From Leith to Livingston

Although we are based in Edinburgh, we are not only an Edinburgh-focused organisation. In fact most of our collections – objects and memorabilia, photos, reminiscence recordings – contain material that resonates with people from all the ‘airts and pairts’. From Leith to Morningside, from Dundee to Musselburgh, from Glasgow to Manchester, and even further afield. For many of those who work at The Wee Museum and our visitors, our home lives, school lives, and work lives have more in common than we might at first think.

However, there are also location specific experiences that may be particularly unique to an area or community. LMA have worked with a number of local projects over the years, including Gala Days and Brass Bands in West Lothian. As well as The Wee Museum we have The Wee Hub in Ocean Terminal, but we are also working with Spirit of Leithers on their ‘Leith 1924’ project. Photographs of Leith Streets and those living there taken in 1924, which survived accidentally and have been recently digitised, are the framework and impetus for a project to record memories associated with the streets and digitise more photos of the area.

Cover of LMA/Spirit of Leithers 1924 booklet.
Photos of St Andrew Wynd and detail of Edinburgh (Leith) Improvement Scheme 1924 plans.

Another project we have running is the Wee Museum of Memory in West Lothian. This is based in the Centre, Livingston and the collection displays are similar to our unit in Ocean Terminal, although on a smaller scale. The window displays are often created by a volunteer Cathy, who has been doing this for a number of years. She particularly likes the fashions of the 1950s and 1960s and has often used material from her own collection to supplement objects from the museum.

Window display in Wee Museum of Memory in Livingston.

Other exhibition material at West Lothian varies, and did feature panels from the ‘Strike up the Band’ Brass Band project. Currently the wall exhibition focuses on celebrating the 60th anniversary of the creation of the new town of Livingston. Emma, from West Lothian Museum Services, has been interviewing and recording memories about the early decades of the town – and also the changing look of the shopping centre itself. Some of the panels on display were part of the marketing campaign – Make it in Livingston – that was used to promote businesses in the new town: Cameron Iron, Norville Optical, and Yale etc.

‘Make it in Livingston’ panels.

Part of the marketing scheme was a television advert promoting the benefits of moving to the developing new town. The short film is accompanied by Brass Band music, and some of the memories of being involved in the filming were shared when we were interviewing banders for ‘Strike up the Band’. Although many bands were associated with the older, mining villages, Brass bands are an important cultural influence throughout West Lothian.

Television advert promoting Livingston featuring brass band music.

Enjoy a visit out to West Lothian!