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Battle Trust & Community Council Petition East Lothian Council: January 21st 2010

Subject of Petition: The Better Conservation, Interpretation & Presentation of the Battle of Prestonpans 1745 - to be considered in Haddington January 21st 2010

We, the undersigned … established the Battle of Prestonpans [1745] Heritage Trust in April 2006 and have since that time sought to identify and articulate how all aspects of the battle might be more effectively conserved, interpreted and presented to the Scottish nation at large as a significant element of our history, and to all others who take a keen interest in our affairs. In all these matters we have worked in association with Prestonpans Community Council which also supports this Petition.

The Trust acted as it did because [i] we believe our local community can and should properly act as ‘stewards’ of this element of the nation’s history and [ii] because by so doing we believe considerable socioeconomic benefits will follow for our community as it continues its renaissance on the ‘other’ side of the industrial age in which it was such a key player.

We are able to report considerable progress as a charitable trust with the support of many volunteers locally, for our annual re-enactment programme from England, Ireland and the Czech Republic, as well and for our Tapestry from France and across Scotland. We have received funding from the HLF which has permitted the completion of a battlefield archaeological study by Dr Tony Pollard’s team from Glasgow University; and from the Scottish Arts Council that has enabled a programme of School Visits with a sponsored Story Teller. Young people have also been enabled to learn about the battle in 1745 by competing in the Trust’s BattleGame created by Gordon Veitch and to see exhibitions of the Trust’s work via our converted mobile library, our BattleBus. For the 2009 Homecoming The Prince’s Loyal Clans Exhibition was presented. In 2008 the Trust commissioned and produced across the county and at the Edinburgh Fringe its play – Battle of Pots & Pans – followed in 2009 by Colonel Gardiner: Vice and Virtue. All these and more are captured at the Trust’s website at

Significantly we have also been able to secure private donations to help envision and explore the creation of a Living History Centre at Meadowmill. This has meant [a] an economic feasibility study by RGA which showed it to be potentially ‘viable’; [b] an interior ‘experience’ analysis by haleysharpedesign; and [c] an initial structural site survey and design.

To achieve this ‘Dream’ we will require a substantial sum of capex and we are pleased to be able to report that the Scottish Government through its Minister of Culture has now formally committed to ‘help’ the Trust in the coming years to secure that funding.

Accordingly, our Petition asks:

1. That East Lothian Council, by Resolution of the full Council, gives similar support to that already accorded by the Scottish Government to the Trust’s proposal to create a Living History Centre at Meadowmill – ‘This Council strongly supports the initiatives taken by the Battle of Prestonpans [1745] Heritage Trust in association with Prestonpans Community Council for the more effective conservation, interpretation and presentation of the Battle including its plans to create a Living History Centre at Meadowmill and will give all such support as it reasonably can alongside the Scottish Government to help the Trust and the Community Council achieve their goals.’

2. That East Lothian Council agrees to lease to the Trust or such body as may subsequently be mutually deemed most proper to manage the Centre, the Battle Bing and immediately surrounding lands, for a peppercorn rent;

3. that for the immediate future East Lothian Council will designate a single one of its senior officers to be the ‘key linker’ with the Trust;

4. That within the next twelve months East Lothian Council will undertake and sustain the following activities that, as interest in the Trust’s ‘Dream’ continues to mount, will make its success more likely, viz:
• create/ amend street signage to the Battle Bing including signage on the A1;
• create an interpretation board at the foot of the Bing;
• refurbish the interpretation boards at the summit of the Bing;
• clear the woodland area of all litter;
• place new litter bins and ensure regular collections at the foot of the Bing;
• repair the posts and chains that surround[ed] the obelisk to Colonel Gardiner close by Bankton House and ensure the grass there is regularly cut.

5. That, as plans for the development of Blindwells community proceed with Scottish Coal and other parties, East Lothian Council will ensure that its developers shall give formal and appropriate recognition of the Riggonhead Defile [i.e. street naming and sculpture] along which the Prince’s Highland Clans advanced overnight prior to their attack on September 21st 1745.

6. That as circumstances evolve in respect of Scottish Power and Cockenzie Power station, East Lothian Council will ensure that any and all aspects of the Battle’s conservation that may be extended shall be given proper opportunity so to do including the Waggonway and its final approaches to Cockenzie.

Signed: The Trustees together with leaders of Prestonpans Community Council.

Powerpoint images HERE in support of Petition.

click press cuttings to enlarge

Published Date: December 12th 2009

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