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1745 Battle Trust's 4th Annual Report: for 2010

A Year illumined by the Prestonpans Tapestry

The Trust's fourth year has been dominated by the design, embroidering and Highlands tour of our Prestonpans Tapestry. The artwork designed by Andrew Crummy and stitched by 200+ embroiderers across the nation and from the diaspora has been an astonishing success with more than 12,000 visitors. Eric Robinson has done justice to the volunteers’ Herculean contributions led by Dorie Wilkie with his dvd Stitches for Charlie and Iain Green of Greentrax assembled a scintillating collection of Music and Songs of the Tapestry on cd. These accompany the 272pp full colour official guidebook The Prestonpans Tapestry published in association with Burke’s Peerage. The tour was led through July/ September by Arran Johnston to whom an enormous debt is owed - with most welcome sponsorship by Barker-Langham.

The Tapestry has catalysed a fundamental reconsideration of the Trustees’ preferred location for the Battle’s eventual Living History Centre. East Lothian Council [ELC] very much favours the Trust bringing its Centre and the putative circular Tapestry Pavilion to Prestongrange Heritage Museum, including the restoration of the old Miners’ BathHouse. Outline plans to this end have now been created by Gareth Bryn-Jones on the condition that ELC itself also takes very significant steps to enhance the extant activities at the Heritage Museum.

The Trust is determined that the Battle Bing, Riggonhead Defile and the battlefield per se must also be conserved and interpreted. On such a basis the Trust is now poised to launch an international Appeal for the necessary funds to provide a permanent Home for the Tapestry at the Heritage Museum. £7m is sought in total.

Petitioning Government

Two Petitions have also been crafted during the calendar year. In January ELC was asked to support the Trust’s overarching purposes and to better address its stewardship of relevant street signage, litter, and care and maintenance of interpretation boards and the Gardiner obelisk. Only modest progress has been achieved so much more needs to be done. However, using balances in the HLF £50,000 Grant three interpretation boards were placed after Dr Tony Pollard’s final archaeological report on the precise location of the initial battle encounter – east of Tranent / Cockenzie road today by Seton Farm. They are to be found at the foot of Tranent Churchyard, at Seton Collegiate and on the northern section of the Waggonway.

The second Petition is to be tabled at year end with the Holyrood Parliament. To give added focus to the Trust’s petition to Parliament a Prospectus to the Nation will be published simultaneously and well as a private exhibition for MSPs at Holyrood in mid December. The Prospectus summarises all that has been achieved thus far in mobilising the community and the nation in support and the Trust’s proposed next steps.

The Scottish Arts Council/ Awards for All programme of School Visits led by Martine Robertson with Adam Watters and Gordon Veitch was well received and is continuing with fresh funds now being sought, and the Tapestry has taken its place as significant artwork alongside the BattleGame. The BattleBus continued to visit Highland Games and Events across Scotland.

Biennial Conference and Annual Re-enactments

June and September also saw important activities. First, the 2nd Biennial National Scottish Battlefields Conference, led by Kristine Cunningham and Herbert Coutts in Prestonpans Town Hall and at the Heritage Museum, was convened with 150+ attendees overall. Kate Hunter’s new portrait of The Prince unveiled to considerable acclaim.

Arran Johnston ensured the September re-enactments were as innovative and exhilarating as ever. The Highlanders marched from Holyrood to Duddingston and the Prince’s Council was then convened there. Cope and his redcoats landed in Dunbar. And the Tapestry saw over 2000 visitors at Prestonpans Community Centre. The encampment and re-enactments this year in Cuthill Park spread across both Saturday and Sunday for the first time to much acclaim from 1500+ visitors and with over 100 re-enactors present. After the now traditional Riggonhead Defile dawn walk, Andrew Hillhouse’s major new painting of that scene was unveiled. Two more have been commissioned for year end depicting Tranent Manse and Cockenzie House at the time of the battle.

Tapestry will continue to tour

Clearly much was achieved in 2010 thanks to many creative initiatives and especially to more than 25,000 hrs of volunteer embroiderer’s time for the Tapestry. Thanks also go to a wide range of private donors including the funding of the direct costs arising for the Prestonpans Tapestry by the retiring Chairman. Trustee Malcolm Scott has also pledged a further donation of £75,000 to the Trust during the coming year.

Accordingly, the Trustees will enter 2011 believing that the time is almost upon them when their ‘dream’ of a Living History Centre, and the associated Tapestry Pavilion, can be finalised. Making a success of the international Funding Appeal will clearly be instrumental to this.

The Tapestry will continue touring to new audiences under Arran Johnston’s leadership and arrangements are already in place in Edinburgh’s Story Telling Centre [February]; Kirkcaldy [May]; and at St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh [June/ August including the Fringe]. Early discussions are in progress to arrange tours in Canada/ USA and Australia/ New Zealand as well as south of the border in England. Touring the Tapestry requires detailed attention to the care and maintenance of the embroidery and Dorie Wilkie, who was Lead Stitcher, has joined the Trustees to ensure, in discussions with artist Andrew Crummy, that we always have wise advice to hand.

Gareth Bryn-Jones Elected as Chairman

The Founding Chairman of the Trust, Dr Gordon Prestoungrange, stands down from that office at the 4th AGM on November 23rd 2010 and is to be thanked for his original vision and initiative with the RSA’s Coffee House Challenge, and his many contributions throughout. He continues as a Trustee whilst the Trustees have elected Gareth Bryn-Jones as their new Chairman. John Curtis of the Alan Breck Regiment as well as Arran Johnston and Dorie Wilkie have joined the Trustees during the year.

The Trust's accounts as a Scottish Charity are available to any member of the public on application to The Secretary, 227 High Street, PRESTONPANS EH32 9BE, for the administrative charge of £25

Published Date: December 8th 2010

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