2017 AGM

At the recent AGM of the Society the following Annual report and accounts were presented.



Scottish Charity Number SC037547

Hon. President Mr Michael Cox


Current Committee Members

Dr Michael Thomson (Chairman and Meetings Organiser)

Mrs Margaret McSorley (Treasurer)

Mrs Anne McCarthy (Archivist and Publications Officer)

Mrs Esther Sharpley (Membership Secretary)

Mr Leslie Robertson (Publications Sales Officer)

Mr Jim Sinclair (Press Officer)

Mr Andrew Dobson

Mr Bill Nimmo

Mr George Simpson

Mr Eric Thomson

Mr Tom Drysdale

Contact address:  Dr M Thomson, 26 Erskine Road, Gullane, East Lothian, EH31 2DQ

Recruitment and appointment of Committee Members

The Society’s Committee and Office-bearers are appointed or re-appointed at the Annual General Meeting held at the last meeting of the winter season. The Committee may co-opt members as necessary during the year.  There were no additions or losses from the committee this year.

Governing document

The Society is a charitable unincorporated association and the purposes and arrangements for its administration are set out in the constitution.

Charitable purposes

The objectives of the Society, as set out in the constitution, are to advance the education of the public in the history and heritage of the Gullane and Dirleton locality and the subject of history in general.


The lecture programme in the spring of 2016 proceeded smoothly with Laura Paterson giving a polished exposition on the Devil and Witches and Marie Macpherson introducing the second book in her trilogy of John Knox’s life. At the AGM, as is traditional, a Society member Eric Thomson delivered a talk on the Boer War battles sites. James Waugh began the season of winter lectures in September 2016 with a talk about the Innocent Railway and its development. Derek Janes explained some of the facts behind the myths concerning the smuggling of tea in the 18th century and Mark Nixon gave a lively account of the disturbances associated with the 1884 Reform Acts.  In December Daniel Rhodes of the National Trust updated members on the recent archaeological discoveries in Scotland.

This year two outings were arranged. The print works at Innerliethen provided an insight into old printing methods still being practiced.  Members were interested to hear about the everyday sayings which had arisen from type setting methods.  A trip to Inchcolm Island to tour the Abbey in the lively company of Chris Tabraham was well received.

Research and publications

George Simpson’s third book in a series based on the drawings made of buildings in the late 19th century by MacGibbon and Ross was published by the Society. Entitled ‘Churches and Chapels in East Lothian’ it was launched in time for Christmas sales.  The Publications Sales Officer, Les Robertson has overseen a good year of sales and Margaret McSorley and others have rationalised the Society’s book stocks.

Cataloguing of the Society’s archive continues and new historical material has been added.

More digging in Dirleton.

As part of Archaeology Fortnight the Society organised another archaeological dig at a site in Dirleton where a house was known to have existed in the early 1800s. Whilst little evidence of the house was found a number of unexpected finds were made.  During the week over a 100 people visited the site and there were 16 volunteer diggers.

 Shopping in Gullane.

An exhibition of pictures and text illustrating the changing face of shops in Gullane was mounted in Gullane Village Hall in October. This proved popular and stimulated many memories and reminiscing.  There were over 80 attendances. The Society is indebted to Eric Thomson and George Simpson for leading this event.

Publicising the Society’s aims and work

A stand giving information on the Society’s aims and activities was taken to the Archaeological Conference in Queen Margaret’s University in October. Much interest was shown in the display and a number of publications by the Society were sold.

Financial outcome and reserves

The Society made a surplus of £710 in 2016/17. Membership has decreased a little but the sales of publications has increased from £1,165 to £1,464.  Publication expenses decreased from £1,633 to £1,079.  Gift Aid on subscriptions increased from £163 to £242.

Plans for the spending of the residual £2,530 following the St Andrew’s Church ruin restoration work are being prepared. £4,334 of unrestricted funds are available to the Society.  In addition the Society holds stocks of books, the asset value of which is £1,807.

The Society’s unrestricted funds were primarily used to pay for insurance, hire of halls, speakers’ fees, printing and postage and exhibition expenses.

No remuneration or personal expenses were paid to Committee members during the year.

Approved by the Committee and signed on its behalf

 M.Thomson          Chairman               16 March 2017


Click here for a pdf of the above 2016 Annual report

Click here for a pdf of the 2015 -2016 accounts