A STRODE College student has produced a booklet relating to the Red Brick Building in Glastonbury and its previous existence as a sheepskin factory.

Maggie Burridge produced the book as part of her ‘Contemporary Heritage’ project during her BA (Hons) Degree top-up year, following completing a Foundation Degree in History, Heritage and Archaeology, which Strode College delivers in partnership with the University of Plymouth.

When previously living in Axbridge, Maggie led established group ‘Voices of Axbridge’, who recorded stories from the older residents of the town as an audio archive.

After the project extended to include memories from past mayors, leaders of local groups, recipients of the annual Axbridge Awards and Axbridge businesses, the group finally archived 110 recordings and typescripts by formally lodging them with the Somerset Heritage Centre in Taunton.

Based on this experience, for her BA (Hons) ‘Contemporary Heritage’ project, Maggie decided to produce another audio archive, this time choosing the former Morlands sheepskin factory in Glastonbury; now the Red Brick Building community space.

This project required the research and production of a modern archive. With previous experience of interviewing and editing, and knowing two former Morlands employees, Maggie said the choice of subject for her was easily made.

Further interview candidates were found by personal recommendation, and the story of sheepskin production at the Morlands factory gradually took shape, with the building’s current use as a community space a natural progression.

Of the 11 interviews completed, eight were given by former employees of the factory, one by a member of the Morland family, one by a builder involved in the building’s rescue and the last by a current employee.

In February a tea party was held in one of the Red Brick Building's meeting rooms where all the interviewees came together, some for the first time in many years, together with Andy Pickering the course tutor and were given a folder containing a CD and typescript of their interview.

Together with a brief account of work undertaken at the factory, and a short summary of the building’s re-emergence as a community hub, all interviews were collated into a booklet, copies of which were made available to those involved. Two copies were professionally bound; one was presented to the Red Brick Building and the second to the Learning Zone at Strode College.

All interviews and necessary paperwork will also be lodged at the Somerset Heritage Centre as soon as it reopens.

Maggie said: “The objective of this project was not only to create a record of the factory, but to recognise the skills of those who worked there, individuals who used their talents in the building’s transformation and those who currently enable it to flourish.

"Many of those interviewed were interested to know what others had recorded, and booklets containing all 11 interviews were made available. It seemed appropriate the Red Brick Building should hold a copy, and from there it was a short step to offer a bound copy to Strode College.”