An ‘Enlightened’ Archaeology Fortnight!!

Well that’s it folks, another year, another two weeks of East Lothian Archaeology & Local History Fortnight over, and what a glorious two weeks it has been!

We finished up almost on a similar theme to how we started, thinking about East Lothian during that creative period of Scottish history, The Age of Enlightenment. We heard about the role that East Lothian played during the 18th century, its battles of rebellion, grand house-building, and the cutting edge of agricultural improvement, and then actually went out ‘into the field’ and saw how these changes played out in terms of East Lothian’s landscape and its architecture.

Discovering Saltoun Hall Designed Landscape

Discovering Saltoun Hall Designed Landscape

Beautiful Balgone Estate

Exploring the beautiful Balgone Estate

Across the fortnight, there has been a huge range of other walks, talks, exhibitions and events, showcasing the many fascinating, but often little-known aspects of East Lothian’s rich and varied heritage. From the turbulent and important medieval past of the now sleepy hamlet of Morham, to the history of the seven bridges of Musselburgh, through to the excavations at Dirleton Paddock dig, we’ve been entertained, engaged, and most certainly ‘enlightened’ throughout the last two weeks! What has also been apparent, is how well the combination of talking and thinking about some of these subjects marries with the getting out and about, walking around and seeing things for yourself-and even better if both activities can be combined with tea, coffee and some good old homemade cake!

Delving into early medieval evidence at Morham Church

Delving into early medieval evidence at Morham Church

Contemplating some later prehistoric 'grand-designs' - North Berwick Law hillfort...!

Contemplating some later prehistoric ‘grand-designs’ – North Berwick Law hillfort!

From all of us here at the Archaeology Service, we’d like to say, once again, a big thank you to all the individuals, societies and local groups who contributed to this year’s fortnight. We are hugely grateful for all your hard work and continuing support, and we are looking forward to next September already! Bring it on!

If you are beginning to pine for the joy of sharing all things archaeology and history-related, fear not! Our annual Edinburgh, Lothians & Borders Archaeology Conference is just around the corner waiting to say hello in November, so do come along to what promises to be another ‘enlightening’ day packed full of great talks-just click on the link here for further information! www.eastlothian.gov.uk/archaeologyconf2016

The post An ‘Enlightened’ Archaeology Fortnight!! appeared first on John Gray Centre.

Film Appreciation – How does your garden grow?

Luffness House Garden the scotsman

Luffness House garden (courtesy of The Scotsman)

The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.”

(George Bernard Shaw)

          The Film Appreciation Club (FAC@JGC) will be having its fourth screening and discussion on Thursday, September 22nd 2016. As part of John Gray Centre’s audience development initiative, the theme for this screening – ‘garden life’ – is in keeping with an exhibition in the temporary gallery of the John Gray Centre Museum. This exhibition, which runs from August 13th 2016 to January 10th 2017, features stories, objects and images from East Lothian’s gardening heritage, focusing on three contemporary community gardening projects. The film we are screening focuses on a group of gardeners at an allotment, who react angrily when a group of refugees are given plots at their favourite site.

          The importance of landscape and gardens in cultural history is evident in films, even though the 19th century fascination with wilderness and nature increasingly gave way to a focus on cityscape and city life. Any exposure to modern cinema clearly shows that landscape, in general terms and in more traditional depictions of wild and rural scenes, is virtually indispensable to film pleasure. This is especially obvious in the Western, of course, but is also true of all commercial film genres. From proposals to murderous hunts through mazes, some of the most memorable scenes in movies have taken place in a garden.

