A collection of personal stories reflecting on life lived around the shipyards and marine industries of Irvine and Garnock Valley during the last century is on display in The Harbour Stories Screening Room at the Scottish Maritime Museum on Irvine Harbourside.
The 15 short stories were captured during the Working Voices oral history project led by the Scottish Maritime Museum and the Garnock Connections Landscape Partnership Scheme.
Through the Working Voices project, which was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the partners captured and preserved disappearing memories held by people who lived or worked around the shipyards, smithies and engineering works across the area.
Interviewing people across Irvine, Ardeer, Saltcoats, Stevenston, Ardrossan and surrounding area, the team discovered a wealth of memories for the short films which are illustrated with footage and photographs from the Museum’s heritage collection as well as images contributed by interviewees and their families.
The Harbour Stories Screening Room is open daily and included as part of the visitor experience. Here is a one of the incredible stories that have been collected as part of this fascinating oral history project.
The Stowaway on the SS Florence Cooke
Alexander Sims was born in Irvine in 1949. His family, however, had lived and worked in the area thirty years previously. His grandfather, Alexander Hannah, opened a grocery on the harbour frontage in 1919. The shop also functioned as a ship chandlery and became quite a focal point for harbour life. Throughout his childhood, Mr. Sims developed an intimate knowledge of shipping in the harbour. In this video, Mr. Sims tells us of the day when he accidentally stowed away on the explosives carrier, the SS Florence Cooke.