We're taking a summer break. Please come to our AGM and the talk by Kirsty Archer Thompson on Wednesday 15 September.

Report on the year 2019–20

Presented at the Society's AGM, 9 September 2020.

Chair's report on the year 2019–20

At our previous AGM on 11 September 2019, none of us could have imagined that our lives would be dominated by a dangerous and infectious virus. We had an ambitious programme of lectures planned. We intended to complement the lectures with special visits to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s The Hill House, and to Myres Castle. But by early March we realised that physical meetings were no longer responsible for the foreseeable future. We reluctantly postponed Marietta Crichton Stuart’s lecture on the 3rd Marquess of Bute.

However, by March we had already enjoyed six out of the ten lectures planned: Scott McIntosh on Steel wheels and iron rails; Bryan Dickson on The Hill House – conservation challenges of a modern masterpiece; Joe Fitzpatrick on the East Lomond Hill – revealing a long-last archaeological settlement; Professor David Munro on the new book by himself and David Anderson on the history of the firm Smith, Anderson; Dr Nicola Small on Jacobite Clans and their stories; and myself on the topic of Why Orkney Matters.

Joe Fitzpatrick’s talk was to have been given jointly with the consultant archaeologist to the Falkland Stewardship Trust, Dr Oliver O’Grady, who had given us two brilliant lectures, one with 77 people present, in previous years. For Joe as for me, Oliver had become a friend, and a much-valued professional colleague, and it was devasting to hear of his sudden death, leaving behind a wife and two small children, earlier this year.

Our aim with our lecture programme is to reveal and deepen our knowledge of history, archaeology, architecture, art and craftsmanship – paying attention to Falkland, to Fife, and to Scotland further afield. Sometimes our lectures even have an international reach.

In spite of all that has happened this year, we can truthfully say that the Falkland Society has lived up to the challenges and has grown in stature. What have we done instead? First, we re-grouped our lectures, went online and delivered by Zoom. Marietta Crichton Stuart spoke about Falkland Palace and I spoke about Padua. Both these lectures are still available at the touch of a button through our website. Second, we established an online Newsletter which now has a circulation list of around 150 individuals, an impressive achievement starting from zero! We will try to keep this going – the feedback we have received is very positive and it keeps us all together. We welcome contributions from others. Two of our three new committee members (Marietta and Jake Bonnett) have made contributions to it. Please let us know if you would like to contribute an article on a topic of interest to other members.