Mae Wright's vegetable garden 1950 (Gordon Collection, Archive & Local History Service)

Mae Wright’s vegetable garden 1950 (Gordon Collection, Archive & Local History Service)

          There are many movies that can be categorised as horticultural cinema in which gardening is a monumental part of the film because the entire story hinges on the garden and what magic occurs there. But more often than not, the garden is part of the film’s mise en scène. Mise en scène, which literally means “put in the scene”, refers to the totality of the world created within the film through all devices available to the filmmaker, such as framing, composition, lighting, sound, set and action. Films always frame what they seek to portray and therefore the crafting of the mise en scène is the design of a cinematic space. Likewise, garden designers imagine and display a similar dexterity in the making of spaces that serve to highlight a certain garden narrative.

          Most garden films, however, resemble garden magazines with a horticultural and photogenic emphasis. It is perhaps this “impressionism” of the cinematic landscape that so strongly commands our attention. But does it matter that a lot of movie gardens are overdone? We are used to accepting artful pretence in other realms. The photographers from House Beautiful and Architectural Digest utilise designers who add better lampshades and prettier pillows to the décor in a photo-shoot. Fashion magazines airbrush away the imperfections of male and female bodies. For the garden, however, those ideals might not only be meant to dazzle but also to inspire.

Spott House (Archive & Local History Collection)

Spott House (Archive & Local History Collection)

          The notion of landscape and gardens is a complex one, of course, but however it is defined, gardens have been central to cinematic art and artistry. Since gardens are both natural and artificial, we need to consider the relationship between nature and the built environment. Beyond this, gardens serve worldwide as metaphors for human life. So how do we use gardens to extend our definitions of home, country or nation? And as for garden specific movies, what is the message about the work of gardening, wheelbarrows and pruners, hopes and dreams? Perhaps the significance is that gardening is difficult but satisfying, and that even if it does not achieve perfection, it is yours.

          So do come and join us for a wonderful evening of visual pleasure and vibrant conversation about people and their relationships with gardens. Doors open at 6.30pm and screening starts at 7pm. Screenings are free-of-charge to members and £3 (donation towards costs) to non-members. More importantly, there will be popcorn, biscuits and refreshments available!  And look out for my next blog on our film in October commemorating Black History Month.

The post Film Appreciation – How does your garden grow? appeared first on John Gray Centre.

September Weekend

The September Weekend is approaching. That long weekend where you can spend some quality time with your kids once the new term has started.

Summer has gone and it’s getting a little colder and a little wetter, but the trees are changing colour into a wonderful display of autumnal fireworks. With lovely reds and browns and greens turning the landscape ablaze with colour.

At this time of year, we like to get arty and we are going to share that with you.

Our resident nature person has come up with a great wee autumn themed craft for you and your little one to make. And we are all busy getting them prepared for the weekend ahead!

Autumn Leaf wreath

 

Come along this weekend and have a go at making an Autumnal wreath! Easy to make and they look great too! We’ll provide all the bits and bobs (but if you want to bring some leaves that you have found, mores the better!)

The John Gray Centre museum will be open as normal over the September Weekend.

The post September Weekend appeared first on John Gray Centre.

Memories of Haddington’s Nungate & Afternoon Tea

This year Haddington History Society has been working on a project recording memories of people who were brought up or lived in Haddington’s Nungate, and copies of the interviews have been deposited here at the John Gray Centre.   Perhaps the most striking thing that comes across is the strong sense of community associated with the Nungate.   People have happy memories of growing up– it was a tough place to grow up, but it was also a great place.

The Nungate was and still is a close-knit community with a strong sense of identity, set apart from Haddington. Indeed Nungate and Giffordgate was a separate barony and until recent times it was the custom for a Nungate Baillie to be elected to the Town Council to represent the interests of the people.

 

The Nungate Bridge, c1900s

The Nungate Bridge, c1900s

The village was separated from Haddington by the picturesque Nungate Bridge, thought to be one of the oldest bridges in Scotland. For centuries the bridge was the only means by which wheeled traffic could cross the Tyne at Haddington, unless by the Ford at the Sands. Carrying one of the main routes into Scotland, it was at the mercy of invading armies and was severely damaged during the siege of Haddington in 1548.

