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B&M Opening in Prestonpans honours the Battle Trust ...thanks for that!

Very nice to be appreciated; sincere thanks to the new staff at B&M store in The Pans

It's true that at first we thought it was the Prestonpans 1745 Battle Trust that had the VIP invitation but it was in fact our federal cousins at Scottish Battlefields Trust [SBT]. And who could begrudge them the honour accorded to them by B&M store staff and Manager Tony Eyoma. We all wish them the very best of good fortune in the new store opening as it does at a somewhat inauspicious time.

It was SBT that led the excellent 2018 re-enactments on behalf of the 1745 Trust in Prestonpans that saw all the Clans that came out with The Prince in 1745 on parade.

The VIP treatment comes just as the SBT reaches its 5th Year and the Trustes Report of its contribution these past 12 months is given below.



The past year has been a highly significant one in the development of the Trust and its missions, moving us forward considerably and helping to highlight the areas which require the most attention. We have enjoyed a number of successful events and initiatives, and continued establishing a reputation with the Scottish press which is helping to raise both our own profile and that of the causes we are supporting. This report focuses on some of the key moments and issues that this busy year has produced.

The HES-supported Dunbar 1650 Project reached its climax in 2019, beginning with an event held to mark the 370th anniversary of the proclamation of King Charles II in February. We contributed display materials, replica uniforms and an object handling box to an exhibition at Dunbar Townhouse Museum, and presented a Meet the Soldiers day to celebrate its launch. In September the battle’s anniversary was marked by a walking tour, a wreath-laying, a commemoration event at the harbour and a weekend of parades, living history and re-enactment displays. The latter, part of our East Lothian Battle Weekends triennial cycle, was achieved in spite of severe budgetary constraints. Whilst smaller than the 2016 event in terms of participant numbers, the programming was more active and diverse, and the overall event more effective as a result. After a number of unexpected delays, the interpretation trail will be installed in Spring 2020 at the project’s completion, whilst archaeological research at Old Lochend House is also now underway. This project has led to partnerships with Durham University, East Lothian Museums, the Cromwell Association and US descendants of prisoners of whom some 40 attended the re-enactments; such engagement strengthens both our credibility and our reach.

The final conclusion of the project will be the tabling of an online toolkit designed to encourage communities to engage with their battlefields and support them with ideas on how to do so. Although we have been initially unsuccessful in a grant application to develop those ideas further and put them into action, it remains important that the Trust looks out to battle sites outside its base looking for opportunities and seeking the new members who will be able to seize them.

The Trust’s advocacy for greater and more effective protection on battlefields has continued in a visible way, ranging from our presence on a public discussion panel on issues facing Culloden 1746 to our involvement in policy consultations with HES, and of course our 6th National Biennial Symposium at Stirling towards the end of the year. Constructive discussions must continue in the spirit of critical friendship, to ensure that historic environment policy can effectively reflect the importance of battlefield heritage in the face of growing pressures for development.

These challenges were again articulated at the public local inquiry into the dualling of the A9 at Killiecrankie 1689, where the Trust gave evidence in support of concerns being raised in the battlefield community. This was an intensive process which required a great deal of work, and whilst there is perhaps only a limited prospect that these efforts were successful they have highlighted the core weakness of the present situation – that there is no demonstration presumption in favour of protection, and that battlefield issues are given no special weighting in the evaluation of proposals. The inquiry process also made it clear that the SBT needs to consider preparing a standard methodology which is used for its assessment of impacts/threats caused by planning applications. This would strengthen our ability to stand toe-to-toe with professional teams who have prepared assessments based on their own criteria, and would also highlight where there are discrepancies (for example, features which we consider to be of value but are not identified as key characteristics in Scottish National Inventory records).

This is just one area which the Trust needs to look into as we move into 2020, our fifth anniversary year. Others include the development of a wider talks and walks programme, to extend our offering beyond our current bases and increase the value of membership, and a more focused effort to build membership generally. We also need to widen the circle of contributors to the quarterly magazine, for whilst we have again produced a year with interesting articles on varied topics, a wider range of voices is needed. Efforts to remedy this are already underway.

Published Date: March 21st 2020

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