Chairman’s Report 2018

Attendances have remained encouragingly high for our monthly talks and the Society continues to thrive. I am most grateful to members for their continued support of the Society and especially to the committee team for their efforts in bringing the annual programme of lectures to fruition. Thanks are due to our Secretary Marion Garroch for administrating the programme and for organising the small number of committee meetings. The website is undoubtedly a great asset and Helen Bowick deserves enormous credit for keeping it fresh and relevant. More detailed information on the site about the forthcoming talks is probably one of the main reasons for the increased attendances as well, of course, as the high quality of the talks themselves. The club remains in a healthy financial position thanks to the diligence of Treasurer Donald Cowell. Thanks are due to Ron McHugh for managing the audio system at all the meetings, a major benefit to our continually ageing membership base. Thanks also to David Collin for producing the eye catching posters, to David Devereux for running the magazine library and to both for their advice and guidance on all local history matters. Tania Gardener has provided welcome refreshments for the speaker and chairman and she and Margaret Scott have offered sterling all-round assistance.

This past year has seen the passing of three founder members of the Society: Billy McKeand, our first treasurer Adam Gray and Ian Devlin, both of whom wrote several books of local interest. We remember them with enormous gratitude for all they have done for us.

We have had a most enjoyable and informative series of lectures and I am very grateful to members of the committee who, as well as delivering the votes of thanks, have taken it in turn to write up reports on the talk for the Galloway News and the website. Thanks are also due to Donald for lending us the use of his audio visual equipment for our speakers but we are still investigating the possibility of the Society purchasing its own equipment.

Society members helped carry out a series of excavations in the grounds of Mansewood with the aim of locating more of Tongland Abbey’s buildings. This work is due to recommence on 17th April this year. The results of that work should feature as one of our future talks.

Following a talk last year by Joana Valdez-Tullett from Historic Environment Scotland, several members have also been helping with the ‘Rock Art’ project with detailed recording of ‘cup and ring marks’ in the local area.

The summer Kirkyard Tours continued to attract visitors and locals alike so evening and afternoon tours will again be hosted this coming year. Research by Donald Cowell, David Devereux and others continues to expand the information available about the kirkyard and enhance the visitor experience. These are due to start again in mid-July.

In previous years some members of the History Society took part in The European Ethnology Research Project based at Edinburgh University which involved making recordings of local people. These interviews were then transcribed and there is a link to the project on our website where you can click on the ‘spoken word’ tab to hear parts of the recordings. As a follow-up, the Society is collaborating with Flora McDowall and Hilary Alcock, under the umbrella of the Harbour Cottage Trust, in the ‘Artists Remembered’ project in which local people are being asked to record their memories of the artists who were working here in the 1940s to 1960s period.

I thank you again for your continued support and look forward to another informative and enjoyable session starting in October.