Friday 29 March 2013

"What You Don't Have You Don't Miss."

We have received an exciting new edition to our catalogue this week: The Happy Valley Collection, a boxful of photographs, interviews, anecdotes, video footage and an ORCA report pertaining to Bankburn, a.k.a Happy Valley which was, for over 50 years, the home of Edwin Harrold.

Mr Harrold planted gardens and woodland around his modest cottage which he powered using a hydroelectric generator connected to a water wheel in the burn.

Photographs by Jane Glue

Photograph by Betty Pottinger

Photographs by Julie Rickards.

Photograph of wheelhouse from Stephen Firth.

“What you don’t have you don’t miss” said Edwin. His fiddle was for others to play. He didn’t play an instrument. He was good at drawing. He didn’t want donations from visitors but did accept plants and shrubs.
(Excerpt from interview with neighbour Ruby Spence.)

When I was small, probably about 5-10, I used to visit Edwin either when I lived in Orkney (1965-67) or during extended summer holidays after that. He always had sweets in his large dresser in the main room of HV and my sister and I would get some chocolate or similar before we left. Edwin's bedroom was just off the main room and he had a sort of curtain over the door. He would go through there and then come back through telling us that his wife Matilda was sleeping. At my age, I really believed him although, as was his usual, he was pulling my leg.

(Excerpt from email from Stephen Firth.)

The reference number for the Happy Valley collection is D128

Wednesday 27 March 2013

In a time of Giants...

Welcome to Orkney in the time of giants or really peedie hooses and ships...

We just thought we'd brighten up your day with this lovely old map o Kirkwall.

This is part of a plan of Grain surveyed and drawn by William Aberdeen in 1766 for Sir Laurence Dundas.

Orkney Archive Reference: D8/E/19[G3]

Wednesday 20 March 2013

A Chance For You to See What We've Been Banging On About For So Long...

Films and talks about Margaret Tait?
Films by Margaret Tait?

Yes Please!

See you all there. We'll be the ones at the back with bells on.

Saturday 9 March 2013

Never A Doll Moment

Look what I found when looking for shipbuilding apprenticeship documents. What are they for? Who knows?

One of the figures has "Napolean - 5' 4" and Horatio Nelson was 5' 5"' written on it's leg.

Reference: D116/6

Thursday 7 March 2013

Bringing Home The Beacon

Brinkie's Brae, Stromness. It's a brae that belonged to Brinkie presumably? Possibly not...

We hold an 1852 plan of Stromness which names the hill 'Wart Hill'. Wart was the old Orkney word for beacon or pillar and derived from the Old Norse word varĂ°a.

In every Isle there is a Wart or Ward-Hill. the highest hill in the Isle, on the top thereof they used to kindle a fire, when they saw an enemy approaching.

John. Brand, A Brief Description of Orkney, Zetland, Pightland Firth and Caithness. (1701)

'Brinkie' is in the National Dictionary of Scotland as 'A comely person of lively disposition' and originates with the word 'Brin', a gleam or flash, which in turn derives from the Old Norse brenna, to burn.

And brae is a general Scots word for hill.

So. Brinkie's Brae, the burning hill.



The Orkney Norn, Hugh Marwick
The Scottish National Dictionary
Rotten Tomatoes (Picture taken from Lord of The Rings)

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Great New Acquisition News!

Gunnie Moberg Archive Collection

We're so overcome with delight, that we're are unable to put into words the news of the latest archive acquisition for the Orkney Archive. So here's some links to other blogs about it instead, including a great one by Alison Miller our Reader in Residence.

I'm sure we'll be able to talk about it soon, so we can keep you updated on our progress.