Photos and Memories

“How do you like the kids? does it remind you?”

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This is a card sent to my Gran from her sister Janette from Cape Town, years on from the evacuation in their youth. You would think that someone had made a sketch of her, Janette and William. They regularly sent letters back and forth to each another. There weren’t a lot of photos taken around the time of their youth, camera’s weren’t exactly as accessible as they are now.

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My Gran Kathleen and Great Aunt Janette as Infants

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The most recent photo of My Gran Kathleen and Great Aunt Janette

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Great Grandfather John, Great Uncle William, Gran Kathleen and Great Aunt Janette
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Gran Kathleen
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Gran Kathleen School Photo

Lots of Memories to share and looking forward to hearing more from my Gran as my project continues to the next stage…

 

 

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Experimenting with Video Programmes

While my Gran is off looking out all her photographs from her childhood I thought I would start experimenting with some video apps on my iPhone. I plan on contacting a photographer to help film a Music Video with me which will great in terms of making the video look professional.

But at this stage in my development I wanted to explore my other options. There is so much technology now available for amateur filmmakers that incredible videos can be made just using an iPhone.

Example of a Music Video filmed by actress Olivia Wilde using just the iPhone 6s Plus:

I came across an app called 8mm Vintage Camera. The app allows the user to easily film video and add on live effects. It captures the beauty of and magic of old school vintage movies. Dust and scratches, retro colours, flickering light leaks, even frame shakes all can be instantly added. So I began messing around filming things around the house to get a feel for how it works:

I thought this could really work well for the beginning of the video if I was to add in an intro to the song which features the popping and scratching of a vinyl on a record player before it bursts into the clarity of a modern recording. It could work really well to switch between this old school- looking video footage while looking back on the story and then flicking back to normal modern clips of me singing the song.

Test shot of Vinyl Recorder using the Vintage App:

This gives me something to work on and develop throughout this process. The next step once I’ve gathered all the information will be to create a storyboard for the video.
I came across a website which I found really interesting which provides great advice in relation to creating a Storyboard for a music video:

Building the Story

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I spoke with my Gran today and began to scratch the surface of an incredible War Time Story. My Gran is currently searching through old photos and although we will go into a lot more detail about their story over the next few weeks we have gathered some information to use as a starting foundation for my videos underlying concept.

William, Kathleen & Janette Lochhead lived with their parents John & Annie Lochhead in Old Drumchapel, Glasgow when World War II began in 1939:

  • My gran remembers at 6 years old hearing the announcement from the Prime Minster that “Britain is at War with Germany”
  • They lived just 2 miles from Clydebank
  • They attended Cloberhill School (From research I have gathered I believe it is now called St Ninian’s Primary School)

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  • My Gran vividly remember the events which took place during the Clydebank Blitz on the 13th & 14th March 1941- She remember 2 bombs being dropped across the road from their house on Great Western Road. The glass from the windows shattered and all they could see was flames. Their father ran with them to take cover in the Anderson Shelter. After they returned home after the evacuation they used the shelter as a Den before it was knocked down along with the majority of the Anderson Bomb Shelters

http://primaryhomeworkhelp.co.uk/war/shelters.htm

  • They had to wear Gas Masks everywhere they went.
  • William, Kathleen and Janette were Evacuated from 1941- 1943. They were going to be split apart which really upset them as they wanted to stay together.
  • They were going to be sent to Philadelphia in America but youngest sister Janette was too young. The ship that set sail before the one which they would have boarded was torpedoed & children were tragically drowned.
  • Thankfully it was arranged that they would stay together at Kirkennan House (-owned by Major Maxwell?), Kirkkudbright and attend Palnackie School (William broke his leg during their time at the school)
  • The stayed in the downstairs basement. The family who owned the house employed people to look after the children.
  • They spent the first while crying and missing their parent and their home, but soon had to settle in
  • They were lucky compared to a lot of children. There were horse stables and plenty of land to roam although they did have the problem of condensation which ran down the walls of the bedroom that they stayed in.
  • My gran has a memory of wearing clogs with buckles, in the winter snow would gather on the shoes like horse hoofs.
  • During this time their father John worked for a newspaper and their mother Annie worked at a munitions factory where she cycled to work everyday. At this time women took over the jobs of men.

 

I plan to head down to the Mitchells library to do further research as they hold the archives from the Glasgow Evacuations during WWII- http://www.glasgowfamilyhistory.org.uk/ExploreRecords/Pages/Evacuees.aspx

 

Evacuating Wartime Children In Glasgow

I decided to do some background research into the evacuation which occurred in Glasgow during World War II, before gathering information from my Gran about her experience. In our History class at school we often went into a lot of detail about World War I but rarely were we given any insight in to World War II. So my knowledge is limited.