John Martine in his Reminiscences of The Royal Burgh of Haddington, first published in the 1880s writes: “The Nungate Bridge has been the scene of many a ‘bicker’ between the Haddington and Nungate boys, especially during the time of a snow-storm”. The rivalry between the ‘Nungate boys’ and the ‘Haddington boys’ was still evident in the 1930s and 1940s (and much later) when many of those interviewed for the project were growing up – “there were often wee bits of scraps”.  The boys from the Nungate were identifiable by their tackety boots while the ‘townies’ wore shoes.  The Nungate boys often felt that they were looked down on by the Haddington boys on the other side of the river.  One interviewee clearly remembers walking up to his granny’s house in Haddington when boys playing football stopped their game: “lift the ball, lift the ball, here’s somebody from the Nungate”.

 

Perhaps these attitudes stemmed from the fact that many of the original inhabitants of the Nungate appeared to come from hawkers and travelling people who settled there. The hawkers sold goods which they made themselves but many people were wary of them.  There were also lodging houses which provided homes for labourers, many from Ireland, and although these men were hardworking people, even the Nungate boys were scared of them:“We used to come back from school and we came over the old Nungate Bridge and once we got near the lodging house we used to run like the clappers and get away past them”.

Painting by Thomas Todrick looking East from Nungate Bridge. The tall roof marks one of the lodging houses.

Painting by Thomas Todrick looking East from Nungate Bridge. The tall roof marks one of the lodging houses.

 

But it was this itinerant community which gave the Nungate something else which made it such a close-knit community, it’s own kind of language known as ‘the Cant’. The Cant is the jargon of the Scottish travelling people and it spread easily into the Nungate.  Some of the words are still in use today, here are just a few examples.  A gourie or gadgie was a man and “If you were a fine chappie you were a bari gadgie”.  A manishie was a  girl or woman; guddies were sweeties; the word for pollce was stardie and yerrackan was an Irishman.

The children from the Nungate crossed the bridge to go to school in Haddington but otherwise the village was quite self sufficient with it’s own pub – The Golf Tavern or the Long Bar, and several shops. One shop keeper everyone remembers was Lizzie Barrie.  Quite a character Lizzie would use  a hooked stick to bring down the items her customers requested from the higher shelves, she never missed.

 

Lizzie Barrie outside her shop

Lizzie Barrie outside her shop

To find out more about the Nungate Memories project why not come along to our Family History Day here at the John Gray Centre, Haddington on Saturday 10th September.  We have a full programme of events including children’s activities .  Between 2pm and 3.30pm we are holding an Afternoon Tea where there will be a chance to view our Nungate Memoryscape  – a short film made up of Nungate memories and photographs from our collections.  East Lothian Shorts – film footage of East Lothian from our collections – will also be screened.  Tickets for Afternoon Tea are £2 (all proceeds go to the Sick Kids Hospital) and should be bought in advance from the John Gray Centre, or contact the Archive and Local History team on 01620 820695 or history@eastlothian.gov.uk  to reserve your tickets.

A big thank you to Haddington History Society and all the people who have been interviewed for the project. The History Society is keen to interview more people about their memories of the Nungate, especially women.  If you can help please contact the Archive and Local History Centre.

 

 

The post Memories of Haddington’s Nungate & Afternoon Tea appeared first on John Gray Centre.

Memories of Haddington’s Nungate & Afternoon Tea

This year Haddington History Society has been working on a project recording memories of people who were brought up or lived in Haddington’s Nungate, and copies of the interviews have been deposited here at the John Gray Centre.   Perhaps the most striking thing that comes across is the strong sense of community associated with the Nungate.   People have happy memories of growing up– it was a tough place to grow up, but it was also a great place.

The Nungate was and still is a close-knit community with a strong sense of identity, set apart from Haddington. Indeed Nungate and Giffordgate was a separate barony and until recent times it was the custom for a Nungate Baillie to be elected to the Town Council to represent the interests of the people.

