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Isabella Morrison Marriage Certificate

‘Gretna Girl Heroines – Volunteering on the Miracle Workers Project.’

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‘Gretna Girl Heroines’ is the headlines that announces an article in The Daily Mirror from 3rd May 1918 of three Gretna Munitions Workers receiving the British Empire Medal from the Earl of Lonsdale for gallant work at Gretna. In the lower left-hand side is a photograph of Miss. Ada Watt, one of the first munitions workers that I’ve researched for the Miracle Workers project at the Devil’s Porridge Museum. Ada received her medal for, ‘courageously staying at her post….and saving many lives.’

Ada Watt is but one of several courageous munitions workers that I have had the pleasure of researching for the project. The other women have included Annie Milne, Ethel Davies, Gladys Carr, Isabella Morrison, and Lily Florence Curle. As a volunteer I hunt through birth, record, deaths, and census records and the British Newspaper Library to try put together an assemblage of these women’s lives from before, during, and after they worked at Gretna. Some research is more fruitful than others with some of the women having a lot of mentions whilst some having no mention whatsoever in both the official and newspaper records.

The most helpful website for this work has been the Scotland’s People’s website with it’s vast array of online, digital records available to researchers. The clear and concise imagery of the various records has enabled me to pin-point information for one munitions worker, Isabella Morrison, who was born 22nd May 1897 near Elgin in Moray-shire.

I have been able to find her birth certificate, marriage certificate and mentions in the 1901 and 1911 census. Isabella married shortly after the end of the First World War and immigrated to Canada with her husband; because I was able to find her marriage certificate, which contained an address she was married from, I was able to use Google Street view to see the actual building which still stands in Elgin. These links with the past is what most excites me as a volunteer with the Miracle Worker’s project as I get to bring back to life women who have been almost forgotten for over a century and may have only been remembered within their own families or local area where they lived.

Miss Ada Watt, The Daily Mirror, May 3rd 1918

Additionally, the fact that this project and resources like Scotland’s People are available to people who want to volunteer digitally due to the current pandemic or geographic restrictions has enabled me to be part of the larger volunteer project whilst still living in Ireland. I am very familiar with the Devils Porridge Museum and the local area and have visited the museum on several occasions in the past and hope to do so in the future. By engaging with the Miracle Worker’s project, I feel that I can be part of the larger volunteer project and am contributing something worthwhile to the project whilst also gaining new skills in research, writing, and explaining of historical information.

A Happy New Year to all of our Supporters

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A Happy New Year from all the volunteers and staff at the Devils Porridge. 2019 was a good year for the Museum bet we hope that 2020 will be an even better one. We open again on Monday the 6th January with our new Solway Fishing Exhibition and on 25th January we have our annual Burns Supper, tickets are £10, bookable by phoning 01461 700021. Our year ended on a high note, wit two coaches from the South coming in for a warm welcome on Hogmanay. Our photo shows Chairman Richard Brodie, Trustee Eleanor Oswald and Sheila Gibson, and our youngest volunteer Maddison Wallace.

A group of museum volunteers and staff.

New Duke of Edinburgh volunteers

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We were very happy to welcome some new young volunteers to the Museum yesterday.  Andy and Jake have both been volunteering with us for a few months now (Jake first volunteered with us when our Access and Learning Officer, Steven Bogle, organised our Social Media takeover day) but they have both decided they would like to volunteer with us more to achieve their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award.  They have been volunteering in the office with Judith, the Museum Manager, where they have been helping her to sort our paper objects into the correct acid free storage as part of a major re-organisation of the Museum’s object store.

Alana and Finn volunteered with us for the first time on Saturday.  Arna, our Office Manager, showed them the ropes in Front of House and she was impressed with how quickly they took to it and grasped how to operate the till and deal with customers.

We have another young Duke of Edinburgh volunteer starting with us today and we would always welcome the participation of more young people at The Devil’s Porridge Museum.  To inquire, email or phone 01461 700021.

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