Items of Historical Interest

Since the inception of the Historical Society in 2011 and thanks to the generosity of local people, we have acquired a considerable collection of items of historical interest. It is our intention that this material which includes artefacts, maps, posters, prints, photographs, poetry, books and CDs should be readily available to members of the public. All this is currently stored in the Library and can be viewed on application to the Librarian. A committee member has taken on the onerous task of Society Archivist. It has been agreed that we need a structured and professional approach to recording this material so that it may be viewed by researchers, students of history and the general public. With this in mind, we are grateful to one of our members, a retired professional librarian, who has agreed to supervise this important project. The Historical Society has been very supportive in the development of the Library’s local history collection and staff there have agreed to catalogue this separately from the main book stock so that it may be included in a publication which will help interested parties to access all our material with greater ease.

We have a longer-term ambition to establish a Heritage Centre in the Library Building and already we have an embryonic collection of items on display. A further project was to install in the Library, a video screen with a variable programme of historic pictures together with details of contemporary events. This is now up and running. We would encourage local people and beyond to help us record and preserve Bothwell’s history by donating items to the collection. Financial support for our projects would be gratefully received. Please contact us if you feel you wold like to donate. Details are on our contact page.

Oral history recording

In 2011 we started the Oral History Project to capture, for posterity, the memories of some of the local residents. We now have a good collection of recordings of memories telling what life was like some years ago. Some of these memories stretch back more than sixty years and fascinating they are too, telling of the days of gas lighting for the main street and side roads, milk being delivered from the local dairy by horse and cart and tramcars running through the main street then continuing round a loop of many miles through other villages and towns, all for the princely sum of one penny.

There are some stories of the things young kids got up to in the “old days” such as raiding one of the local orchards for apples and pears, but if they had gone to the front door of the owner and asked politely, the owner would most of the time allow them to go into the orchard to pick up the windblown fruits. But a clandestine raid was much more daring and fun.

There were some quite alarming things the youngsters could get up to too, in those bygone days there were still many coalmines working and could be quite dangerous places for kids to play. Sliding down the waste heaps on bits of wood planks or a bit of corrugated iron sheeting using them as sledges often resulted in skint knees or badly bruised fingers. In winter when the slurry ponds had frozen over, sliding over the ice could be a lot of fun until the thin ice cracked and someone got very wet and covered with black coal mud.

Farms had an attraction too and could be dangerous places to play, very often the farmer would be so busy attending to his work he would not notice kids playing somewhere they should not be and many an injury was sustained there.

These are just some of the stories we have heard and it is great to be able to relive those memories.

Please come forward to have your memories recorded and archived so that today’s youngsters, when they are older, can do the same for their future generations.