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Tattie Howkin

Cinema trailer to encourage schoolchildren to help pick the potato harvest

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Children climb aboard buses and trains and arrive at the hostel. They shower and eat a hearty meal, then play football and table tennis. The girls play draughts. The children pick potatoes from the fields, amongst the tractors and horse drawn carts.

Questions & Activities


  • Where do potatoes come from?
  • What other jobs were traditionally done by children?
  • How important are potatoes to Scottish agriculture?
  • What else was happening in 1951 that made tattie howkin even more important?


Social Studies / History: The October week was traditionally a week when kids were allowed to go tattie howkin. The film makes out that tattie howkin was a wonderful holiday camp experience. Find out if this was a true reflection.

International Education: Millennium Development Goals were set in the year 2000. Discuss these goals with regards to child labour around the world.

History (the potato famine) / Emigration and exile: This clip shows how important the potato was to our diet and the economy. Discuss how often children eat some form of potato and our continuing reliance on this agricultural product. Discuss and compare the Irish experience of the potato blight with the Scottish potato famine and the different responses from the authorities in both countries. Then connect this to the issues of economic migration in the 19th century and today.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-153-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 1057
Date 1951
Genre Cinema Trailer, Propaganda
School Subject Social Studies, History
Subject Matter Agriculture, Media
Who COI for the Department of Agriculture for Scotland (sponsor)
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 1:01
Film Length 1:01