 

The Nungate Bridge, c1900s

The Nungate Bridge, c1900s

The village was separated from Haddington by the picturesque Nungate Bridge, thought to be one of the oldest bridges in Scotland. For centuries the bridge was the only means by which wheeled traffic could cross the Tyne at Haddington, unless by the Ford at the Sands. Carrying one of the main routes into Scotland, it was at the mercy of invading armies and was severely damaged during the siege of Haddington in 1548.

John Martine in his Reminiscences of The Royal Burgh of Haddington, first published in the 1880s writes: “The Nungate Bridge has been the scene of many a ‘bicker’ between the Haddington and Nungate boys, especially during the time of a snow-storm”. The rivalry between the ‘Nungate boys’ and the ‘Haddington boys’ was still evident in the 1930s and 1940s (and much later) when many of those interviewed for the project were growing up – “there were often wee bits of scraps”.  The boys from the Nungate were identifiable by their tackety boots while the ‘townies’ wore shoes.  The Nungate boys often felt that they were looked down on by the Haddington boys on the other side of the river.  One interviewee clearly remembers walking up to his granny’s house in Haddington when boys playing football stopped their game: “lift the ball, lift the ball, here’s somebody from the Nungate”.

 

Perhaps these attitudes stemmed from the fact that many of the original inhabitants of the Nungate appeared to come from hawkers and travelling people who settled there. The hawkers sold goods which they made themselves but many people were wary of them.  There were also lodging houses which provided homes for labourers, many from Ireland, and although these men were hardworking people, even the Nungate boys were scared of them:“We used to come back from school and we came over the old Nungate Bridge and once we got near the lodging house we used to run like the clappers and get away past them”.

Painting by Thomas Todrick looking East from Nungate Bridge. The tall roof marks one of the lodging houses.

Painting by Thomas Todrick looking East from Nungate Bridge. The tall roof marks one of the lodging houses.

 

But it was this itinerant community which gave the Nungate something else which made it such a close-knit community, it’s own kind of language known as ‘the Cant’. The Cant is the jargon of the Scottish travelling people and it spread easily into the Nungate.  Some of the words are still in use today, here are just a few examples.  A gourie or gadgie was a man and “If you were a fine chappie you were a bari gadgie”.  A manishie was a  girl or woman; guddies were sweeties; the word for pollce was stardie and yerrackan was an Irishman.

The children from the Nungate crossed the bridge to go to school in Haddington but otherwise the village was quite self sufficient with it’s own pub – The Golf Tavern or the Long Bar, and several shops. One shop keeper everyone remembers was Lizzie Barrie.  Quite a character Lizzie would use  a hooked stick to bring down the items her customers requested from the higher shelves, she never missed.

 

Lizzie Barrie outside her shop

Lizzie Barrie outside her shop

To find out more about the Nungate Memories project why not come along to our Family History Day here at the John Gray Centre, Haddington on Saturday 10th September.  We have a full programme of events including children’s activities .  Between 2pm and 3.30pm we are holding an Afternoon Tea where there will be a chance to view our Nungate Memoryscape  – a short film made up of Nungate memories and photographs from our collections.  East Lothian Shorts – film footage of East Lothian from our collections – will also be screened.  Tickets for Afternoon Tea are £2 (all proceeds go to the Sick Kids Hospital) and should be bought in advance from the John Gray Centre, or contact the Archive and Local History team on 01620 820695 or history@eastlothian.gov.uk  to reserve your tickets.

A big thank you to Haddington History Society and all the people who have been interviewed for the project. The History Society is keen to interview more people about their memories of the Nungate, especially women.  If you can help please contact the Archive and Local History Centre.

 

 

The post Memories of Haddington’s Nungate & Afternoon Tea appeared first on John Gray Centre.

