The main focus of this project is historic trading around the Inner Forth area. With the help of volunteers and schools we have considered the construction, use and decline of ports, harbours and piers, and researched the industries, materials, produce and trading routes that served to make the Inner Forth a bustling hub of activity in times gone by.
Two major pieces of original research have been produced by volunteers working with the Forth Crossings project:
The Port of Alloa by Ian Middleton details that port's many fascinating aspects, including trades, customs, smugglers and its relationship with the wider area. And Murray Baird produced Culross: The Rise and Fall of a Royal Burgh, which charts the history of this important Inner Forth village. Both Alloa and Culross have played vital roles in the development of industry, culture and nature around the Forth and both research projects, which are freely available below or by clicking the links above, provide fascinating insights into their illustrious past.
Further, this project awarded a bursary, jointly with the Division of History and Politcs at the University of Stirling, for a Masters research dissertation that contributed to knowledge about historic trade in the Inner Forth. The bursary was awarded to Liam Boyle, whose dissertation was entitled A Study of the Memories and Values Associated with Stirling's Lost Harbour.
In addition, there have been creative ways to help people engage with the area's trading heritage. We have undertaken specialist guided walks in places like Culross, Charlestown and Kennetpans. We've worked with The Walking Theatre Company to create a play about Alloa's trade in the 18th century. As well as the Earl of Mar's link to Alloa Tower, the harbour and the Jacobite rebellion of 1715, there were numerous tales of smuggling and subterfuge! The play featured an especially unpopular Customs Officer called Walter Grosset, hated and harried on account of being the government's man. Called Smugglers, Spies and Stolen Plum Pies: or The Darker Side of Alloa's Trade in the 18th Century, the play was based on Ian's Port of Alloa essay and was performed during the Inner Forth Festival in September 2016.
Further, we hosted a boat trip on the Maid of the Forth, which sailed eastwards from the quayside at Alloa, past Kennetpans and Airth, before heading back west into the Windings towards Stirling. This enabled people to learn about the historic trade that once flowed along the river and, courtesy of the Walking Theatre Company, meet some of the key characters whose lives and livelihoods depended on the River Forth.