MSP Gil Paterson took a walk down memory lane when he visited the first ever Singer Stories Festival at Clydebank Townhall. As a young man the Clydebank and Milngavie MSP worked in the Singer repair workshop in York Street in Glasgow doing electrical repairs on sewing machines and a wide variety of Singer white goods.
The festival showcased West Dunbartonshire’s collection of Singer sewing machines, which is the largest of its kind in Europe, as well as celebrating the history of Singer in Clydebank with music, sewing competitions, film and debate.
A team of volunteers have been collecting personal stories and memories of Singer sewing machines and life in the Singer factory in Clydebank throughout the last year. They will use these recordings to create a social history archive.
Speaking at the event, Mr Paterson said:
“I remember working on machines like these when I was a young electrical repairman, I spent a lot of time supressing sewing machines so that they didn’t interfere with the TV!
“The collection of sewing machines here in Clydebank is one the finest in Europe so we should be showing it off and telling the stories of the people who remember Singer in its heyday. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Jen Smith and Andrew Graham for showing me round and for all their hard work to get the first festival off the ground.
“Clydebank has a fascinating story to tell, not just about the Singer factory but also our shipbuilding, the horrific experiences of the blitz and our excellent examples of prehistoric rock art. Few towns can boast of such a rich heritage and it is one of which Bankies should be proud, so I’m delighted that this first Singer Stories Festival has been such a success and I’m sure it will go from strength to strength.”