We held two widely advertised and successful reminiscence events. The first was held in Auchinleck at the Boswell Centre on 27th April and the second at Barrhill Community Centre in Cumnock on 4th May. Over the two days, over 40 people who were interested in the project turned up with friends and family and through this 18 people with clear recollections of life in Pennylands agreed to be interviewed by the History Champions.
We introduced the Pennylands Project through a portable exhibition showing finds from the earlier excavation and shared what research had already been undertaken and people exchanged stories, memories and mementos of their time at the camp.
Over May and August 2017 we interviewed 6 women and 12 men, ages ranged from 59 – 93, these became our History Heroes. They were all passionate about being interviewed and were keen to share their memories and stories of Pennylands to a younger generation. These memories and first hand experiences encompassed the full time-line of the camp, from 1939 until 1959.
The interview process was structured in such a way that gave the History Heroes the opportunity to tell their story in their own words. Each interview was preceded by an introductory letter stating the aims of the project, a recording agreement and a consent form. A few days before the interview this was followed by a telephone conversation by way of introducing the History Hero to the person interviewing them. After this a series of questions were individually formulated to suit individual experiences. The length of interviews ranged from 5 to 35 minutes.
Their recollections were a mixture of informative, funny, sad and very poignant stories including suicides, army life, civilian life, childhood, weddings, births, shootings, friendships, hardships, poisonings, explosions and getting chased by the gamekeeper!
Interviews can be listened to HERE