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TITLE
Wick Heritage Centre (2 of 2)
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_IANSUTHERLAND_07
PLACENAME
Wick
DISTRICT
Eastern Caithness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
CAITHNESS: Wick
DATE OF RECORDING
1991
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Ian Sutherland
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1696
KEYWORDS
museums
social history
Caithness
audio

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In 1971, the Wick Society was formed by three residents who were concerned about the redevelopment of the town. Membership grew and ten years later, the society opened the Wick Heritage Centre at Bank Row, Wick. The centre is designed to lead the visitor through all aspects of life in the town and the collection runs to many thousands of items on display, with more held in storage. In this Moray Firth Radio audio extract from 1991, a volunteer discusses some of the items on display in the kitchen, one of the fully-furnished period rooms.

Interviewer: In the kitchen itself here, talk us round some of the things. We've heard a bit about the range there.

The fireplace, yes, and of course the bunch of feathers to take the flour off the girdle as they were between the batches of scones, as they were baking. Now we come to the dresser and it's got all the bowls.

Interviewer: Fairly simple. Traditional dresser?

Yes, more or less. Mm-hmm.

Interviewer: With two cupboards underneath, two drawers, and a little bit above with that shelf.

Shelves at the top for the plates and the bowls, yes.

Interviewer: The bowls, lots of bowls.

Well, because they ate a lot of porridge, and they had the milk in the bowl or they would have brose and - Yes, a lot of people take their milk separate from, they don't put it on the porridge.

Interviewer: So what would the diet have been? What kind of things would they have eaten? Would they have had a big breakfast in the morning?

Oh, well, usually it was a bowl of brose in the morning before they went out, and then they would have a midday meal; salt herring and the hard fish - they used to dry fish - and of course they grew potatoes and turnips, swedes and so on, themselves.

Interviewer: No running water, of course. How would they have gathered the water?

Oh no they would, they have a well. Quite - they were fortunate because the well's not far away it's just across the A9 - so they would carry the water and there was a stream running past that they could use for washing, water for washing the clothes.

Interviewer: And they would store it, what, in a barrel?

They would catch rainwater in the barrel, yes but no, they would have pails for the well water.

Interviewer: That big ladle sitting over there, big wooden ladle.

That's for getting the water out of the, yes, out of the pans.

Interviewer: What else have we got? The biscuit barrel. I see that sitting there and -

Biscuit barrel, and this is a salt crock. It was rough salt they used and you used to put your hand in and take a handful of salt for putting on the vegetables and things. And then we have the old kist of course, the chest.

Interviewer: What would they have kept?

In the chest? Well, the chest was more used like we would a wardrobe or a chest of drawers, you know? They had no, they had no fitted cupboards to keeping clothes, for keeping clothes in. And then we have the barrels; oatmeal and flour. Because of the big families, mother would probably bake every day; scones, pancakes, oatcakes. Uh-huh.

Interviewer: Behind you there's a very elaborate looking bath.

That's what they call a hip bath, uh-huh. You would take that in front of the fire. No, no privacy in those days. One after the other in the bath.

Interviewer: All had your turns.

Yes.

Interviewer: Same water?

Yes, yes. And that's a candle mould there; that's slightly different.

Interviewer: What would they have used for making the candles?

Oh, any tallow, you know, depending whether they'd killed the pig or the sheep or whatever, and a piece of rush would be the wick. And we have a lovely heather pot scrubber here.

Interviewer: Just for scrubbing out the pans?

Yes, ideal for the porridge pot, or scrambled eggs.

Interviewer: Of course, yes.

That was the two bad ones.

Interviewer: My goodness, yes.

And I'm told it was, when the vegetables were fresh, it was lovely for scraping the skin off, and scales off fish.

Interviewer: And the irons, you've got a lovely collection of irons?

Big selection of irons, yes. We've got the flat iron, of course.

Interviewer: Yes. It would have sat on top of the stove.

Yes. They would use - they would have one or two because one would be heating while they used the other. And the box iron, which has a brick inside, they used to heat the brick.

Interviewer: And then put it into the iron?

Yes. And -

Interviewer: There's a very fancy one at the end there.

Oh that's a petrol iron. That's a very -

Interviewer: A petrol iron?

Yes, a very dangerous iron. That's maybe a bit modern for here. But it's, you know, of interest.

Interviewer: That must have been horrendous to use?

