Amateur historians urged to record landmarks for posterity

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Heritage lovers are being encouraged to become urban detectives and record small areas of Scotland’s illustrious past.

History group, Scotland’s Urban Past (SUP), are recruiting enthusiasts to record urban buildings by taking part in a nationwide initiative to record the littlest local landmarks in Scotland’s towns and cities.

Scotland’s Urban Past is a five-year community-engagement project set up by Historic Environment Scotland. SUP aims to put communities in charge of recording the history on their doorsteps, and is part of the celebrations for the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016.

Volunteers in urban areas, such as Livingston, Bo’ness and West Calder, can become ‘Urban Detectives’ by submitting photographs and location coordinates of tiny buildings to the SUP website. Users are also invited to take measurements and sketches, all of which will become part of Canmore - Scotland’s online record of architecture, archaeology and industry.

This national record is a digital time machine, holding images and information about more than 320,000 sites in Scotland. But with many places still to be recorded for future generations, SUP is turning to local poeple to fill the gaps. The project will starting in West Lothian.

Chiara Ronchini, SUP project manager, said: “People throughout Scotland will be bringing our national collection to life by telling the big stories of our tiniest buildings.”

“Our dedicated digital team have made it easy to contribute information to Canmore on mobiles and tablets, as well as PCs and Macs, so you can even add a snapshot of local landmarks such as police boxes on your way to work.”

SUP provides free training, support and resources to people of all ages to help them discover and share the fascinating stories of Scotland’s towns and cities. It is supported by the National Lottery with a grant of £1.65m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Free workshops for Urban Detectives will be taking place throughout Scotland in the near future. For more information, visit www.scotlandsurbanpast.org.uk.