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Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology - East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Trust

Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology

2017 Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology

Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology For our overarching theme and inspiration for the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology we chose to focus on the three local rivers in East Renfrewshire: the Auldhouse Burn, the River Cart and the Levern Water. It was the water power of these rivers which allowed the textile industry to flourish bringing, print fields, printworks and mills to the area, which in turn led to the growth of our towns and villages.

This increase in the population and growth in our infrastructure allowed other industries to develop. In Barrhead, for example, developments in sanitation saw the success of the local business Shanks & Co. that operated in Barrhead for over 100 years.

Although much of this industry is long gone it has left behind a strong historical legacy. Many of the beautiful buildings constructed in the heyday of the industrial revolution of are still in use today. Several of our Community Halls such as the Duff Memorial Hall in Busby, Eastwood House in Giffnock, Arthurlie House in Barrhead and the Glen Halls in Neilston are testament to the merchant and business class who became the main players in our local communities and we plan to highlight some of the history of these buildings and the industries surrounding them over the course of the year.

Bigger towns and villages also meant the spread of housing and therefore more public service facilities. One of these, a water sanitation site in Barrhead has now been transformed into The Water Works, a thriving community garden, which will look to the town's heritage for an art project later this year.


ERCL programmed a full year of events to celebrate the history, heritage and archaeology of the area. Some highlights included:

  • Robert Burns themed art class
  • A children's project to interpret the Gemmell Statues into a graphic novel
  • Local History sessions
  • Shanks themed art installation at the Water Works, Barrhead
  • HLF Funded 'Ebb and Flow' Art interpretation project
  • Artwork and interpretation for community facilities
  • Scottish Local History Week Sat 4th - Sat 11th March
  • Book displays (Read the Past national library campaign)

For further information on our heritage services you can visit the Local and Family History section of our website. East Renfrewshire's Heritage Collection can also be viewed online:

McConnell's Mill, Neilston Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Levern Valley 2 Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser windowEbb and flow

Duff hall & Arthurlie HOUSE, SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER

ERCL received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. As part of the 'Stories, Stones and Bones' to celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archeology 2017. As part of the project, users of Duff Hall in Busby and Arthurlie House in Barrhead were invited to participate in free workshops delivered by ERCL's Arts & Heritage service and the Glasgow Print Studios. The general public were also invited to participate in the project at both venues. 

The participants learnt about the industrial heritage of the local area, and used this as inspiration to work as a group to create screen-printed artwork, tying in with the history of Printworks in East Renfrewshire. The artwork created by both groups is now on display at both sites. Duff Memorial Hall Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser windowParticipants were invited to return for the unveiling of the completed artworks. Alll hall users and visitors can now see the work they have created, and the legacy of the Year of History Heritage and Archeology project.


WW1 in Barrhead & Neilston:

Barrhead Foundry, September & Neilston Library, October

This new display was shown at Barrhead Foundry for the month of September and then at Neilston Library for the month of October, and gave a fascinating glimpse into some of the information, photographs and artefacts collected by the Neilston War Memorial Association (NWMA) and the East Renfrewshire Heritage Service.

Over the next year, we will be working with the NWMA to commemorate WW1 in the local area. During the process of researching the war memorial the association gathered a vast amount of material connected to local soldiers. It soon became apparent that this collection should be shared with the local community in some way and so together, we are planning a large exhibition to honour local soldiers and commemorate the end of the war in 2018. We hope to have an artefact exhibition, displays and talks by visiting speakers that will be open to the public.

In the meantime this smaller display will give people some idea of the items that have been collected so far. We also appeal for local people with WW1 photos or memorabilia related to soldiers from the Levern Valley and which they would be happy to share to get in touch.

You can contact East Renfrewshire Heritage Service at 0141 577 3872 and or The Neilston War Memorial Association, 0141 389 7603 0141389760301413897603 and

Scottish Local History Week, Sat 4th - Sat 11th March 2017

Made from Textiles: The Story of Rouken Glen and Thornliebank (a film by Tom Marchant)

Our flagship event at this year's Scottish Local History Week was the premiere screening of 'Made from Textiles: The Story of Rouken Glen and Thornliebank', by local filmmaker Tom Marchant. Tom who, has been involved in producing films on local history for several years was inspired to make this new film due the recent opening of the new walkway at Rouken Glen, which exposed previously hidden examples of the early water engineering for the works at Newfield and Thornliebank. He created a wonderful film which went down a storm with the audience at Giffnock Library. When we asked what they enjoyed about the night some commented: "Really interesting film with a great insight into our local history"..."Finding out things I knew nothing about despite living in this area for 40 years" ...."Please continue these types of events. Learning about the past is so important for our future. Thank you"


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