“But that, kindo hoo we got tae whar wir at, that goes back tae luckan back and stuff. I think it’s good for youngeens tae see tied byres and bits that wad hen tae be cleaned oot wae a shovel and a burro…I wadno wish it on them, so it’s important they see that kind o traditions…so that they can see it and understand it hoo hard hid must have been and hoo hard folk’s worked for you tae hiv whit you’ve got.”Steven Drever, Westray
Life in the North Isles has changed over the decades.
The introduction of the ro-ro ferries, the move to hydro and mechanised farming, were just some of the major changes experienced across the isles. People talked about employment, from the industries of the past, such as tangle-gathering, peat and knitting, to those of the present, like salmon farming and tourism, as well as developments in housing and changes in school life.
- 🔊 Changing times: Hamish and Jack Thomson, Eday.
- 🔊 School in the 1940s: Irvine Miller, Stronsay.
- 🔊 Telephone calls and electricity: Fiona Mitchell, Wyre.
- 🔊 Peat: Jean Byers, Eday.
- 🔊: Sanday knitters: George and Norma Brown, Sanday.
“…tae begin wae it was a car dynamo and then we managed tae acquire a, whit they called a free light dynamo – it was maybe twice the size o a car dynamo and you wad get a good, weel the problem wae it wis batteries tae store it. Batteries wis expensive and they didno hold very much bit it was really good, it was really worth havin for, mainly for steading for feedin animals when you had three or four small byres and you needed a light in every wan o them it was good tae hiv light most o the time and wae the wind we hiv in Orkney hid was most o the time”Jim Towrie, Sanday
“Well, I suppose your basic comforts were not great sometimes. We lived in damp houses. You can remember your clothes had been hanging up overnight having to be put in front of the fire and they would steam…You didn’t have the comfort with fabrics and so on that we have nowadays…it was scratchy blankets, and…chaffy bed sacks were still on the go…so your sleeping conditions weren’t really so comfortable, I guess…it’s so much more comfortable nowadays.”Marlene Mainland, Shapinsay
“…there was a smithy doon here in the village and there was that wan where me father worked but some o the big farms had their own smithy you see, Houseby and Holland and Huip I know did have smithies for the remains o them was there when I was young and they’re still intact in some places…They war so much work tae do in that line in that days at the smithy for me faither served the community in that area for there were smaller farms roond there you ken and they all had a lot o horses and stuff that needed shoeing and such like and then maintained all the implements or most o that was made in the smithy.”Irvine Miller, Stronsay