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Corby Dances in the Rain - actually inside Rockingham Forest's Best Western!

Stitching the English Diaspora - Corby Gets the Invitation

Corby is certainly not the only place in England to which considerable numbers of Scots emigrated. But there was a major catlyst when Stewarts Steel from Glasgow resolved to establish their joint enterprise with Midlands based Lloyds in Corby during the early 1930s. Several thousand swiftly came south. And again in the post Second World War decades a growth in steel making and designation as a 'new' town brought many more. Not so long ago over 50% of the townsfolk were Scottish or descended from Scots. There were many Irish too but obviously not in the same numbers. The original community of just over 1000 was almost lost but is making a comeback and amongst its old buildings is the a spanking new Heritage Centre.

So the Diaspora Tapestry Project Team went on the ground on July 7th/ 8th to the wind and rain swept annual Highland Gathering in Corby. The objective was to meet and talk with as many likely historians and embroiderers as possible. The major challenge was that the dominant focus was excellent Scottish Dancing - held indoors [not only for the youngest!] at the Best Western hotel as the weather made all else virtually impossible.

We say all else, but there were brave efforts outdoors between showers including a chance meeting with the town's Mayor in the car park at the White Hart! And there was a FunFair. And just across from us all getting soaked in Charter Field was Corby's spanking new railway station - wholly in tune with our new Tapestry's QR tagging strategy as the signs show. Yes, that is a poster of Andy Murray superimposed on the recuitment banner ... it was Wimbledon Men's Final Day after all.

Action Plan Emergent

Corby Scots not only hold their Annual Highland Gathering. They also boast a 3500 member strong Grampian Club managed by Englishman Keith Palmer. It's going to be a delightful venue to show what we're all about with an Exhibition of the Prestonpans Tapestry before the end of the year. With local media support it will become a focus for embroidery discussions and recruitment! And we've already made contact with our 'first' possible embroiderer from neighbouring Kettering - recommended by friends who saw the Exhibition in Dunblane Cathedral in 2010. She's a professional diaspora herself!

And there are plans for a Scottish Diaspora History Symposium to be convened at the Heritage Centre that will tease out the right story lines for the panel design.

Watch this space ....

.... but if anyone reading here knows friends in Corby/ East Northamptonshire, like the Dunblane stitchers did, please be in touch asap with Yvonne Murphy HERE.

It's not done and dusted yet ..... but a great start. And thanks to Carol Oliver for volunteering to man the wallpapering table and talk the talk in support of Gordon Prestoungrange and Avril Wills. Carol's previously 'Walked the Riggonhead Defile at 5 am with the Prince' so this was straightforward really ...

Published Date: July 10th 2012

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