Scotland’s Diaspora Tapestry – A project to involve communities around the world in the celebration of Scottish heritage and culture.
A tapestry, to be created by volunteers in communities around the globe. It will be assembled and displayed in Scotland as part of the 2014 Homecoming celebrations.
Scots have migrated all over the world and have often has a profound impact on the areas where they settled. This project will see 25 such communities documenting their Scottish connections on a series of embroidered panels.
Their combined stories will pay homage to the incredible determination and courage of Scots over the centuries.
The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry is the creation of Prestoungrange Arts Festival in Prestonpans with key support from Barons Courts of Prestoungrange & Dolphinstoun, hundreds of stitchers and Scotophiles globally, CreativeScotland, the Scottish Government’s Diaspora Division, EducationScotland, VisitScotland and EventScotland. Copyright rests with Prestoungrange Arts Festival.
Scots have migrated right across the globe. Whilst the Diaspora Tapestry has no wish to limit the future embroidered telling of their exciting stories, decisions had to be made for the first cohorts. Prestonpans two foundation Diaspora artworks with Gothenburg in Sweden and Barga in Italy are being followed by 25 other countries. It is planned that all 27 will be completed by Scotland’s 2014 Homecoming. Within each country just one or two communities have been selected but there is scope for many more to be added in the years ahead.
Other non-Italian Scots have made Barga their home such as the painter John Bellany.
Barga attracts many Scottish visitors, often inspired by the beautiful surroundings to paint and take part in the various music festivals.
Known as the most Scottish town in Italy, 60% of Barga residents have family in Scotland and there is an annual fish and chip festival and a Scotland Week.
Famous Scots-Italians are the singer Paolo Nutini and the football player Johnny Moscardini.
Barga Panel 4: World War 2 and the Arandora Star – When Mussolini declared war against Britain on the 10th June 1940, men born in Italy were interned whilst their brothers served in the allied forces. Eighteen (number to be confirmed) Barghigiani men taken from internment on the Isle of Man, lost their lives when the ship they were on, the Arandora Star was torpedoed by a German U boat. Wanda Bartolomei’s grandfather and grandmother were married by proxy and their children were born both in Barga and Scotland. Wanda recounts the wartime experiences of the four sons: “During WW11, one brother served as an Italian interpreter for the US army, one brother joined the British pioneer corps and my father, Moscardini Galliano and one brother were interned on the Isle of Man.” Her father was selected for deportation to Canada on the Arandora Star with the other internees but fortunately for him, “another man offered to go in his place so that he could stay with his brother.” (interview in Barga)
A memorial garden for the hundreds of people who lost their lives, was opened by the First Minister Alex Salmond and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow Mario Conti. The archbishop comes from Barga.
Barghigiani on the Arandora Star who lost their lives at sea. (Note list is incomplete)
Humbert Alberti da Manchester | Oliviero Agostini di Glasgow | Vincenzo Silvio Bertolini da Glasgow | Ferdinando Biagioni di Glasgow | Giovanni Cosimini di Bellshill | Silvio Da Prato di Glasgow | Nello Ghiloni di Glasgow | Santino Moscardini di Motherwell | Amedeo Poli di Glasgow | Caesar Rocchiccioli di Troon | Giuseppe Togneri di Dumbartonv
Barga Panel 3: “They took the low road” – Bruno Sereni spent four years as a teenager working in the restaurant business in Glasgow. He joined the Internationale Brigade during the Spanish Civil War, 1938/9 and founded the Barga newspaper, Il Giornale di Barga in 1949. It was “the independent voice of unity with the people of Barga abroad”. (They Took the Low Road). Bruno’s son Umberto was the Mayor of Barga before the current mayor. He took part in the signing ceremony for the Twinning Agreement between Prestonpans, Cockenzie, Port Seton and Longniddry and Barga. A memorial to those ‘panners’ who fell with the Internationale Brigade can be found in Prestonpans.
The Casa d’Italia was situated at Park Circus in Glasgow and was initially the Italian consulate. This Italian social club lasted from 1940 to 1989 and it was there that marriage partners were often found. It no longer exists.
Giovanni ‘Johnny’ Moscardini a“Bargo Scozzesi” (1897 – 1985) was born in Falkirk and fought for Italy during WW1. He moved to Barga after the war and played with the “Lucchese” football team and then the Pisa team in the Premier League. Later in his career he played for the Italian National Team as well as other Italian clubs. The football stadium in Barga is named the Johnny Moscardini Football Stadium. He finally retired to Prestwick in Scotland.
The migrants lived extremely frugally and in crowded conditions in Scotland, sending money ‘home’ to pay for family members to join them and also to buy land outside the old town where many of them had come from. Building a villa was a sign of success and prestige. Leonello Castelvecchi’s ‘Villa Moorings’(built 1924) is an excellent testimony to the success of a Barga migrant and is named after ‘The Moorings’, the restaurant in Largs, Ayrshire.
Italian language, culture and education were maintained with visits ‘home’ and children from the same family were often born in either Barga or Scotland. If a parent was unable to make the trip to Barga, children often joined other families in visits back to Barga. These children would have name labels sewn into their clothes and little medals of patron saints to protect them. Carlo Zambonini tells how “half the children would spend time in Barga and the other in Scotland and they would be swopped around.” (from interview in Barga) Migration to Scotland from Barga almost stopped entirely after WW1. The only other spate of migration was for a brief period in 1952, when foresters and farmers from Barga moved over to work on the Duke of Argyll’s estate in Inverary. The Duke had approached the Barga authorities looking for expert foresters. (Bruno Sereni, They took the Low road). source – scottishdiasporatapestry
Barga Panel 2: “We are the sons of a fish and chip men” – Bruno Sereni (“They took the low road”) states that some of these pedlars stayed behind in Scotland where they moved into the icecream and fish and chip business. Most immigrants settled in Paisley, Largs (Ayshire) and Inverness.
Other Barghigiani also joined the migration to Scotland and those who moved to central Scotland faced discrimination for being Catholic.
They were only allowed menial jobs, as trades were reserved for local Protestants.
This encouraged private enterprise and led to fish and chip and ice cream shops.
All necessary ingredients were readily available and cheap. Potatoes were fried in lard before oil became available.
Barga Panel 1 The Plaster Statue Makers – The first emigrants from Barga were the statue makers. Teams of four men and boys, including the oldest sons from poverty stricken families, travelled through northern Italy, Europe and to Britain, eventually moving up to Scotland, from 1860s ti the early 1900’s. A barrow containing moulds, plaster and paint provided them with the means to manufacture domestic religious statues. According to Carlo Zambonini ( decendent of a Barghigiani family), the story is that there was not much demand for catholic iconography, so one of the statues would be painted red to look like John Knox. Bruno Serini (“the took the low road “) states that the statues were modified to look like Giuseppe Garibaldi for the protestants and St Patrick for the Catholics.
Panel 1 Embroiderers
Lucia Pieroni | Lia Baldacci | Federica Caproni | Roberta Carradini | Maria Elena Caproni