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Creating Lasting Memories in Grantshouse

24 October 2016

Alongside managing the provision of a hall space for local groups, Grantshouse Village Hall Committee, have a passion for social history and are keen to enhance understanding of local history. 

In 1998, the group were involved in the production of a book that captured the impact of the 1948 flood on the local area. Copies flew off the shelf, giving the Committee a new found confidence and desire to continue to promote the history of Grantshouse.

2015 marked 60 years since Renton School had closed and, with the school building up for sale (potentially to a developer), the group considered it the right time to celebrate the history of the school with the publication of another book.

They knew that many former pupils were eager to share their experiences to ensure these memories could be passed onto future generations and not lost forever.

When the group first approached the Greencoat Drone Hill Community Fund for a grant they were confident that with the wealth of material they had already accumulated could fill 100 pages. The Committee were awarded £912 towards its publication in November 2014. However, the project soon grew and they gathered more information than they had envisaged, adding another 40 pages to the book. The book covers the entire life of Renton School, from 1840 to 1955, and includes many photos alongside memories of the pupils.

To celebrate the publication of the book, the group organised a launch event in the village hall. 90 people attended, School Book Launch Webincluding many former pupils. The group had transformed the village hall into an old school room for the event, containing old desks and desk slates recovered from the school. The slates caused some excitement when a former pupil found the slate she had used at school; despite the passage of time, her name was still there for all to see.

Margaret Fleming, Committee Treasurer said, “This has been a great exercise in social history and we uncovered some really interesting facts about school life. One thing that was particularly poignant was the discovery that the Head teacher was conscripted to go off to the trenches and fight for his country during WWI and, having survived, he then had to stand by and watch his son go to war during WWII.”

She continued “The project has been a great inter-generational exercise bringing the community together, creating a better understanding of the social history of the area and its legacy”.

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