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2008 in Perspective at The Battle Trust: Much Done, More To Do

ANNUAL REPORT OF BATTLE TRUSTEES
from the AGM held on 27th November 2008

The campaign to increase awareness of the national need for a permanent living history centre has continued with support from private donations and a Heritage Lottery Fund [HLF] Grant.

In parallel a range of projects have been undertaken to identify how the centre will function effectively. haleysharpedesign were commissioned to examine interior dynamics for the centre which were presented at Holyrood Parliament in September at an Exhibition hosted by Iain Gray, MSP for East Lothian. As the year draws to a close Gareth Bryn-Jones and Darren Barker are now preparing the formal proposal to seek capex funding for the centre.

The awareness campaign has been advanced on several fronts with Andrew Dallmeyer's Battle of Pots and Pans touring East Lothian churches in May and playing successfully at The Fringe in August. The temporary Visitor Centre at Meadowmill in 2007 was followed with a mobile BattleBus that has also toured and for which a schedule of school visits is planned in 2009. These will also publicise the Battle Gaming board and Rules developed during the year for the Trust by Gordon Veitch and associates that allows participants to re-fight the Battle of Prestonpans.

Heritage Lottery Fund Support Received

The HLF Grant received was for £50,000 which is enabling Dr Tony Pollard and the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at Glasgow University to undertake the first ever formal archaeological evaluation in Prestonpans with community assistance for fieldwork; and for battlefield markers to be subsequently erected. It also helped to fund the first of the Trust's proposed biennial Symposia in September chaired by Herbert Coutts at the time of the annual re-enactments which attracted over 50 participants, and on Day 2 some 250 school children. Arising from the Symposium, guide training sessions are being held. Kristine Cunningham is acting as the Executive Trustee for all the HLF activities involved.

Re-enactments again attracted large crowds

The re-enactments on the 263rd Anniversary of the battle commenced with The Prince's Proclamation at the Edinburgh Mercat Cross followed by his Council of War at Duddingston and meeting with the Jenkinson sisters. In Prestonpans the Riggonhead Defile was again walked at 5 am and Colonel Gardiner again mortally wounded at Bankton House. For the first time the Highlanders charged across the Waggonway and other first time re-enactments were presented in Cuthill Park and on the beach at Morrison's Haven as redcoats sought to flee to Pittenweem - with support from Forth Yacht Club. The Trust's Alan Breck Regiment and the Royal British Legion as the Regiment's official Pipes and Drums played their own roles under the leadership of Colonel Martin Margulies and Agitant Adam Watters.

The website has continued throughout the year to report on all activities and the miscellany continues to accumulate @ www.battleofprestonpans1745.org The Trust also offered trenchant comments to Historic Scotland in response to its Consultation Paper on the Protection of Scottish Battlefields, arguing that the Scottish Government should take the matter more seriously and that protection without presentation was unsatisfactory. General Sir Robert Cadell's 1898 book on Sir John Cope was reprinted during the year and the first two novels from Cuthill Press, The Rose and the Thorntree by Roy Pugh and A Backward Glance by Sharon Dabell, have been well received.

Agenda for 2009

During 2009 the Trust's top priority is to table its formal proposal for the Living History Centre with potential funders. This requires ever closer agreement with East Lothian Council and Scottish Power as key stakehoders on the ground.

However further activities that will contribute to the success of such a centre and advance campaign awareness are also planned and funding has been secured to ensure they can be accomplished. High amongst these are The 2009 Homecoming-endorsed 'Clan Exhibition' at The Gothenburg to coincide with the Gathering of the Clans in Edinburgh on July 25th & 26th. All Clans who were out with The Prince at Prestonpans are invited to visit us on July 24th and 27th. We shall inter alia conduct the customary Battlefield Walks, re-enact the Tranent churchyard skirmish and the Camerons' charge on the redcoat canons, and arrange team competitions for the Battle Game.

Plans are currently unfolding for the creation of a 78 metre Prestonpans Tapestry in partnership with the Prestoungrange Arts Festival and to carry it along the route that Bonnie Prince Charlie travelled from St Nazaire/ Eriskay to Prestonpans from July 23rd/ September 21st 1745. Andrew Dallmeyer has been commissioned to write his second play for the Trust on the Life of Colonel Gardiner . A major memorial sculpture is also under discussion to complement the obelisk and cairns created in 1853 and 1953. Finally it is hoped that the Waggonway can be more effectively interpreted and specimen waggons rebult and both Scottish Power and Scottish Coal have agreed to assist in such a scheme.

As such, the Trustees approach 2009 with confidence their campaign can be successful by its target year of 2011.

click on press cutting from East Lothian Courier to enlarge



Published Date: December 4th 2008


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