East Midlands Food

East Midlands Food

Burns Night in Corby…

It was Burns Night earlier this week – the anniversary of the birth of the Scottish poet Robert Burns on 25 January, which is celebrated wherever in the world Scots are gathered together. 

I’m sure it’s well known that a lot of people moved to Corby in Northamptonshire from Scotland in the 1930s when Stewarts and Lloyds opened their new steelworks there, and again after the Second World War when the works were extended. There are two Church of Scotland churches there - St Andrew’s, built in the 1930s and St Ninians in the 1960s - and Glasgow Celtic and Rangers supporters’ clubs. Corby still has an annual Highland Gathering, and Burns Night is also celebrated there with traditional food such as haggis and neaps (swedes) and tatties (potatoes). The 200th anniversary of Burns’ death in July 1996 was also marked with an exhibition of his life at the Highland Gathering, an evening of verse at Corby Library, a social evening and ceilidh, and a memorial service at St Ninian’s church.

Polish shop, Corby Old Village

People from other parts of the UK and Europe also migrated to Corby to work in the steelworks, and established their own religious and cultural organisations. In the years after World War II Corby had one of the largest Latvian communities in the country, with its own Lutheran church and library, and classes in the Latvian language and culture for children.

The steelworks closed in 1980, but in recent years more migrants have come from Eastern Europe to work in Corby’s newer manufacturing and service sectors. Food has always been an important part of the culture of migrant communities. In the 1930s local shops were soon advertising ‘Scottish specialities’ such as haggis, clootie dumplings and Scottish black pudding, and in Corby Old Village there is now a shop selling Polish food. The Old Village is also the site of the new Corby Heritage Centre that will be opening soon in the former Manor Farm on the High Street, dating from the early 17th century and now Corby’s oldest surviving residential building. 

There are two MuBu projects based in Corby: Our Young Corby at http://www.digitalengagementnetwork.org/ouryoungcorby/ and Cypher, in which young people are collecting images and articles about Corby and adding their own thoughts about what Corby means to them. Find this at http://www.digitalengagementnetwork.org/cypher/.

And if you’d like to try neeps and tatties for yourself, there’s a recipe at http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1677/neeps-and-tatties.

 
 

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A research project that looked at various aspects of food in the East Midlands, linking them with museum displays and objects in the region, and making the results available to as many people as possible in different formats.

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