Memories of Haddington’s Nungate & Afternoon Tea

This year Haddington History Society has been working on a project recording memories of people who were brought up or lived in Haddington’s Nungate, and copies of the interviews have been deposited here at the John Gray Centre.   Perhaps the most striking thing that comes across is the strong sense of community associated with the Nungate.   People have happy memories of growing up– it was a tough place to grow up, but it was also a great place.

The Nungate was and still is a close-knit community with a strong sense of identity, set apart from Haddington. Indeed Nungate and Giffordgate was a separate barony and until recent times it was the custom for a Nungate Baillie to be elected to the Town Council to represent the interests of the people.

 

The Nungate Bridge, c1900s

The Nungate Bridge, c1900s

The village was separated from Haddington by the picturesque Nungate Bridge, thought to be one of the oldest bridges in Scotland. For centuries the bridge was the only means by which wheeled traffic could cross the Tyne at Haddington, unless by the Ford at the Sands. Carrying one of the main routes into Scotland, it was at the mercy of invading armies and was severely damaged during the siege of Haddington in 1548.

John Martine in his Reminiscences of The Royal Burgh of Haddington, first published in the 1880s writes: “The Nungate Bridge has been the scene of many a ‘bicker’ between the Haddington and Nungate boys, especially during the time of a snow-storm”. The rivalry between the ‘Nungate boys’ and the ‘Haddington boys’ was still evident in the 1930s and 1940s (and much later) when many of those interviewed for the project were growing up – “there were often wee bits of scraps”.  The boys from the Nungate were identifiable by their tackety boots while the ‘townies’ wore shoes.  The Nungate boys often felt that they were looked down on by the Haddington boys on the other side of the river.  One interviewee clearly remembers walking up to his granny’s house in Haddington when boys playing football stopped their game: “lift the ball, lift the ball, here’s somebody from the Nungate”.

 

Perhaps these attitudes stemmed from the fact that many of the original inhabitants of the Nungate appeared to come from hawkers and travelling people who settled there. The hawkers sold goods which they made themselves but many people were wary of them.  There were also lodging houses which provided homes for labourers, many from Ireland, and although these men were hardworking people, even the Nungate boys were scared of them:“We used to come back from school and we came over the old Nungate Bridge and once we got near the lodging house we used to run like the clappers and get away past them”.

Painting by Thomas Todrick looking East from Nungate Bridge. The tall roof marks one of the lodging houses.

Painting by Thomas Todrick looking East from Nungate Bridge. The tall roof marks one of the lodging houses.

 

But it was this itinerant community which gave the Nungate something else which made it such a close-knit community, it’s own kind of language known as ‘the Cant’. The Cant is the jargon of the Scottish travelling people and it spread easily into the Nungate.  Some of the words are still in use today, here are just a few examples.  A gourie or gadgie was a man and “If you were a fine chappie you were a bari gadgie”.  A manishie was a  girl or woman; guddies were sweeties; the word for pollce was stardie and yerrackan was an Irishman.

The children from the Nungate crossed the bridge to go to school in Haddington but otherwise the village was quite self sufficient with it’s own pub – The Golf Tavern or the Long Bar, and several shops. One shop keeper everyone remembers was Lizzie Barrie.  Quite a character Lizzie would use  a hooked stick to bring down the items her customers requested from the higher shelves, she never missed.

 

Lizzie Barrie outside her shop

Lizzie Barrie outside her shop

To find out more about the Nungate Memories project why not come along to our Family History Day here at the John Gray Centre, Haddington on Saturday 10th September.  We have a full programme of events including children’s activities .  Between 2pm and 3.30pm we are holding an Afternoon Tea where there will be a chance to view our Nungate Memoryscape  – a short film made up of Nungate memories and photographs from our collections.  East Lothian Shorts – film footage of East Lothian from our collections – will also be screened.  Tickets for Afternoon Tea are £2 (all proceeds go to the Sick Kids Hospital) and should be bought in advance from the John Gray Centre, or contact the Archive and Local History team on 01620 820695 or history@eastlothian.gov.uk  to reserve your tickets.

