June Trip 2019

Sunday 16th to Tuesday 18th June 2019

Full report, with photos, now available at “On a Wee Highland Daunder“.

This year’s trip will be a two night visit to the Highlands, based at the Coylumbridge Hotel, near Aviemore.

We will set off at 8:15 am from the Glen Car Park, Pittencrieff St, on the morning of Sunday 16th June and travel by coach to Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre (NTS) where we will have a light lunch followed by an afternoon exploring the battlefield and the excellent visitor centre opened in 2008. Those of you with NTS membership please remember to bring your cards, as Culloden and Hugh Millar’s Cottage are NTS sites.

On Monday, we drive across the Kessock Bridge to the Black Isle where we’ll visit Fortrose Cathedral,  Rosemarkie and Cromarty. We’ll have the opportunity to explore the villages and visit some of the excellent local museums such as Groam House, Hugh Millar’s Cottage and the Courthouse museum.

On the final day we will visit Cawdor Castle with plenty of time to explore both the castle and the beautiful gardens. Lunches and snacks are available at the castle’s courtyard cafe. We break our journey home, with a stop for high tea at the Salutation Hotel, Perth.

Looking forward to an excellent trip!

Abertay Historical Society Publications

Those who attended our April 2019 talk “Quite Happy – The Diary of James Fyffe, Cattle Dealer, 1836 – 1840” presented by Prof. Richard Oram, will remember that Richard pointed out that the diary itself is available on line from Abertay Historical Society. In fact they offer a selection of publications on the history of Perth, Dundee and Tayside on their excellent website, as well as many older publications, available as PDFs, to download for no charge.

Photo of Mary Thomson

Photograph of Miss Thomson, for many years Headmistress of Queen Anne Street School

When writing the article about Mary Thomson and the Female Industrial School, a great deal of searching was done to try and find a photograph of Mary or some of her pupils but with no success.   This photograph was found in the Journal Almanac 1913, a copy of which is in the Local History Section of Dunfermline Library.  Mary retired in 1881 and this picture was probably taken around that time.  It is extremely grainy in appearance but perhaps someone has the original print in their photo album? If so please contact the website.

Clish-clash 33

The Scottish Local History Forum has published the latest issue of it’s news-letter “Clish-clash” . Click the link to read it. It contains lots of further links to all sorts of news and articles, including details, found in the Aberdeen City archives, of the first Scottish vessel to cross the Atlantic, in 1596.

New Book “Secret Dunfermline”

By Robin Thompson

Secret Dunfermline
Gregor Stewart
Amberley Publishing, £14.99

Secret Dunfermline is a short account of the history of the town and it’s surrounding area which, as the publisher says,  “delves into the town’s murkier past, blending the serious with the not so serious”.

The book begins with a swift survey of the prehistoric origins, including some interesting discussion on Roman activity in the local area. It then moves on to cover the better known era of Queen Margaret and the beginnings of the town. Unfortunately there is an editing error when Duncan I is referred to as “David” throughout one passage.

The central part of the book covers the Reformation, the reign of James IV and I, the period of the infamous witch trials and the Great Fire. The links between these events are described, including  King James’ interest in, and personal fear of, witchcraft. The origins of the reformation, including the burnings of the protestant martyrs in St. Andrews, are covered and several stories of the persecution of so-called witches show how dark a period of history this was for many.


Photo of a seat outside Dunfermline Abbey Church, believed to have been made from a piece of the original shrine to st. Margaret

A seat outside Dunfermline Abbey Church, believed to have been made from a piece of the original shrine to Queen Margaret

The book then moves forwards again to describe the recovery of the town after the fire. The story of the rise of the linen industry and how the secret of damask weaving was smuggled into Dunfermline from Edinburgh is told, along with the subsequent industrial mechanisation, and later decline. The reasons for the building of Rosyth, the Dockyard and Naval Base are discussed and the last chapter covers the life of Andrew Carnegie.

Secret Dunfermline makes no attempt to be a scholarly work. It is an easy read which provides a lively introduction to the long history of the town. One of it’s strengths is the number of original photographs, 80 across 96 pages, which vividly illustrate the story.


Photo of the Pends Gatehouse where Dunfermline's Linen Industry Started

The Pends Gatehouse where Dunfermline’s Linen Industry Started

Photo of Rosyth Castle

The ruins of Rosyth Castle are now surrounded by the dockyard


Photographs reproduced with permission of the publisher.