Oral history project seeking input from SWI members for permanent archive

​Marion Dawson has been an SWI member for 90 years.​Marion Dawson has been an SWI member for 90 years.
​Marion Dawson has been an SWI member for 90 years.
The Scottish Women’s Institute (SWI) is looking for local volunteers to take part in a major new history and heritage project.

History was made recently when 111-year-old Marion Dawson, an esteemed member of the Houston and Crosslee Institute, helped to kickstart the project for Scotland’s leading membership organisation.

Born in January 1913, Marion is the oldest known living person in Scotland and has been a member of the SWI for 90 years. To record her memories for future generations, she was interviewed by fellow member Isabel Haddow. Her reminiscences span two world wars and focus on friendships, learning and sharing skills, and competitions.

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Marion was the first to be interviewed as part of a new oral histories project being led by SWI for inclusion in a new £15m Visitor Learning Centre near Dumfries, which will celebrate women’s important role in Scottish towns and villages.

The project will bring to light the unheard voices of rural women and chart the rise of women’s advocacy and change of role in the past 100 years. The recordings, and SWI’s rich archive revealing women’s lives over more than a century, will then be housed on at the centre on the Crichton Estate to protect their stories for future generations.

When asked about the importance of preserving the SWI’s heritage, Marion said, “It's important, so you can remember it!”

Members past and present wishing to contribute to the project can get in touch by emailing [email protected].

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