A big thank you to Haddington History Society and all the people who have been interviewed for the project. The History Society is keen to interview more people about their memories of the Nungate, especially women.  If you can help please contact the Archive and Local History Centre.

 

 

The post Memories of Haddington’s Nungate & Afternoon Tea appeared first on John Gray Centre.

The Growing Importance of Gardening

A review of The Garden of Scotland, East Lothian’s Community Gardening Heritage exhibition by Susannah Jennings, Museum Assistant and Environmental Resource Management Student.

 

A new free exhibition has just begun in the temporary exhibition gallery, running from the 13th of August until the 10th January 2017, this exhibition explores stories, objects and photographs from East Lothian’s gardening heritage, and inspires, with displays discussing three contemporary community gardening projects.  As usual, children are catered for, we have colouring activities, garden design and fuzzy felts to keep the little ones entertained.

Personally, I love this exhibition because it combines my interests: heritage, working with communities, gardening and the environment.

WP_20160715_001The exhibition explores the heritage of the area by looking at local Untitled pioneers’ in horticultural knowledge, including Henry Prentice, one of the first market gardeners (famous for peas and potatoes!) Robert Brotherson, who contributed 165 articles on horticulture between 1871 and 1881, and John Abercrombie who wrote his first gardening book in 1767. The exhibition celebrates the people that established East Lothian’s gardening heritage, the portrait on the left is Robert Brotherson and the photograph on the right is of me in a community orchard that I set up in West Lothian.

IMG0069

The exhibition shows objects associated with gardening achievements, such as an invoice from John Gillies, known as the ‘cabbage king’, who once managed to harvest one million plants in a day! There are also formal objects from the Ancient Fraternity of Free Gardeners, such as the jug shown left.

 

 

sm IMG0059How well East Lothian did at gardening is also demonstrated bysm IMG0033 pictures that show local people’s success, such as the group pictured below in Robertson’s Market Garden, on the left as well as strawberry pickers in Musselburgh, shown on the right, both pictures were taken in 1935.

 

As a past Countryside Ranger and an environmental student I have learned that since the Second World War, the environmental damage caused by the intensification of agriculture and industry has had dramatic negative effect on our natural heritage. East Lothian’s traditions and knowledge regarding growing food are particularly useful now. The exhibition celebrates three groups that are ensuring that this knowledge will be available to future generations. These groups are: the New Beginnings plot to pot project, the Glebe Greenspace Community Project (Athelstaneford) and Belhaven Community Garden, which is part of Sustaining Dunbar. All these projects have helped to create beautiful gardens, grow food for local areas, and well as manage a peaceful place for the community.

Tranent_127IMG_20151010_171136Thumbnail Belhaven_138

 

 

 

 

 

We hope to see as many people as possible for this exhibition…who knows you might grow some green fingers too!

The post The Growing Importance of Gardening appeared first on John Gray Centre.

The Growing Importance of Gardening

A review of The Garden of Scotland, East Lothian’s Community Gardening Heritage exhibition by Susannah Jennings, Museum Assistant and Environmental Resource Management Student.

 

A new free exhibition has just begun in the temporary exhibition gallery, running from the 13th of August until the 10th January 2017, this exhibition explores stories, objects and photographs from East Lothian’s gardening heritage, and inspires, with displays discussing three contemporary community gardening projects.  As usual, children are catered for, we have colouring activities, garden design and fuzzy felts to keep the little ones entertained.

Personally, I love this exhibition because it combines my interests: heritage, working with communities, gardening and the environment.

WP_20160715_001The exhibition explores the heritage of the area by looking at local Untitled pioneers’ in horticultural knowledge, including Henry Prentice, one of the first market gardeners (famous for peas and potatoes!) Robert Brotherson, who contributed 165 articles on horticulture between 1871 and 1881, and John Abercrombie who wrote his first gardening book in 1767. The exhibition celebrates the people that established East Lothian’s gardening heritage, the portrait on the left is Robert Brotherson and the photograph on the right is of me in a community orchard that I set up in West Lothian.

