Dunfermline Historical Society
Greetings to all Dunfermline Historical Society members!
July this year finds us all in a very odd place! I’m sure you would agree, since March, life has been very strange indeed! Hopefully all DHS members have been able to keep safe during this long and somewhat isolating time.
As I’m sure you remember, in March the DHS Committee decided to cancel all remaining meetings for season 2019-20, also the trip to Thirlestane Castle which was planned for June this year.
At that time this pandemic was in its early stages and no-one was quite sure of the best way forward, however, as events unfurled, we realised we had made the right decision by cancelling our meetings.
Despite the fact there have been no DHS group meetings since February, DHS business has not stopped, and the Committee has continued to hold meetings using Skype sessions. Through these sessions we are able to monitor changing circumstances and discuss the way forward for the Society. There is, however, continuing uncertainty about when and how things can return to normal. As a result the Committee has taken another decision, namely that no DHS group meetings will be held this year of 2020. This, unfortunately, also includes our 50th anniversary celebration, which was due to be held at the Pitbauchlie House Hotel on the evening of our scheduled October meeting, Thursday 15th of that month.
Present thinking is that we may not reconvene until either March or April 2021 at the earliest, allowing the winter and its associated problems to pass. With no guidance as yet on the Abbey Church Hall’s regulations regarding the pandemic, and as a result of ever-changing Government guidelines, it is impossible to predict the way forward in the foreseeable future. Reconvening in March or April 2021 could also mean that those meetings already paid for by members (March, April and May 2020) could be substituted by those same months in 2021 at no extra charge.
Early in 2021 we hope to have a clearer view of the situation, and in the event of any continuing problems, we would probably be looking at reconvening in the new season of September 2021. We hope to transfer our 50th anniversary to October 2021, whatever format is possible at that time.
In the meantime, can I summarise by saying –
• there will be no DHS group meetings this year of 2020.
• earliest DHS meetings are likely to be held in March or April 2021, depending on circumstances by then.
• at the latest we hope to reconvene in September 2021, probably celebrating our 50th anniversary as a 50+1 event in October 2021.
We will of course be back in touch, early in 2021, to inform you of the way forward. In the meantime, we hope you are all keeping well and have been able to get through this difficult time to the best of your ability, and we look forward to seeing you all in the not-too-distant future!
Very best wishes
Cherry Allan (secretary)
Dunfermline Heritage Partnership have recently put on line a set of free, self-guided walking tours round the centre of the town. Tours cover everything from Saint Margaret to The Skids.
Browse round the town at home, or walk round the routes following the tours on your smartphone.
The DHS is a member of the British Association for Local History. They have recently published, for the first time, an e-newsletter and it’s full of links to talks and news. I have reproduced relevant parts of it here, but without the formatting colours and fonts of the original, unfortunately. I have put the links back in, however so I hope you find some of the items interesting. Thanks to the BALH for sending us all this information, it’s much appreciated in the current circumstances.
Welcome to the British Association for Local History’s new e-newsletter!
During these strange and challenging times, we hope every one of you is keeping safe and well.
With normal activity in the local history world on hold for the near future, we have decided to bring forward the first of our new e-newsletters, a feature we were intending to develop later this year, in order to keep in touch with our members, highlight recent developments and to help keep everyone informed and entertained during this unprecedented situation.
This newsletter is designed to work alongside our existing website and social media platforms and to highlight both our own activities and those of other bodies in the world of local history. Hopefully, this will give you a taste of what’s available, and we urge you to follow the links and explore the resources.
David Killingray, Chair of Trustees of BALH, has sent a message in response to the coronavirus crisis, reflecting on what materials will be available for future historians to use in writing the history of Covid-19, while Dr Gill Draper, BALH’s Development Officer, has a wealth of ideas for anyone looking for a new project to occupy their time.
Reading Early Handwriting 1500-1700
If you’re looking to brush up on your palaeography skills, BALH’s latest publication, Reading Early Handwriting 1500-1700 by Mark Forrest, is available via our on-line shop, alongside all our other titles. And don’t forget, BALH members receive a discount on all publications.
Ten Minute Talks
Do you have a subject you would like to share with a wider audience? Or a paper for a conference that has now been cancelled? Then we would love to put it up on our website for everyone to see. For more details and instructions, click here.
The Local Historian – Paywall Suspended
The Local Historian is one of BALH’s two quarterly journals, containing a range of scholarly articles and features on local history issues. BALH has decided to remove the paywall on recent editions until the autumn, to allow full access to the journal while libraries and other facilities are closed.
And don’t forget, all issues of Local History News, BALH’s members’ magazine, are also available on the website as usual.
Living the Poor Life – A Talk by Dr Gill Draper
With so many events cancelled or postponed, we are inviting people who were due to give talks to put them up onto our website, so that they can still be enjoyed. In the first of these, our own Development Officer, Dr Gill Draper, presents a paper scheduled for this year’s Family Tree Live, examining records associated with the poorhouses. This, along with links to various other presentations, is available here.
BALH/HA Local History Teacher Fellowship
This autumn BALH, in partnership with the Historical Association, will be running a Teacher Fellowship Programme focused on developing the teaching of local history at primary and secondary schools. For more details, click here.
Useful Online Resources
A selection of websites to keep everyone busy!
ReadMe – a tool for reading pre-modern handwriting
Community Archives & Heritage Group (CAHG) – a central online resource of advice and guidance for the collection, care, preservation and enjoyment of community archives
Royal Museums Greenwich and The National Archives – get involved in a virtual volunteer project
Watch 85,000 British Pathé films
More material is being added to our website all the time, so check back regularly!
The BALH team
The new edition of the Scottish Local History Forum’s newsletter Clish-Clash is now available.
The latest edition of the Scottish Local History Forum’s newsletter Clish-Clash, is now available.