Search Canmore

History On Your Doorstep to be Revealed

29 April 2013

People living in towns and cities across Scotland will get involved in investigating and telling the history of their own communities through a project that’s just received Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) development funding.

RCAHMS has been awarded a first-round pass for funding of around £1.65m by the HLF for Scotland's Urban Past (SUP). This includes £55,000 of development funding to work up plans which will involve communities across Scotland in celebrating and recording their urban environment and heritage.

The second round application to deliver the full five-year project will be submitted in December 2013.

The project builds on the success of the Scotland’s Rural Past (SRP) community archaeology initiative. Running for five years, SRP inspired and trained hundreds of volunteers in  60 local groups the length and breadth of Scotland,  to research and record their historic settlements and landscapes.

Now Scotland’s Urban Past (SUP) will focus on the urban built environment. The five-year project will encourage 60 communities across Scotland to explore the rich architectural, social and personal histories of their urban environments, to understand their distinctive characters, and to study how they have changed over time.

Speaking about the project, which has been developed in partnership with Historic Scotland, Rebecca Bailey, RCAHMS Head of Education and Outreach, said, “It is easy to overlook the fascinating histories of our urban environments as we go about our everyday lives. With this project, we are turning the spotlight on Scotland’s towns and cities, and involving the local communities themselves in telling stories that go back hundreds of years. We want to make a direct connection between these places and the people that live in them. It is, quite literally, about exploring the history that is right on our own doorsteps.

Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, added: “Scotland’s Rural Past was an extremely successful project which inspired hundreds of people to get involved in their community’s heritage for the first time. HLF is delighted to give our initial support to a project which will build on that momentum, providing opportunities for people to learn new skills and enjoy new experiences while building a detailed history of Scotland’s towns and villages.”

The scale of each individual SUP project will range from investigations of a building, street or neighbourhood, to an entire urban area. Some participants will be trained in conventional survey and recording techniques to make detailed investigations of the social, architectural and industrial heritage. Others may explore the personal histories of buildings and areas by gathering photographs, documents and oral histories from local residents. Creative projects involving local artists will form an important part of SUP, particularly for new audiences and young people.

'Crowd-sourcing' activities will connect the wider public with their urban heritage and a mobile website will enable people to upload information and access detailed architectural notes via mobile devices.