On the 3rd September 1939 at 11.15am, Prime Minister  Neville Chamberlain announces on UK Radio that “This country is at war with Germany”:

In particular, I researched The Clydebank Blitz:

  • On the nights of 13th and 14th March 1941, German Bombers attacked the munitions factories and shipyards of the Clydeside.
  • There were 260 bombers on the first night- waves of high explosive bombs, incendiary bombs and land-mines were dropped over a nine-hour period. Streets were devastated, fires rages, and people were trapped in collapsed buildings.
  • On 14th March, with rescue work continuing, 200 bombers returned. Their bombing raid lasted over seven and a half hours.
  • Over the two days 528 civilians were killed, over 617 seriously injured and several housing schemes were completely wiped out
  • 48,000 civilians lost their homes, many of them shipyard workers and their families.

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Evacuation of children during World War II:

  • The first evacuation of children took place in the first few weeks of World War II in 1939 because of the fears of immediate Luftwaffe air raids. 120, 000 were taken out of Glasgow and placed with families and pensioners with spare rooms in Perthshire, Kintyre and Rothesay. When the air raids didn’t materialise , most of them returned home
  • The second evacuation took place weeks after the Clydebank Blitz in April 1941, when tragically a number of children who had returned home from the first evacuation were killed.

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Glasgow Children Evacuation: Photo taken from the Herald Scotland Picture Archives (April 1941)

References

Smith, K. (2016). (Online). Herald Picture Archive: Leaving home to escape the bombers. The Herald Scotland. Available at: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14760001.display/

A Sudden Spark of Creativity

A sudden spark of creativity ignited in me this morning. For the past couple of weeks I have been really struggling to pin down a story for my video until this morning…

My Aunt is still holding on, she is strong and she is fighting. This is what I discovered from my phone call with my gran last night. This morning I woke up still thinking about the conversation which took place between my gran and I which led me to thinking about the stories which my gran has told me about her my aunts childhood. In that moment in time I knew exactly what my concept for the video will be.

My Gran and Aunt were just children during the early years of World War II. They lived with their family in Glasgow at this time but with the threat of war imminent the British Government made preparations for the evacuation of children from the city to the countryside. The two young sisters were then separated from their family and moved out to a house in the country, the blessing was that they weren’t separated like so many other siblings were. Eventually then did return to their family in Glasgow after years of being separated from their Mother.

It’s such an incredible story and an extremely thought- provoking chapter of my relatives lives- this is the story that I should be drawing my inspiration from.

I’ve spent the past few weeks researching other peoples war stories when I should have been looking closer to home. I know understand why I have been struggling to connect to my original ideas. This story is so personal to myself and my family and its a story which deserves to be shared.

Filled with adrenaline from my realisation I called my Gran straight away. She was at the hospital with my Papa visiting with my Great Aunt. We all know in our hearts that although the doctor said that she will not be able to understand or hear us, she can. This comment was made when she wasn’t responsive a week ago, but we knew we must be right and in the past few days she has been attempting to speak and will squeeze my grans hand when she talks. I briefly spoke to my Great Aunt and she replies as best she can. I proceed to tell my Gran about my idea for this project. I am glad that she is happy with my decision to share their story and tells me that she will look out all her old photographs.

I have so many questions and I am excited to hear more about their time spent together and the precious memories shared.

I have already started scribbling down some questions, I’m so intrigued and I know that I will still have so many more questions to ask… but this is what I have to begin with:

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Time to get personal…

In all honestly I haven’t been focusing too much on my Creative Project because life has gotten in the way. Between having assignments due for other classes, my part-time job, my singing commitments and my social life, this project has taken a bit of a back seat.

A lot has also been happening in my personal life, the very exciting news is that I recently got engaged to my partner of 7 years! So in between all of my other commitments some extra time has been made to celebrate this once in a lifetime event for my fiancé and I. While there has been exciting news in the past week or so since I lasted posted a blog update there has also been some sad news. On Friday of last week my close family and I received the call that my Great Aunt, my Mums Aunt and My Grans Sister became critically ill. We were invited to visit her at the hospital to say our last goodbyes.

I’ve only really gotten to know my Great Aunt over the past few years. She lived in South Africa for many years with her husband, my Great Uncle. We have shared many happy memories over the past few years. She is a remarkable woman, always so glamourous and flamboyant, the life and soul of any event. I love hearing my gran and my aunt recalling their stories of their life growing up together and all the memories that they share. It was a sad occasion to be saying goodbye to a loved one. It is even more heart breaking to think of someone saying goodbye to a sibling and I really felt for my grandparents in that moment of time.

Formal Abstract Feedback

So today I received feedback for my Formal abstract. Most of the feedback was very positive but there are some area which I will need to have a look at. It is noted that although the abstract is strong in outlining what I intend to do in a practical sense but less strong in terms of concept.

For example, one of your main creative contributions will be to direct a video but we don’t really get a sense of what the approach will be or your specific idea for the video itself.

It has also been highlighted that I should try to develop this more ahead of the presentation to give the strongest possible sense of myself as the creative driving force. Part of this will also be making a stronger connection between the idea and the underpinning.

I completely agree with this feedback as at the moment I really don’t have a strong sense of what approach I am going to take towards the video and the story that it will convey. At the moment I am still figuring out what the story will be. While I have the idea of setting it in war time and what I am doing in terms of the track recording, I am struggling to pin down a direction for the video.