This month, we are going to look at some slides from Pauline’s Smeed’s presentation at the AGM, in which she updated the audience with examples of the work done by DDHs committee and volunteers. The text is by Pauline Smeed, with links added by Jim Herring.
Dunbar Primary P3 Castle project
For several years now, volunteers from our committee have enjoyed meeting with Dunbar Primary School’s P3 pupils and helping them with their ‘Castle’ project. Classes have been met at the harbour and seated by the propeller, where they have discussed the history of our own Dunbar Castle followed by a ‘q’ and ‘a’ session. The remainder of the time has been spent drawing the castle and its surroundings. We were delighted to get back to this in March, after a break due to the Covid outbreak. The children were enthusiastic and enjoyed their visit. The photo below shows the pupils taking their castle drawing very seriously. To the left of the class is a former pupil of Dunbar Primary School, Robert Wilson’s screw propeller and you can read more about Wilson and his work on the John Gray Centre website here.
The Fisherman’s monument and Alexander Handyside Ritchie
In 1998 we were pleased to be involved in the re-dedication of the Fishermen’s Monument at Cromwell Harbour. The monument, which had fallen into disrepair, was built in 1856, by subscription, the purpose being to have a barometer to aid local fishermen. The sculptor of the original monument was Alexander Handyside Ritchie (1804-1870) whose grave can be seen at Inveresk Church in Musselburgh. For the re-dedication, the Society provided a display in the local Tourist Office window and researched the original inscription at the foot which was a verse from the old Scots song ‘The Boatie Rows’. A great niece of Alexander Handyside Ritchie, together with her daughter, attended the service, taken by Eyemouth’s Fishermen’s Mission Pastor. The story continued in March this year when the great great niece, who was at the service in 1998, arranged to visit the Town House and our search room, to share letters and records held on the event. She was also shown around the town and was delighted to see the house where her aunt was employed. The first photo below shows a postcard, entitled Storm Warning, depicting the monument and the fishermen, in rather staged poses. The second photo below is an actual photograph of Alexander Handyside Ritchie by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson. You can read more about, and see examples of the work of these early Victorian photographers here.
This the name of a leaflet recently produced by a small group, including our Chairman Gordon Easingwood. The leaflet, available at the Volunteer Arms for a donation which goes to Dunbar RNLI, details all of the photographs seen on the walls of the Volunteer Arms in Victoria Street, with captions. An impressive film, by Sandy Robb, has also been made in support of the leaflet and this can be found on YouTube here or by simply searching ‘Bygone Dunbar, Volunteer Arms’. Many of the photographs are also held in our own History Society collection, together with further information. The photo below is the poster for the leaflet.
Committee members also told of several other visitors to the Town House, including a descendant of Provost Lockhart Dobie (1830-1891) and a great great nephew of Rev Kirk, the well-loved army pastor who wrote regularly to his congregation during the Great War and who died while serving on his third tour.