Bervie pupils’ ‘Herculean’ effort to profile the Cutty Sark’s designer

Lynette and Gordon Mitchell are pictured presenting the Cutty Sark Quaich to Inverbervie Primary School P.4 class watched on by Dave Ramsay and staff members.'Andy Thompson Photography / ATIMAGES
Lynette and Gordon Mitchell are pictured presenting the Cutty Sark Quaich to Inverbervie Primary School P.4 class watched on by Dave Ramsay and staff members.'Andy Thompson Photography / ATIMAGES

The pupils of Primary Four, Inverbervie Primary school, are currently working on a year-long project about the Cutty Sark.

Sponsored by the Maggie Law Maritime Museum in Gourdon, the project will produce a heritage portfolio and a CD of music and poetry about the life and times of Hercules Linton, the designer of the famous clipper the “Cutty Sark.”

Linton was born in the Market Square, Inverbervie, and a plaque above the door identifies the house in which he entered the world.

The story of the Cutty Sark is well documented, but this project seeks to provide a new heritage perspective to the man and his shipbuilding skills, within an Inverbervie and Kincardineshire context.

The final products of the project will be presented to the Maggie Law Maritime Museum, the Royal National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, (the home of the Cutty Sark) the local library, school, and the Burgh Hall, where a memorial wall acknowledges the world contribution of Inverbervie’s most famous son.

Dave Ramsay, project director, said: “This is a great project which the pupils and staff have totally embraced, and allows this generation of pupils to contribute to their past, present and future heritage and civic pride in Hercules Linton and the Cutty Sark.

“The rich rural and maritime heritage of Kincardineshire is thoroughly integrated in the work of the pupils.

“With one of the largest scale models of the Cutty Sark in Scotland in the Gourdon Museum, the memorials in the Burgh Hall, dedicated by Sir Francis Chichester, and the existing memorial area in Inverbervie - including the Cutty Sark figurehead of Nannie the witch from the famous Burns poem Tam o’ Shanter - this is truly a rich portrayal of the Kincardineshire maritime heritage. Add to this that the father of Robert Burns, William Burnes, was born only a few miles away at Clochnahill, just outside Stonehaven, and we have a unique set of proud heritage connections.”

An additional boost has been given to the Project by the donation of The Cutty Sark Quaich by Gordon and Lynette Mitchell, of Letham Grange, who have been great supporters of heritage projects in the area, and enhanced by Lynette’s previous work with Aberdeenshire Council at the Tolbooth Museum in Stonehaven.

The trophy, which will recognise the heritage contribution of the school and pupils, was presented to the pupils of Primary Four by Gordon and Lynette on Tuesday.

Gordon and Lynette said: “We are delighted to be in a position to support this initiative.

‘‘The preservation of our Scottish heritage is extremely important and this project celebrates local history from past to present and perfectly connects the threads between people and places.”

The culmination of the project will take place on May 12, when Martin Woodgett, the great grandson of Captain Richard Woodget - the longest serving master of the Cutty Sark, will provide a heritage presentation to the pupils.

‘‘He will follow this with a public memorial lecture on the Cutty Sark in the Burgh Hall, Inverbervie.

The project and the part which the pupils played will make a major contribution to local and national heritage and civic pride.

An innovative approach has been used through IT links between the museum and the school, allowing greater integration of the project work by pupils.

Susan Smith, head teacher, said: “The Cutty Sark project is an excellent opportunity for the Primary 4 pupils to engage with the history and heritage of their local community and be part of something which will be available to others, not only now but to future generations both here in Inverbervie and beyond.

‘‘It fits perfectly into everything that Curriculum for Excellence stands for and, as a school, we very much value working with members of our local community, bringing real-life contexts to the learning the children undertake.”

Bervie School, in partnership with the museum as part of their Cutty Sark Project, have submitted a proposal to Historic Scotland in order to have Hercules Linton recognised by them for his major contribution to ship design, and maritime heritage.

A panel of judges will make their final decisions in

April.