting history has been unearthed as part of things. The plan is to broaden the scope of the initiative in future years to include projects in Gourock and Port Glasgow. I also would like to thank Inverclyde Community Development Trust for their outstanding contributions to this project.’

Discover Inverclyde will be introducing alongside the Festival a new Greenock Town Trail, with 21 plaques located around the central Greenock area, accompanied by a new leaflet telling much of the history of Greenock and its people. There will also be the introduction of six new double sided information panels along the route from the Ocean Terminal to Cathcart Street, providing valuable and new information about what Greenock has to offer visitors, cruise line passengers and crew, all aimed at making their visit to Greenock an increasingly interesting and memorable one.

Dunrod by Mhairi Robertson

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