School show is a journey down memory lane

Pupils from S1 to S6 are involved in the Spark and Grit production
Pupils from S1 to S6 are involved in the Spark and Grit production

Pupils will take their audience on a journey down memory lane to remember the impact Carron Company had on Falkirk district.

Larbert High School’s Spark and Grit heritage presentation, explaining the history of the world famous firm that played such a major role in the Industrial Revolution and featuring actors dressed in period costume and music specially written, starts its two-night run at Carron Dams tonight.

Each performance will involve 100 S1 to S6 pupils on stage and behind the scenes using drama, light and music to bring the stories of its founders Roebuck, Cadell and Garbett, its products, including the famous Carronade and stainless steel sinks, and VIP visitors like the National Bard Rabbie Burns to life.

The project, funded thanks to a £5700 grant awarded to Falkirk Council by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, has been created by the school’s art, design and community arts, English and media, drama and music department teachers Mhairi McAinsh, Lorna Swinney, Fhionnagh Waterfall, Siobhan Heery and Sophie Primrose.

They worked for almost a year on the script to showcase the iron work’s fascinating history, speaking to Falkirk Museum and former Carron Company employees as well as using the expertise of Brian Watters of Falkirk Local History Society, who has written best selling books on the subject, for background.

Carron Dams, once the man-made lake that held the water that powered production at the foundry but now has Local Nature Reserve Status because of the diverse range of rare plants and wildlife it is home to, is the perfect setting for the story to be told and the performers will lead their guests along the paths to explain each chapter as it unfolds.

School rector Jon Reid said: “It’s great we were awarded the grant. We love where we live and know there’s so much more to discover about our past. We are all really excited about telling other people about Carron Company and sharing our industrial heritage and history with them.”

Tickets for Friday or Saturday can be booked online at Billetto.co.uk. There is no price, just a donation is required.

The event is the springboard to more exciting plans Larbert High has to mark its connection with Carron Dams.

Early next year three metal sculptures, designed by senior pupils involved in the school’s Wider Achievement Opportunity classes in creative writing and community arts and made by blacksmith Pete Johnston at his Ratho Byres Forge, will be put in place at the three entrances to the Dams.

Mandy Brown of the council’s planning and environment unit has been closely involved with the school and partners Central Scotland Green Network Trust and HLF to secure over £40,000 of funding to make it happen.

The sculptures, a large bee, furnace and carronade, and snail have been inspired by the Dams industrial heritage and nature reserve role.