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Saturday, 24 December 2011

Apprentice Wanted!

It’s an unfortunate fact that we all get older.  No one has trained as a  letterpress compositor or printer for many years.  This presents Robert Smail’s Printing Works with a real dilemma – how are we going to replace the skills that the current staff bring to the Printing Works in the future.  The answer is of course to reinstitute another of part of Smail’s history and bring back apprentices.

In partnership with Historic Scotland the National Trust for Scotland is participating in Skills for the Future – a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  This has provided funding for two apprenticeships in Heritage Engineering Skills.  One will be based at Robert Smail’s and the other at Barry Mill in Angus.  These bursaries are for 18 months – a lot shorter than a traditional craft apprenticeship so we’ll have to see how things develop.

Advertisements for these two post will appear in the New Year and the apprenticeships will start in March 2012.  The successful applicant will develop a range of skills to operate, repair and maintain the machinery at Smail’s.  They will also be involved with visitors.

For an application pack email your CV to:

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Switched-on Innerleithen

The best Christmas Lights in the Borders were turned on this evening. Prior to that there shops were open and there were all kinds of activities on offer.  This whole affair - Switched On Innerleithen - was orchestrated by our very own Gen Harrison who spent the afternoon as the Town Crier encouraging active participation in all the events.

As well as very busy afternoon in the shop Smail's "Get Crafty" was available in the Masonic Club in Chapel Street, the first time that the Mason's have been involved in Switched-on Innerleithen.  All afternoon Rachel was surrounded by children decorating Christmas Trees and Snowmen and making their own wrapping paper.

On the other side of the room I was encouraging people print their own bookmark on one of our Adana printing presses.  Not as busy as Rachel but it became quite hectic towards 16:00 and I had fun and so I hope did everyone who had a go.  Every time I do one of these events I always get caught out by just how heavy a case of type is.

An excellent afternoon - well done Gen.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Archive Update

A lot of work has been done in the Paper Store by Rachel who has been helped by Anna Starkey who is spending a year with the Conservation Department of the National Trust for Scotland as an intern (paid).  This is funded by the Bute Memorial Fund and ICON (The Institute of Conservation). She and Rachel have been cataloguing the items in the paper store and in the process finding a great deal of interesting material of which more later. I've been helping with this rather than getting to grips with some of the outstanding archive work.  As you can see from the list on the water wheel door there's still a lot more to be done.