Last year’s programme concluded with our outing to Paxton House on 12 May – well attended (18 members) and very enjoyable. The tour guide was excellent and, on that basis, an arrangement has been made with him for this year’s May outing to Berwick upon Tweed. Members will tour the Elizabethan town wall and the Barracks.
Membership is fractionally down at 100 (106 last session). A few new members have mostly compensated for the few who have left the Society, and so we continue to attract new blood.
Average attendance for our meetings to March is 41, with a peak attendance of 52 members. Guests feature regularly, usually in low single figures, although for our October talk with Jon Cooper 22 guests were tallied. Guests continue to provide a source of new members.
Our programme began in September with a revealing analysis by David Caldwell of the mustering and movement of Scottish forces committing to Flodden in 1513.
Following this look at Scottish history in the early 16th century, October’s talk by Jon Cooper to us forward in time to the mid 16th century and the long siege of Haddington 1548/49.
In a complete change of tack, November’s talk, given by Dan Atkinson of Wessex Archaeology, gave some fascinating insights into the archaeological study of ship’s timbers and their re-use. Much of this related to MacArthur’s Store in Dunbar.
Members night concluded 2018 with a presentation on the progress made by Jean Mackinnon on her researches into the 16th Century town archives (some of the work being undertaken by the Sixteenth Century Haddington Research Group), David Elder’s traditional photo quiz, and a viewing of a DVD on the midget submarines now rusting in Aberlady bay.
In January, Helen Spencer’s talk concerned the early Scottish glass industry on the East Coast. In February we enjoyed a talk from Fran Woodrow, John Gray Centre archivist, on her findings in the Town Council minutes from the 16th to 19th centuries and, in March, we were treated to another archaeological talk on the 1722 Tranent/Cockenzie Waggonway. The session’s talk series will conclude this evening with a presentation on Rosslyn Chapel by Ian Gardner.
NB. I prepare summaries of each of our talks and post them in the Syllabus Section of the East Lothian Heritage website.
P R Ramage (Convenor)