Govanhill Voice spoke to Ross Wallace of Battlefield about the formation of the new community group ‘Langside Community Heritage’.
Our first event “Dig Langside” will take place on Saturday 17th September, based at Langside Church, Ledard Road, G42 9QU
Hi Ross we recently worked together at Glasgow cathedral on your stone mason marks project. What was the inspiration behind the formation of the community heritage project?
I have been involved in the Battlefield Community project since its inception 8 years ago and having studied archaeology at Glasgow University, wanted to do something to add to the work that BCP does to bring the community together, using what I have learned over the past 5 years. The idea of an archaeological dig, combined with other activities, seemed to me to be a practical way of introducing local people, of all ages, to the history and archaeology of Langside. There is so much more to the area than the Battle in 1568. Not many people know that Langside village has been in existence for well over 1000 years and sits on a main route from the Clyde coast to Glasgow, when the city was centred on the High Street and the Cathedral. The area in Queens Park with the ditch round it (at the back of the allotments) was occupied even before that.
Interesting stuff; A sandstone boulder with cup and ring marks found in the Blue Bell Wood just south of Langside House. The style of decoration gets its name because it takes the form of circular indentations (cups) with rings round them.
Cup and ring marked stones seem to have been made by nomadic people as markers for special places. They are usually found on high ground offering viewpoints over valleys and plains. The stones face out towards the open sky.
Recent research has shown that this abstract rock art generally belongs to the neolithic period (c 4,000-2,500 BC) when nomadic hunter-gatherers began to settle down as farmers. This happened over a long time and while some settled quickly, others kept to the old ways. It seems to be this latter group who made the carvings. As the wandering lifestyle was slowly abandoned the use of rock art changed. Instead of being open to the sky, carved stones were buried with the dead in cairns and monuments. The use of cup and ring marked stones ended in the early bronze age.
The project has only had a few meetings, but it really seems to have grown legs. What was the response like and who have you got on board to help organise and run the project?
The response to this idea has been amazing, with lots of local people attending our meetings and getting involved in setting up Langside Community Heritage, as we are called. We now have the nucleus of a committee, with Lynda Frazer as Secretary, David Bradford as Treasurer and Cllr Phil Green and Ruth Forsythe of Finns Place providing invaluable support and ideas. Lynda is an events and project manager and her skills have helped enormously with planning our first event “Dig Langside”. We have also had amazing support from Northlight Heritage, who have a track record of supporting projects such as this.
The project so far has been run of community involvement with no funding of any sort. Is that something you would like to pursue in order to develop the project and run more community led events?
We have lots of ideas for future events, but you are correct, these things cost money. We made a decision right at the beginning that in order to make community heritage accessible to all, we wouldn’t charge a membership fee. We also decided to run our first event free of charge. We haven’t yet raised any funds, so we really are flying by the seats of our pants! If any local businesses, or individuals, want to support us financially, we would welcome their contribution. We have outline plans for events over the next three years and any help we can get will enable us to run these for the community.
You have an event planned in September. Can you tell us more about it? What do you have planned and what can folks expect to get hands on with?
Our first event “Dig Langside” will take place on Saturday 17th September, based at Langside Church, Ledard Road, G42 9QU, where there will be displays and refreshments. We want to make this an opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to participate hands-on, not just observe others, so there will be an archaeological dig and metal detecting to take part in. All are welcome, however, under 12’s must be accompanied by and adult.
The event will include the following:
* Hands-on Archaeological dig for local people to participate in
* Hands-on surveying skills
* Metal detecting – demonstrations and hands-on
* Historical displays, including photographs etc.
* The launch of the LCH Oral History project – recording peoples’ memories of the area
* Artefact displays
* Talk and walk – local history (11am) and Battle of Langside (2pm)
* Displays by associated organisations, including Glasgow Archaeological Society and Archaeology Scotland and Glasgow Museums (tbc)
The type of trench that will be employed at the event.
What’s next for the project? (is there an event next year too?)
2018 is the 450th anniversary of the Battle of Langside. Over the next two years, we hope to hold several events linked to the Battle, which happened on 13th May. One of the things we are working on is walking tours, which we will be offering in conjunction with Southside Fringe. Over the coming winter we hope to offer evening talks and demonstrations on local history, because Langside is about so much more than one battle, even if it was an important one in Scotland’s history!
For people who want to find out more about the group, who should they contact?
Our meetings are open and everyone is welcome, no matter whether they wish to be an active participant, or just find out what we are up to. To find out more, visit our Facebook page at Langside Community Heritage https://www.facebook.com/groups/858478987589940/
or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org