Yes. I've seen them flame up. Then, on the window sill one that looks very like a poker. That was the goffering iron for doing the frills round the bonnets and the cuffs and things, yes

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Wick Heritage Centre (2 of 2)

CAITHNESS: Wick

1990s

museums; social history; Caithness; audio

Moray Firth Radio

MFR: Wick Heritage Centre

In 1971, the Wick Society was formed by three residents who were concerned about the redevelopment of the town. Membership grew and ten years later, the society opened the Wick Heritage Centre at Bank Row, Wick. The centre is designed to lead the visitor through all aspects of life in the town and the collection runs to many thousands of items on display, with more held in storage. In this Moray Firth Radio audio extract from 1991, a volunteer discusses some of the items on display in the kitchen, one of the fully-furnished period rooms.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: In the kitchen itself here, talk us round some of the things. We've heard a bit about the range there.<br /> <br /> The fireplace, yes, and of course the bunch of feathers to take the flour off the girdle as they were between the batches of scones, as they were baking. Now we come to the dresser and it's got all the bowls. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: Fairly simple. Traditional dresser? <br /> <br /> Yes, more or less. Mm-hmm.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: With two cupboards underneath, two drawers, and a little bit above with that shelf.<br /> <br /> Shelves at the top for the plates and the bowls, yes.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: The bowls, lots of bowls.<br /> <br /> Well, because they ate a lot of porridge, and they had the milk in the bowl or they would have brose and - Yes, a lot of people take their milk separate from, they don't put it on the porridge.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: So what would the diet have been? What kind of things would they have eaten? Would they have had a big breakfast in the morning?<br /> <br /> Oh, well, usually it was a bowl of brose in the morning before they went out, and then they would have a midday meal; salt herring and the hard fish - they used to dry fish - and of course they grew potatoes and turnips, swedes and so on, themselves.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: No running water, of course. How would they have gathered the water?<br /> <br /> Oh no they would, they have a well. Quite - they were fortunate because the well's not far away it's just across the A9 - so they would carry the water and there was a stream running past that they could use for washing, water for washing the clothes.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: And they would store it, what, in a barrel?<br /> <br /> They would catch rainwater in the barrel, yes but no, they would have pails for the well water.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: That big ladle sitting over there, big wooden ladle.<br /> <br /> That's for getting the water out of the, yes, out of the pans.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: What else have we got? The biscuit barrel. I see that sitting there and - <br /> <br /> Biscuit barrel, and this is a salt crock. It was rough salt they used and you used to put your hand in and take a handful of salt for putting on the vegetables and things. And then we have the old kist of course, the chest. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: What would they have kept?<br /> <br /> In the chest? Well, the chest was more used like we would a wardrobe or a chest of drawers, you know? They had no, they had no fitted cupboards to keeping clothes, for keeping clothes in. And then we have the barrels; oatmeal and flour. Because of the big families, mother would probably bake every day; scones, pancakes, oatcakes. Uh-huh.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Behind you there's a very elaborate looking bath.<br /> <br /> That's what they call a hip bath, uh-huh. You would take that in front of the fire. No, no privacy in those days. One after the other in the bath.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: All had your turns. <br /> <br /> Yes.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Same water?<br /> <br /> Yes, yes. And that's a candle mould there; that's slightly different. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: What would they have used for making the candles?<br /> <br /> Oh, any tallow, you know, depending whether they'd killed the pig or the sheep or whatever, and a piece of rush would be the wick. And we have a lovely heather pot scrubber here.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Just for scrubbing out the pans? <br /> <br /> Yes, ideal for the porridge pot, or scrambled eggs. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: Of course, yes.<br /> <br /> That was the two bad ones. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: My goodness, yes.<br /> <br /> And I'm told it was, when the vegetables were fresh, it was lovely for scraping the skin off, and scales off fish.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: And the irons, you've got a lovely collection of irons? <br /> <br /> Big selection of irons, yes. We've got the flat iron, of course. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes. It would have sat on top of the stove.<br /> <br /> Yes. They would use - they would have one or two because one would be heating while they used the other. And the box iron, which has a brick inside, they used to heat the brick. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: And then put it into the iron?<br /> <br /> Yes. And - <br /> <br /> Interviewer: There's a very fancy one at the end there.<br /> <br /> Oh that's a petrol iron. That's a very - <br /> <br /> Interviewer: A petrol iron?<br /> <br /> Yes, a very dangerous iron. That's maybe a bit modern for here. But it's, you know, of interest.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: That must have been horrendous to use?<br /> <br /> Yes. I've seen them flame up. Then, on the window sill one that looks very like a poker. That was the goffering iron for doing the frills round the bonnets and the cuffs and things, yes