IMG0069

The exhibition shows objects associated with gardening achievements, such as an invoice from John Gillies, known as the ‘cabbage king’, who once managed to harvest one million plants in a day! There are also formal objects from the Ancient Fraternity of Free Gardeners, such as the jug shown left.

 

 

sm IMG0059How well East Lothian did at gardening is also demonstrated bysm IMG0033 pictures that show local people’s success, such as the group pictured below in Robertson’s Market Garden, on the left as well as strawberry pickers in Musselburgh, shown on the right, both pictures were taken in 1935.

 

As a past Countryside Ranger and an environmental student I have learned that since the Second World War, the environmental damage caused by the intensification of agriculture and industry has had dramatic negative effect on our natural heritage. East Lothian’s traditions and knowledge regarding growing food are particularly useful now. The exhibition celebrates three groups that are ensuring that this knowledge will be available to future generations. These groups are: the New Beginnings plot to pot project, the Glebe Greenspace Community Project (Athelstaneford) and Belhaven Community Garden, which is part of Sustaining Dunbar. All these projects have helped to create beautiful gardens, grow food for local areas, and well as manage a peaceful place for the community.

Tranent_127IMG_20151010_171136Thumbnail Belhaven_138

 

 

 

 

 

We hope to see as many people as possible for this exhibition…who knows you might grow some green fingers too!

The post The Growing Importance of Gardening appeared first on John Gray Centre.

The Growing Importance of Gardening

A review of The Garden of Scotland, East Lothian’s Community Gardening Heritage exhibition by Susannah Jennings, Museum Assistant and Environmental Resource Management Student.

 

A new free exhibition has just begun in the temporary exhibition gallery, running from the 13th of August until the 10th January 2017, this exhibition explores stories, objects and photographs from East Lothian’s gardening heritage, and inspires, with displays discussing three contemporary community gardening projects.  As usual, children are catered for, we have colouring activities, garden design and fuzzy felts to keep the little ones entertained.

Personally, I love this exhibition because it combines my interests: heritage, working with communities, gardening and the environment.

WP_20160715_001The exhibition explores the heritage of the area by looking at local Untitled pioneers’ in horticultural knowledge, including Henry Prentice, one of the first market gardeners (famous for peas and potatoes!) Robert Brotherson, who contributed 165 articles on horticulture between 1871 and 1881, and John Abercrombie who wrote his first gardening book in 1767. The exhibition celebrates the people that established East Lothian’s gardening heritage, the portrait on the left is Robert Brotherson and the photograph on the right is of me in a community orchard that I set up in West Lothian.

IMG0069

The exhibition shows objects associated with gardening achievements, such as an invoice from John Gillies, known as the ‘cabbage king’, who once managed to harvest one million plants in a day! There are also formal objects from the Ancient Fraternity of Free Gardeners, such as the jug shown left.

 

 

sm IMG0059How well East Lothian did at gardening is also demonstrated bysm IMG0033 pictures that show local people’s success, such as the group pictured below in Robertson’s Market Garden, on the left as well as strawberry pickers in Musselburgh, shown on the right, both pictures were taken in 1935.

 

As a past Countryside Ranger and an environmental student I have learned that since the Second World War, the environmental damage caused by the intensification of agriculture and industry has had dramatic negative effect on our natural heritage. East Lothian’s traditions and knowledge regarding growing food are particularly useful now. The exhibition celebrates three groups that are ensuring that this knowledge will be available to future generations. These groups are: the New Beginnings plot to pot project, the Glebe Greenspace Community Project (Athelstaneford) and Belhaven Community Garden, which is part of Sustaining Dunbar. All these projects have helped to create beautiful gardens, grow food for local areas, and well as manage a peaceful place for the community.

