Category Archives: Events

Forthcoming events.

The SOE at Belhaven Hill – on Zoom 8th April 2021

Early in WW2, the school was evacuated from Belhaven Hill, and the building was requisitioned by the War Department. It became a special training school for the Special Operations executive (SOE). The SOE was established by Winston Churchill soon after Dunkirk, with the instruction to “Set Europe Ablaze”. Trained SOE agents would be dropped in occupied Europe to work with local resistance groups whilst gathering information. Belhaven Hill’s function was to train operators and agents in wireless telegraphy skills, and the site was chosen because it was 400 miles from the SOE base in Southern England, giving similar transmission distances to operational sites in Europe.

There were two types of trainee at Belhaven Hill. Women wireless operators were all recruited to the FANYs (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry) and were destined for listening posts in UK. The Jedburghs were the three person teams deployed into Europe. Although the true function of the School was a closely guarded secret during the War, the trainees were not quarantined, and mixed socially with the many uniformed service men and women in the town at the time. The true nature of SOE activities at Belhaven Hill did not become clear until well after the War.

George Robertson’s family befriended two young men from Belhaven Hill during their stay in Dunbar. They were deployed forward, and both survived the war. One of them, Eric Sanders, now aged 101 years, is a talented musician and a prolific author. We are privileged that Eric will join us for our on-line zoom talk to give his own account of his time in the SOE at Dunbar and elsewhere. This is a unique opportunity to hear some living history about wartime Dunbar.
A zoom link for the talk at 7.30pm on 8th April will be circulated nearer the time.

East Lothian Place Names

Members of the East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists Society gathered at the Maitlandfield House Hotel on 8th February for another in their series of Winter lectures.
Honorary President, Stephen Bunyan, welcomed Liz Curtis of Dunbar who is a member of the Scottish Place Names Society. She gave a fascinating talk on the history behind some of the place names of East Lothian. These have been a subject of interest to historians for centuries with myths muddying the facts. For example, it was long suggested that Humbie got its name from the humming of the many bees to be found there! In reality, many of the names can be traced back to the languages of the many peoples who settled in the area from the earliest times – Brythonic, Old English, Norse, Scots, Baronial French. Strangely, although in East Lothian for some time with a fort at Inveresk, the Romans brought no Latin links.

Many names stem from the words for landscape features or land use in the different languages. Many relate to different types of farm e.g. those with ton, hame or by in them. Dunbar comes from the Anglo Saxon – Dyun Baer – Fort on the Point. A Saxon fort was found when the Leisure Pool was being built. Other names come from religious links e.g. Nungate in Haddington.

After a time for questions, including the correct way to pronounce Gullane, Mr Bunyan gave a vote of thanks. He noted that the day was also the 650th Anniversary of the granting of a Charter to Dunbar by King David the Second.
The next Winter Lecture will be a talk on the History of St Martin’s Kirk at the Maitlandfield House Hotel – 2pm on 14th March.

Liz Curtis – “East Lothian’s place-names: A journey through time.” Saturday 8th Feb 2020

Please note the change of date to: Saturday 8th Feb 2020

Liz will present an illustrated talk outlining how East Lothian’s place-names have developed over the last 2,000 years. Successive waves of settlers, including Britons, Anglians, _ ” Scandinavians and Gaelic-speaking Scots, have all contributed 71 to the rich mix of place-names we know today. In turn, the place-names give us an insight into their societies.

Visitors welcome. Voluntary donation £2 gratefully received

For further information contact eastlothianantiquarians@gmail.com

East Lothian Antiquarian & Field Naturalist Society Winter Talks 2019 — 2020
All talks are held at the Maitlandfield Hotel, Haddington, at 2.30pm

 

Stephanie Leith – “St Martin’s Church, Haddington” – Saturday 14th March 2020

PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE OF DATE TO THE 14TH MARCH 2020

This well-preserved ruin is a rare survival of a 12th century church in Scotland. Belonging to the Cistercian nunnery of St Mary’s, St Martin’s was used by both the nuns and the people of Haddington, and can give us an insight into how the nunnery interacted with and influenced the town.

A recent geophysical survey of the church and its surroundings has revealed both its early history, and reuse and remodelling of the graveyard in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Visitors welcome. Voluntary donation £2 gratefully received

For further information contact eastlothianantiquarians@gmail.com

East Lothian Antiquarian & Field Naturalist Society Winter Talks 2019 — 2020
All talks are held at the Maitlandfield Hotel, Haddington, at 2.30pm

Photo © Lisa Jarvis (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Alister Hadden “A little bit of Wallyford History” – Saturday 23rd November

Saturday 23rd November Alister Hadden “A little bit of Wallyford History”

Alister will give an illustrated talk on Wallyford’s history, industrial heritage in coal mining and brick manufacture. He is from Wallyford and present Chairman of Wallyford Community Council, and has been involved in having a mining memorial installed within Wallyford, along with mining coal hutches on either side of the mining stone with all the 38 miners names lost in Wallyford Collieries from 1857 to 1929.

Visitors welcome. Voluntary donation £2 gratefully received

For further information contact eastlothianantiquarians@gmail.com

East Lothian Antiquarian & Field Naturalist Society Winter Talks 2019 — 2020
All talks are held at the Maitlandfield Hotel, Haddington, at 2.30pm

Photo © Richard Webb (cc-by-sa/2.0)

The copyright on this image is owned by Peter Gordon and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license

Measuring the Past, Modelling the Future – John McCreadie – Saturday 12th October

The talk will describe how we create high resolution 3d digital models using laser scanning combined with drone and terrestrial photography. We work in the heritage sector creating “digital twins” of real world buildings, structures, objects and landforms to help with their conservation and management.

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ELAFNS Annual Dinner – with David Campbell 12th April 2019

East Lothian Antiquarian & Field Naturalist Society Annual Dinner for 2019 will take place at the Maitlandfield House Hotel, Haddington on Friday 12th April 2019 at 7 for 7 30pm.

Late News: Tim Porteous has had to call off due to an urgent family matter. He has however arranged for what will be an excellent substitute in David Campbell.

David is an acclaimed writer, broadcaster, poet and storyteller, and will talk on the same subject of  “The convergence of East Lothian Folklore and History”.

Joy Dodd can provide booking forms and menu choices.