2023 AGM

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



Scottish Charity Number SC037547

Current Committee Members

Dr Michael Thomson (Chairman)

Mrs Margaret McSorley (Treasurer and Press Officer)

Mrs Anne McCarthy (Consultant Archivist and Publications Officer)

Mrs Esther Sharpley (Membership Secretary)

Dr Neil Jones (Publications Sales Officer)

Mrs Carol Tweedie (Meetings Organiser)

Mr Leslie Robertson (stood down November 2022)

Mr Bill Nimmo

Mr George Simpson

Mr Eric Thomson

Mr Tom Drysdale

Mr Jonathan Kinna

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.  Andrew Dobson and Les Robertson have stood down from the committee recently. The Society is very grateful for their contributions over a number of years. Once again the enthusiasm and willingness of the current officers of the Society 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.

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.


With the waning of the Covid pandemic and the increasing confidence of members to socialise it has been possible to reintroduce face to face lectures. A full programme was arranged for the 2022-2023 lecture season.

Fear of spreading infection meant the booked early 2022 lectures were postponed but Adrian Muldonado from the National Museums provided an on-line presentation in February with a refreshingly jargon free account of the changed thinking on the early history of Scotland as a result of recent archaeological finds.  This was followed in March with a welcome return to face to face lectures with a talk on Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott by Hamish Reid.

September 2022 saw the return of the usual lecture programme now in the capable hands of Carol Tweedie. Gordon Jamieson gave a detailed account of the life of Robert Burns and his connections with East Lothian. Sandra Goodswen related her long time research on inns and the origins of their signs and in November Olwyn Owen provided new insights into the influence of the Viking migration to Scotland. The restoration and development of an old East Lothian steading was the subject matter delivered by George Mackintosh and in January 2023 Ailsa Fortune was welcomed back to the Society to deliver the story of Mary Wyndham, Countess of Wemyss.

The Society is grateful to all these speakers for their willingness to come and share their knowledge.

Following the lecture by Hamish Reid the Society organised an outing to Abbotsford House. A tour of the house with a lively and enthusiastic guide preceded by scones and coffee was well received.

Research and publications

A new publication compiled from reminiscences held in the Society’s archive was produced under the guidance of George Simpson.

In spite of the reduced opportunities to display the Society’s publications they have continued to sell.

Whilst uncertainties remain over the future storage of the Society’s archival material a start has been made on digitally recording of documents to supplement the existing digital photographic record.

Enquiries through the Society’s website have continued to be received and information has been provided where possible. Digitalisation should make this activity easier in the future.

Publicising the Society’s aims and work

Display panels of old photographs and documents have been mounted in the Gullane library and have stimulated discussion and provided interesting new archival material. The Society is grateful to Jonathan Kinna for writing articles using the reminiscences held in the archive, for the Gullane Village Association newsletters.

As part of the Archaeology Fortnight in September organised by East Lothian Heritage department a member of the Society led three walks around local places and structures of historical interest.

Financial outcome and reserves

Membership of the Society is 69, slightly down on last year. Publication expenses were less in the past year leading to a better balance of income and expenditure.  Neil Jones has sold a good number of books through shops, fairs and other outlets.

Plans for the spending of the residual £2,530 following the St Andrew’s Church ruin restoration work are still intended but not possible to advance in the current Council financial climate.  £5,079.50 of unrestricted funds are available to the Society.  In addition, the Society holds stocks of books, the asset value of which is £1,317

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

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               14 March 2023

For a pdf of the Accounts for 2022 / 2023 click here