Published: 26/05/2017 14:48 - Updated: 26/05/2017 15:03

Well-known Wick photographer adds voice to social history project

Written byWill Clark

Wick photographer Janet McDonald.
Wick photographer Janet McDonald.

VOICES of well-known Wick characters are to be recorded for posterity as part of a venture to compile an audio database of the town’s social history.

Wick Voices is a project that conducts interviews with townspeople from all walks of life about their memories and stories with their musings and reminiscences saved forever in digital form.

The initiative was launched by Wick Society last year and has generated a lot of interest across the county with volunteers having already conducted about 50 interviews.

The recordings are edited and uploaded to Wick Society’s website, allowing existing and future generations to hear about many aspects of local life, past and present, as told by those who experienced it.

They will also be kept on a database in Wick Heritage Museum, which is run by Wick Society. Subjects covered so far have ranged from schooldays to workplaces and from wartime memories to sport and leisure. Some recordings recall well-known Wick characters and a few self-penned poems have been recorded too.

Wick Society chairman Ian Leith said it has received a very encouraging response to their interviews.

“There has been over 50 interviews which have been downloaded on to the website since it launched,” he said.

“The website has been a huge success and we can judge it by the hits each of the interviews get. “

Mr Leith adds: “The great thing about it is the number of different people who have been involved in the project.

“These are memories that are in danger of getting lost so it is important that they are saved.”

Presentations have been given by Wick Voices at the town’s Laurandy day care centre; Caithness U3A (the local branch of the University of the Third Age movement); Pulteney House; and St Fergus Church Guild. Pictures from the Johnston Collection accompany the recordings.

More recordings to be added in the near future will cover infamous shipwrecks of the north coast, the history of Whaligoe Steps and local recollections about when the National Health Service was set up in 1948.

The latest interview which has been uploaded on to Wick Society’s website is with photographer Janet McDonald who, for more than 50 years, has run J McDonald Photographers in Shore Lane, along with her late husband Ian.

To access the recordings, visit Wick Society’s newly redesigned website www.wickheritage.org and go to the Wick Voices section.

Wick Society is looking for more volunteers to be part of the Wick Voices project.

Anyone who is interested can contacted Doreen Leith on 01955 602568. Alternatively, email wickvoices@icloud.com

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