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New online oral history archive launched

Peter Leith and his daughter Anne, who grew up to be curator at the Orkney Museum.

A new online oral history archive has been launched by the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Institute for Northern Studies (INS).

The Girnel or storehouse will bring together recordings and digitised oral history materials from a range of projects undertaken by INS over the years.

The first set of recordings available will be those of the well-known local historian and antiquarian Peter Leith from Stenness. He was interviewed by Professor Donna Heddle as part of the “Memory Milestones” project which seeks to interview local knowledge experts across the Highlands and Islands.

Donna said: “I am personally delighted that we are launching this initiative with the Peter Leith recordings archive, a particularly rich and wide-ranging set of recordings which Peter and I, ably assisted by his daughter Patricia, very much enjoyed making together.

“Topics range from a fascinating Napoleonic family history to the loss of the Mary Celeste and the Grand Mogul’s court in India – both with an Orkney connexion! It is so important to catalogue all these wonderful stories before they are lost to us and the UHI Institute for Northern Studies is happy to play some small part in preserving this unique heritage in our new storehouse of knowledge.”

You can visit The Girnel here.  New recordings will be added gradually.