Tranent_127IMG_20151010_171136Thumbnail Belhaven_138

 

 

 

 

 

We hope to see as many people as possible for this exhibition…who knows you might grow some green fingers too!

The post The Growing Importance of Gardening appeared first on John Gray Centre.

Olympics Fever!

This year, the 2016 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil between 5 and 21 August – the first summer games ever to be held in South America. These international games, organised by the International Olympic Committee, occur every four years and were first held in Athens in 1896.  Out of the 18 countries that have hosted the Summer Olympics over the years, Great Britain has hosted the Games three times, the most recent being in London in 2012.

Origins of the Musselburgh Arrow, written in 1726

Origins of the Musselburgh Arrow, written in 1726

East Lothian itself has a long history of sporting tradition, most notably in terms of golf and

Royal Company of Archers, 30 July 1964

Royal Company of Archers, 30 July 1964

archery, which have been established for centuries. Others sports include bowling, curling, boxing and horse racing, to name but a few.  The county is home to the oldest sporting competition in the world, The Silver Musselburgh Arrow, the first arrow having being shot in 1603.  Every year since 1713, members of The Royal Company of Archers, the Queen’s Bodyguard in Scotland, have shot for the Musselburgh Silver Arrow.  The existing trophy is a replacement for the Musselburgh Small Arrow and the sport of archery is still followed in the county.

 

East Lothian also claims what is thought to be the oldest golf club in the world and the oldest on which play has been continuous, Musselburgh Links. It is reputed that Mary, Queen of Scots herself played here in 1567.  Although St. Andrews is commonly thought to be the home of golf, East Lothian and, in particular, Musselburgh, certainly give St. Andrews a run for its money!  For instance, the rules of the Honourable Company of Golfers were drawn up in 1744, a good 10 years before any golf club at St. Andrews was established.  In 1829, a hole-cutter was acquired for Musselburgh Links Golf course which set the standard for the size of the putting hole used today.  Interestingly, there are also reports that the Musselburgh Fishwives played golf as early as 1791, long before it was a fashionable pastime for women.  Indeed, the world’s first recorded women’s tournament took place in Musselburgh in 1811.

Start of a race at Musselburgh Racecourse, c. 1985

Start of a race at Musselburgh Racecourse, c. 1985

Musselburgh, of course, is also well-known for its horse-racing and Musselburgh Racecourse is one of the town’s most famous attractions. Horse-racing has a long history in the town with The Royal Caledonian Hunt’s first races taking place in 1777.  The Racecourse forms part of Musselburgh Links which includes and was built around the golf course in 1816. Horse-racing has taken place at the Racecourse for 200 years and today boasts over 20 races a year, over both flat and jumps.

Members of Haddington Bowling Club, c. 1920

Members of Haddington Bowling Club, c. 1920

Another claim to fame comes in the form of Haddington Bowling Club, the oldest of its kind in Scotland. Haddington had its green in the 1660s, subsequently moving in 1749 to a site on the west bank of the River Tyne, near the Nungate Bridge.  The foundation of the Haddington Club in 1709 was considered by some to mark the beginnings of the modern sport.  The East Lothian Bowling Association was founded in 1883 when 11 clubs joined together to become founder members.  Lawn bowling has continued to remain a popular pastime and, over the years, a number of East Lothian bowlers have competed at various levels, most notably perhaps, Willie Wood.  Amongst his achievements are two Commonwealth Games gold medals, two World Bowls Championship runner-up medals, as well as a 2007 induction into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.

East Lothian has produced more than its fair share of champion sportspersons, including golfers, footballers, rugby players and numerous other athletes. Catriona Matthews, who learned to play golf on the Children’s Course and North Berwick West Links, is due to compete in the forthcoming games in Rio.  Let the countdown to Rio 2016 commence and good luck to all the competitors!

The post Olympics Fever! appeared first on John Gray Centre.