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Archive film footage of traditional Scottish building skills

15 December 2009

Fiona Hyslop, The  Minister for Culture and External Affairs, today, (Tuesday 15 December), formally switched on a giant projection of some rarely  seen archive film footage of Scottish construction workers onto the exterior of the Buchanan Galleries shopping centre in Glasgow.

The films range in date with the earliest from 1919 and show a variety of traditional building skills including brick making at Glenboig, construction work at Clydebank and the building of the Ritz cinema in Edinburgh.

Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Culture said: “This is an invaluable educational resource to help our understanding and knowledge of Scottish building skills. Not only is it a fascinating historical record of our past, but it is also a way to sustain these skills in order to care for our traditional properties so that future generations can benefit from our wonderful heritage.

“It is vital that we keep up these traditional building skills for the future of the Scottish building industry.”

Ruth Washbrook, Education and Outreach Officer, Scottish Screen Archive said: “This partnership project has been immensely important for providing access to a range of technical films from the Archive’s vaults which were not previously accessible.  These films which capture bygone craft skills and industrial practices provide both a crucial historical record, but more importantly a wonderful educational resource which combined with the other oral and visual records on the website, document the story of Scotland’s building skills.”  

More information about the film footage from the Scottish Archive of Building Skills can be seen at

The Scottish Archive of Building Skills is a collaboration between Historic Scotland’s Technical Conservation Group, Learn Direct and Build, the Scottish Screen Archive at the National Library of Scotland, the School of Scottish Studies and Scottish Enterprise.  It is an online archive of films and recorded sound testimony relating to Scotland’s traditional building skills which has been developed to create a unique resource to aid our understanding of the built environment and the skills which have created it.

Notes for editors

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament. For more information visit
  • Historic Scotland is delighted to be supporting the 2009 Year of Homecoming with a series of initiatives including family trails, spectacular events and the creation of a Homecoming Pass for heritage attractions in association with other heritage organisations.
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For further information

Jennifer Johnston-Watt
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8070 or 07827 956 866