Pupils from P5 at Knowepark Primary School in Selkirk have been undertaking a creative project with local artist Kerry Jones.
It is based on the life and experiences of mill worker and Souter’s Bairn, Jenny Corbett.
The project, funded by Selkirk Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), used the recordings Mrs Corbett had donated to Scottish Borders Memory Bank, the cultural and educational online resource set up to collect and preserve memories of life in the Scottish Borders.
The pupils used the material over a four week period to study Mrs Corbett’s life and create a series of bold and colourful pop-up books based on the story they discovered as a result of their research.
Kerry Jones said: “My aim was to create an exciting and interesting visual response to the stories of local people through the ages, drawing young people’s attention to this resource and the possibilities of interpreting them through literature.
Using the material available in the Memory Bank, we worked together to create handmade books that captured Jenny’s story of growing up and going to work in a mill at a young age after being denied a scholarship to the local school.”
The project was taken to another level when it was discovered that one of the pupils, Craig Cochrane was a descendent of Jenny Corbett’s.
This inspired the group to make contact with another relative, Mrs Avril Jack who they invited to come into the school and see the final presentation of the work. It has since transpired that a further pupil, Ryan Borthwick has links to Mrs Corbett and is in fact her great, great cousin.
Selkirk CARS Project Officer, Colin Gilmour said: “The project has been a great success with the pupils learning about life in the mills of Selkirk.
“Kerry Jones and class teacher Gail Gibb developed an imaginative project which really captured the kids’ attention.
“The visit from Jenny Corbett’s descendants was a fantastic culmination of the project.”
The project was funded by Selkirk CARS as part of the 2015/16 educational theme of ‘Literary and Creative Selkirk’.
Selkirk CARS is a partnership project developed along with the community-based Selkirk CARS Steering Group. The project will run until March 2018. Selkirk CARS is focused on a range of heritage and conservation-based regeneration activities within the town centre over a five-year period and has budget of just over £1million.