Heid O’ the Hill Heritage


For ‘Heid O’ the Hill Heritage’, part of The Broomhill Project, RIG Arts are digging deep into all aspects of Bromhilll’s heritage working with the Broomhill community to explore the area’s rich cultural and industrial heritage. Participants will have a chance to share oral histories, contribute to the planning and design of heritage attractions in and about their area, as well as learning traditional heritage skills.

Broomhill was the site of the Merino Mill, Tate & Lyle factory, the Caledonian Foundry and the Shaws Water Works. The project will specifically focus on personal accounts, memories and oral histories relating to these industries as well as the Greenock Cut, an aqueduct which was a ground-breaking feat of engineering and is now designated an ancient monument.

In addition to the previously mentioned industries, the now unused and largely forgotten railway lines with tunnels running through Broomhill will also be explored. The freight trains carried passengers and cargo to Greenock’s Princes Pier to be shipped across the world. As well as the importance industrially of these train lines, they also hold massive personal significance; many older Broomhill residents remember playing in and taking shortcuts through the unused ‘haunted’ double tunnels.

Throughout our 3 month pilot stage working with the Broomhill community we have found that the wealth of heritage is widely unknown and untapped, although there are some residents who have a strong knowledge of the area. The project would provide these individuals with an opportunity to share their knowledge more widely, building confidence while also strengthening the sense of community through the act of learning from each other.

To further develop pre-existing skills and knowledge, professional researchers and tutors will deliver workshops exploring the heritage of the area before artists and tutors work with the community to create  outputs such as a documentary film, a heritage mural and an informational walking trail. Local people will have developed their understanding of the heritage of Broomhill, will gain increased access to this knowledge and will have learned new creative and heritage skills.


By focusing on the rich history of Broomhill, ‘Heid O’ the Hill Heritage’ will record and translate this into various outputs to share with the public and create a lasting legacy.

We will run a series of textile workshops over 12 weeks teaching valuable forgotten skills such as knitting, quilting, tapestry, etc. The beginning of the workshops will focus on researching the textile heritage of Broomhill, learning about the old Mills including the Merino Mill and the techniques used and materials produced. The workshops will then move on to learning practical skills and using these skills to produce outcomes inspired by the heritage research.

We will also engage a local primary school to research and design a heritage mural for the Broomhill area. We aim to use heritage research to bring the whole community together and create a lasting legacy of both the project and the history of the area. The participants will have learned about the rich heritage of the area and translate this newfound knowledge into art for the wider community to enjoy and to improve the local area, for the community and for visitors – by creating visually pleasing heritage based outputs such as murals.

Key Outcomes

  • WALKING TOUR – informational walking tour combining physical listening posts, information boards, and paths with new media such as an interactive heritage website. The website will be dedicated to the information on the heritage of Broomhill.  We will link with Inverclyde Tourism Group to ensure the walking trail is well promoted and will also reference the Inverclyde Heritage’s Coastal Trail, linking the two and encouraging people to take interest in Inverclyde’s heritage as a whole as well as Broomhill specifically. There are two primary schools and one high school in the Broomhill area, we will organise tours engaging these schools and the public to promote the opening of the Broomhill Heritage trail.
  • FILM – workshops will be held to research and develop a film based on the heritage of the area including oral histories. The film will make the heritage widely accessible  to the public, being shared on our own website, Vimeo and social media platforms to ensure that the project and the heritage that it has explored is accessible to as wide an audience as possible. We will also make hard copies of the film available ourselves and also archive it in the James Watt Library to ensure a lasting legacy.

To read more about the heritage in Broomhill, read our blog posts which can be found on the drop-down menu above.