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PhD student explores Dounreay industrial heritage

PhD student explores Dounreay industrial heritage

Dounreay has played an enormous part in the shaping of Caithness and North Sutherland’s heritage and will continue to do so for the next decade.

Just how important Dounreay was to the local community will be set out when student Linda Ross carries out a PhD study on "The Second Industrial Revolution – An exploration and Analysis of the physical impact of the Dounreay Nuclear Research Establishment on the Far North of Scotland" over the next three and a half years.

Born in Tain and with her experience as senior curator at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine for the last nine years, Linda is well placed to understand the importance of recording and maintaining industrial heritage.

At a kick-off meeting at Dounreay on October 5, Linda said "I hadn’t thought about leaving my job but when saw this position advertised I just knew it was right for me.

“I was delighted when I was offered the position and equally thrilled to accept it".

The PhD is a collaborative doctoral partnership between Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).

Miriam McDonald from HES will take on the role of co-supervisor and Jim MacPherson from UHI will act as Linda’s research co-ordinator.

Jim said "This is a very exciting project and we are currently identifying areas of this research that would be useful for Linda to concentrate on."

Dounreay’s Heritage Officer James Gunn added "This is a unique opportunity to capture our industrial heritage in such a way as we preserve the story for years to come, add value to the site’s heritage strategy and link back into the Dounreay story already housed in Caithness Horizons and the NDA Nuclear Archives.

“The NDA and DSRL see this as a key piece of work and look forward to working with Linda over the next three years."

Linda expects to be busy in the county in the next four to six months gathering information, digging through archives and speaking to local people about their experiences of working at or living near to Dounreay. 

Linda is pictured second from right with (from left) Miriam McDonald, Gordon Reid (Caithness Archives), Alison Mason (Highland Archives), Jim MacPherson and James Gunn.