2021 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 and Meetings Organiser)

Mrs Margaret McSorley (Treasurer and Press Officer)

Mrs Anne McCarthy (Archivist and Publications Officer)

Mrs Esther Sharpley (Membership Secretary)

Mr Leslie Robertson (Publications Sales Officer)

Mr Andrew Dobson

Mr Bill Nimmo

Mr George Simpson

Mr Eric Thomson

Mr Tom Drysdale

Dr Neil Jones

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.  Neil Jones joined the committee at the start of the year. In a difficult year the enthusiasm and diligence 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.


The lecture programme in the spring of 2020 continued with a presentation of images taken in the early 1900s by William Jackson, General Manager of the North British Railway and amateur photographer. The national crisis due to the spread of coronavirus then intervened and prevented the last planned lecture being delivered. During the summer plans were laid to conduct the Society’s lecture programme using the Zoom platform. Lecturers were found who were willing to deliver their subject virtually.

In September Jim Herring spoke about insights into social history at the time of the stranding of a large number of whales at Thorntonloch in the 1950s. Society member Carol Tweedie dispelled some myths concerning the Scottish Clearances in October and Ailsa Fortune recounted the story behind the acquiring of the Elgin Marbles and the part played by his wife Mary Nisbet.  In December Ruth Boreham gave a prescient account of how Christmas was celebrated during the two world wars. Virtual lectures continued in the New Year of 2021 with Andrew Jepson describing the arts and crafts activities at Stobs Camp by German POWs in WW I. At the end of January Graeme Cavers introduced members to the new laser based form of surveying for hidden and unknown archaeological sites.

The Society is grateful to all these speakers for their enthusiasm and the giving of their time.

The Society took a display to the Heritage Gathering at Cousland on March 14th 2020 Once again attendees enjoyed the hospitality of the Trust members and enjoyed the presentations made by local history organisations.

Research and publications

In spite of the national restrictions on travel and meetings through the diligence and enthusiasm of committee members the Society’s publications have continued to sell steadily. The Society is grateful to dedicated members who continue to produce new studies for publication.

More historical enquiries to the Society’s archive have been received through the website.  In the current national crisis work on listing of the contents of the Society’s archive has been suspended in spite of the threat of the building housing the archive being sold by the East Lothian Council.  Discussions on the way forward to meet this challenge have continued and emergency arrangements planned.

Medieval Dirleton.

No archaeological digging has taken place this year but the time consuming work of writing up the results continues.

Publicising the Society’s aims and work

A Society presence at the Dirleton Fete and Archaeological Conference at Queen Margaret’s University was not possible this year due to the events being cancelled.

As part of the Archaeology Fortnight in September organised by East Lothian Heritage department a member of the Society provided audio-visual presentations based on previously held walks around places and structures of historical interest.

Financial outcome and reserves

Membership of the Society is 80, an increase from last year’s membership of 75.   Publication expenses were significantly lower than last year and income from the sale of books a little lower.

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 pandemic situation.  £4,459 of unrestricted funds are available to the Society.  In addition, the Society holds stocks of books, the asset value of which is £1,615.

The Society’s unrestricted funds were primarily used to pay for insurance, hire of halls, speakers’ fees, 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               16 March 2021

For a pdf of the Accounts for 2020 / 2021 click here