Hoy wonder-ful prints

Thank you to artist Diana Leslie for leading the linocut printmaking workshop at Hoy Heritage Centre yesterday. Check out the beautiful work made by participants Nancy, Lee, Jill, Christine and Carolyn. On a wet and windy day they made the most of the Effy Everiss Natural History Library to bring the outside in. This was part of our Hoy Wonder programme of nature and art workshops and walks this summer. More dates to follow.

HOY WONDER art & nature

We are delighted to announce the first of our Hoy Wonder events, a series of workshops and walks. First up is artist Diana Leslie with a printmaking workshop on non-press printmaking and an introduction to lino cutting. Material provided.

Friday 13 May 11am – 3:30pm

Places are free but limited. Book by contacting us at hoyheritage@btinternet.com or at 07762570215.

An indescribable something

The title of this post ‘An indescribable something’ comes from the 1972/ 1973 film HOY where Mary Ritch tries to put her finger on what makes Hoy special.

Thank you to everyone who came along on Friday and made it such a memorable evening. Big thanks go to Peter Shirley, sound recordist on the film, who brought the film back to Hoy after 50 years. And special thanks to Philip Normington, the producer and editor of the film, and his wife Lucy, who made the journey from Wiltshire to be there to witness the film screened with sound for the first time. Philip revealed why 9 students from the University College London Film Society decided to come to the island over New Year to make a documentary – the Canadian student director of the film was called Marie Hoy.

Philip sent us this photograph of the film crew waiting at Scrabster.

Back row Francis Watson middle, Peter Shirley at the right
Front left to right: Pete Jones, Philip Normington, Zaidie Parr, Charles Morris, Mike Sydney-Smith, Marie Hoy, Richard Sproat.

Thank you to the committee (and Cristel from Beneth’ill) for the help in the kitchen and with the raffle and transport to the boat. And thank you to the audience who, given the numbers, had to make do with a soupçon of soup. We hadn’t expected such a good turnout and we are still warm from the thoughts of the evening. Thanks too to the ferrymen.

If you couldn’t make it you can see the film here.

The moment when after 50 years Philip walks up to one of the stars of the film and says ‘Hello Tommy’!
Mark Jenkins in a Q & A with Philip

We were delighted to have Vera Sclater there. Her grandfather William Sinclair Ritch is the subject of the new exhibition ‘From Hoy to Hudson bay and back’. More on that to follow.

FILM SCREENING Friday 22 APril – it’s a special one!

Join us at Hoy Heritage Centre for our first live event in ages! We are very excited to be showing the 1972 film HOY made by students of the University College London Film Society. The film was recently rediscovered after 50 years and will be show at Hoy Kirk this Friday on the big screen.

22 April 6:30pm

with refreshments & raffle (and the chance to win a return journey for a car and 2 adults on Pentland Ferries)

We would like to thanks Peter Shirley, sound recordist on the film, who brought the film back to Hoy. We will welcome the film’s producer Philip Normington as special guest for the evening.

Free event.

Connections explored in a talk by janette Park

Ahead of the exhibition ‘From Hoy to Hudson Bay and back’ about the life of William Sinclair Ritch, we are delighted to bring you an illustrated talk by Janette Park, curator of Stromness Museum.

Janette gives us some context for Willie Ritch’s story talking about John Rae and other Orcadians in the Hudson’s bay Company.

We are very grateful to Stromness Museum and to Orkney Islands Culture Fund for supporting this project. The ‘Hoy to Hudson Bay and back’ exhibition will be online and in Hoy Heritage Centre from 15 April.

header image: Keith Allardyce copyright Stromness Museum

Opening 15 April

We will be opening on 15 April after a period of maintenance. We have lots to welcome you back with.

New exhibition!

We will open with a new exhibition all about Rackwick man William Sinclair Ritch – ‘Hoy to Hudson Bay and back’, tracing the family connections between Orkney and Canada in a collaboration with Stromness Museum.

We will be releasing an online talk by curator Janette Park in advance of the exhibition. And for those of you who can’t make it to Hoy, the exhibition will be online too. We hope this will be the start of renewed connections with First Nation family members in Canada.

Live event!

We are looking forward to the live screening of the 1972/3 documentary ‘Hoy’ showing at Hoy Heritage Centre Friday 22 April. We are delighted that producer of the film Philip Normington will be at the screening. More details to follow. The film was shot 50 years ago by students from the University College London Film & Television Society. Read more here.

images: from Janette’s talk William Sinclair Ritch and his children, credit Simon Goodwin / Stills from Hoy film credit University College London Film & Television Society

HOY 1972

This evocative and transporting film, only recently rediscovered after nearly fifty years, is a half hour documentary made by students from the University College London Film & Television Society. The film was shot in December 1972 and edited the following year. The film features Isaac Moar, Mary Ritch, Jack Rendall and Tommy Moar who are interviewed about life in Hoy. Several other islanders appear in the film including Basil and Maisie Groat with children Angela and Charlotte, Euan and Errol Mackay, Jack Spence and his grandchildren Brenda and Paul, Eric and Leslie Sinclair, Alec Robb, and sisters Alice and Jeannie Nicholson. The old Hoy Head is seen calling at Moaness Pier with Albert Kirkpatrick, Andy Sutherland and Davey Learnmonth on board.

The film came to light after one of the sound recordists on the student crew, Peter Shirley, made a return visit to Orkney in 2021, his first trip back since the film was made.

Peter shared his recollections of his first journey to Hoy in 1972: ‘The crossing over to Stromness on the old St. Ola was on its first sailing for several days, having been unable to venture out because of the stormy late December weather. That boat corkscrewed through the very heavy seas. I think that is what we see in the middle distance in the film’s opening sequence, but from the land, of course. Then there was the friendliness and welcome of the folk on Hoy. Our activities were pretty much confined to the North Parish. We were met on arrival after crossing over from Stromness on Ginger’s boat, by Isaac Moar, who couldn’t have been more helpful. 

Another memory was being invited to a Hogmanay party at the big farmhouse. Some of us were walking over from Rackwick that afternoon and a small van stopped and asked if we wanted a lift back to our hostel. Burdened, as we were with equipment, we of course said yes, and were shown into the back of the van which was crammed full with crates of whisky. “It’s for tonight’s party” was the explanation. And so it turned out. Somehow, after seeing in the New Year at the farmhouse, we managed to find our way over to the Dwarfie Stane, where I fell asleep inside it. 

I especially recall going to Rackwick and meeting Jack Rendall in his house. Such a quiet and thoughtful man, at that time the only person left living in Rackwick. So good to know now how his life improved and that he married. The other filming memory was how little daylight we had at that time of year and that we really had to work hard in the few hours each day when there was light enough to film’.

Peter contacted film archivist Robert Coren who liaised with the current UCL Film Society Archive and made an enhanced digital copy of the film and secured the permissions for it to be able to be shared by the Hoy Heritage Centre.

The film’s producer and editor Phillip Normington plans to come to Hoy in Spring 2022 to attend the premiere of the film. It was shown as film rushes to the islanders in 1973 but the finished film has not been shown in Orkney. Phillip said ‘It’s been positively heart-warming to hear from Peter Shirley about how much interest there’s been in our film about Hoy. It’s been lingering in an archive for many years and I often wondered if it would ever be seen again.’

Hoy Heritage Centre would like to thank UCL Film Society Archive for allowing us to share the film, and to Peter Shirley for bringing the film home aided by Tourist Guide Pat Long, Phillip Normington and film archivist Robert Coren.

The film was directed by Marie Hoy. Intriguing.

video link here