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Special podcast being created to record the stories of the women who worked in Derry's famous shirt factory industry

Former workers encourage to get involved in the project

shirtfactory

Derry was once at the centre of the world's shirt factory industry.

The Tower Museum is teaming up with the Inner City Trust to produce a special podcast about Derry's famous shirt factories.

The group are calling for participants to take part in the recording, which will take place from Monday 17th to Thursday 20th February from 10am to 4pm each day.

Former shirt factory workers will gather in groups of four in the Inner City Trust on Bishop Street, recording one hour sessions per group.

There will be sixteen sessions recorded over the four days, with the audio pulled together into one podcast of memories, laughter and catching up.

Also, on Friday, February 21, from 10am to 1pm there will be a sing-a-long session in the Guildhall’s Whittaker Suite, led by Roy Arbuckle, where a group of 50 participants will join together to perform some of the old time favourites that the workers would have sung in the shirt factories.

This session will also be recorded and used as part of the podcast series.

Ruth McPhillips, Museum Events and Engagement Officer, said that the podcast will be a perfect opportunity to build on the legacy of the factory workers, which included the highly successful recent Herstory event.

“Through the podcast, the Tower Museum and Inner City Trust will build on foundations already laid in celebrating the great traditions of the shirt factory industry in Derry and throughout the District and, in particular, the ladies who have been the backbone of our society for many years,” Ruth said.

“This project is a small tribute to the generations of factory workers who spent their lives on the factory floor - putting the world to rights, banging on the bars, making the toast – and making history! 

“We are celebrating this iconic, ground-breaking industry, sharing in the stories and documenting the memories for generations to come.

“We are looking to speak to people who have stories and memories from their shirt factory days.  Whilst the first episode will be aired on International Women’s Day, which will take place on Sunday 8th March, we are keen to speak to both men and women who worked in the shirt factories.”

Helen Quigley, Inner City Trust, said preserving the stories of the factory workers is extremely important.

“We are delighted to be working in collaboration with Derry & Strabane District Council to deliver the International Women’s Day 2020: Factory Girls Podcast.

“This will act as a tribute to the generations of factory girls (and some factory men) who over the years contributed so much to the city’s economy and could truly be said to have built a great sense of community,” Helen said.

“Factory girls were the backbone of the city. Not only did they significantly contribute to the wider local economy, they were often the sole breadwinners in the family.

“Lifelong relationships were forged on the factory floor that endured over the years and beyond the walls of the factories. It was not unusual for grandmothers, mothers and daughters of the same families to continue the shirt factory tradition.

“It is no exaggeration to say that they held the city together in bleak economic times, providing stability and protection for their families and the wider community.

“I’m delighted that we are able to help preserve these stories and memories through the use of the podcasting facilities at the Garden of Reflection.”

To register your interest in taking part in the interviews and conversations sessions, please email ruth.mcphillips@derrystrabane. com or call 028 71 253 253.

Please note, Monday and Tuesdays sessions have been filled.

If you would only like to take part in the sing-a-long session, you can email tower.reception@derrystrabane. com, call into the Tower Museum or ring 028 71 253 253.

If interested, please register your interest by 5pm on February 18.

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Derry Now editorial team on 028 7129 6600 for Derry City stories Or 028 7774 3970 for County Derry stories. Or you can email editor@derrynews.net or editor@derrypost.com at any time.


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