2018 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.  The dedication and diligence of the Society’s officers is acknowledged with gratitude.

Governing document

The Society is a charitable unincorporated association and the purposes and arrangements for its administration are set out in the constitution.  The committee is aware that the constitution will need reviewing to ensure compliance with the new Data Protection Act.

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 2017 continued with Liz Curtis explaining the origins of place names along the John Muir Way and Ian Malcolm of the Aberlady Conservation Society and Andy Heald of AOC gave a presentation on the extensive finds at Aberlady indicative of an Anglo Saxon presence. Finally in the 2016 / 2017 season of lectures David Affleck talked about curling and how this pursuit at times was in conflict with the Church in the 1800s.

At the AGM there was a display of some of the artefacts discovered as a result of test pits being dug in Dirleton to try and find evidence of medieval Dirleton.  A short explanatory discourse was given by Bill Nimmo.

Roy Johnstone began the season of winter lectures in September 2017 with an eloquent and masterful lecture on the women pilots of World War II and this was followed by Andrew Ramage recounting the life of a farm and railway worker in the late 19th century taken from a diary.  Gordon Findlater told the gruesome story of Burke and Hare who obtained corpses for dissection by medical students. James Herring lectured on the history of shops and shopping in the 1940s which stirred many memories amongst the older members of the audience. In January 2018 a double presentation by Andrew Cassell and Peter Aitchison on the Lowland Clearances was well received.

The outing to Lennoxlove House was enjoyed by about 20 members. The Society is grateful to the guides for the tours one of whom was a Society member.

Research and publications

The Society’s publications have continued to sell particularly with the recent introduction of a series of brief histories the first of which tells the story of banks in Gullane and Dirleton.

Cataloguing of the Society’s archive continued and new historical material added.

Medieval Dirleton.

Old maps of Dirleton suggested that the medieval dwellings were sited at the west end of the current village.  Although the likely position of the buildings now lie under the road digging was carried out to try and find evidence of the medieval period.  Some shards of period pottery were discovered and at the end of the year’s activities evidence suggestive of a waste pit uncovered.  Further investigation will be carried out in the coming season.

Guided tours and an open afternoon were held for the public to view the site and hear about the project.  The Society is indebted to Bill Nimmo, his team of helpers and the willing support of the East Lothian Council Archaeology Service.

Commemorating Drem Airfield

Drem Airfield was an active base for flying operations during two world wars.  The Society has commissioned a commemorative display board giving information about the airfield.  By kind permission of the Fenton Barns Estate it will be placed on their office building in the near future.

 Publicising the Society’s aims and work

Once again a stand giving information on the Society’s aims and activities was taken to the Archaeological Conference in Queen Margaret’s University in November.  Much interest was shown in the mounted material which included for the first time a changing display of digital images.

A number of publications by the Society were sold.

Financial outcome and reserves

Membership of the Society has increased from 70 last year to 87 this year with the welcome return of some previous members adding to a number of new members.  Payment for the Drem airfield commemorative display board resulted in a deficit of £940 in 2017 / 2018.  Publication expenses have fallen slightly as has income from the sales of books from £1,464 to £806.

Plans for the spending of the residual £2,530 following the St Andrew’s Church ruin restoration work are still under discussion.  £3,394 of unrestricted funds are available to the Society.  In addition the Society holds stocks of books, the asset value of which is £1,525.

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               15 March 2018

For a pdf of the Accounts for 2017 / 2018 click here