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Oral Histories: Work, Housing, and War

We interviewed several Falkirk locals to ask them what life was like in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Here are there memories about working in factories, housing conditions, and the Second World War.

Oral history interviews by Rebecca Dawson, Rebecca Shaw, and Russ Edwards.

Editing by Ros Fraser.

The Shirt Factory

Mrs Shaw from Linlithgow remembers working in a shirt factory on Bo’ness in the 1980s. She was one of hundreds of men and women who worked there, including her lifelong friend Mary. She started ironing shirts and was promoted to sleeve counting and cuff inspection!

Interviewed by her granddaughter Rebecca Shaw.


Hannah Bateman recalls her father, who worked at Castlecary Fireclay Brickworks, and how the family ended up in Allandale, which felt like another world from Airdrie with a toilet, running water and a boiler!

Interviewed by Rebecca Dawson.


Several locals recall what life was like during the Second World War. One remembers that his grandfather worked in the mines during the war and his father posted copies of the Falkirk Herald to local soldiers at the front. Another was shipped off to the desert for training… Another remembers her mother asking permission to leave the lights on while giving birth during the blackout! Interviewed by Russ Edwards and Rebecca Shaw.  

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  • References & Bibliography
  • Photograph from Unsplash and in the public domain. 
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