NEWSLETTER No 27 APRIL 1999
DRAGON ROAD COLLAPSES, DUNNING CUT OFF
On the quiet morning of Sunday, December 6, 1998, a knot of officials met on the roadway above the old Schoolhouse, and the word about their decision went quickly around. The road connecting the village and the Dragon was about to be closed!
There was no choice. The roadway was collapsing. All but foot traffic between Newton of Pitcairns and Dunning village would have to be blocked off. For how long? Indefinitely, was the first alarming report.
Of course, despite this obstacle, village life continued in its usual vigorous way. We can report that the Historical Society held its planned events for the winter, and despite some occasionally dire weather, the January talk by Ken Laing on St. Serf's, the February Members Night with four enthusiastic speakers, and a March video night drew large and supportive audiences.
The evenings gave a fine launch to what promises to be another busy year for the Society, what with the 60th anniversary evacuees' reunion, a barn dance, an expanded Website, new publications and many more events in store.
So what happened to the roadway? A temporary road was built within a week, and is still there. But for that one week, to paraphrase the famous headline about fog in the Channel, Dunning was cut off.
FORGET THE INTERNET, I'LL COME IN PERSON
DPHS member #48, Trevor Fulton of Napier, New Zealand, writes:
I have been scrimping and saving for the last eight years, and this year I'm coming across the skies to the homelands once more. I look forward to taking part in as many of the society's activities as possible. (Trevor will be in various parts of Scotland doing geneological research from June 6 to October 24. He continues:)
Last month I attempted to hit your website on my local library's Internet facility. Alas, I had no luck, possibly Murphy's Law stabbing me in the back again. I kept finding some 'sex line'. This could have been most interesting but most frustrating, when all you wish to find is www.dunning.mcmail.com. I made a tactical retreat after ten minutes and three attempts. I had no wish for the young lassie librarian behind the reference desk, who had a clear view of my bumbling attempts, to get the impression I was one of the local perverts. I will someday pluck up the courage for another attempt, otherwise I will have to peruse all your archives during my time in the village.
I look forward to retracing my roots and meeting with Dunningites in the summer.
Thimble Wynd, Bridgend, Dunning.
TIME FOR THANK YOU'S
We are blessed with members who contribute to the Society in many ways: by doing research, giving talks, making coffee and donating baking, by lending exhibits, putting out chairs, writing articles, by serving on subcommittees, preparing posters and news releases, by manning stalls, by interviewing and being interviewed, by attending meetings, by subscribing faithfully, by contributing sketches, by working on the website, by taking part in fieldwalks and trips of all kinds, by taking photos and videos, by doing the Society booksand paperwork, by selling tickets, by taking part in surveys, by serving behind bars and barbecues, by preparing and distributing news letters, by buying videos and booklets, by persuading others to join, by contributing books and artefacts and old photos and house deeds to our archives...and in many other ways. To all of you, the Society's very grateful thanks.
OH, WHAT A WEB WE'VE WOVEN
If all goes well, by the time you read this letter your Society, several of our members and our new website will have played a part in the most unexpected event in our group's history: the staging of a real wedding.
Just before Christmas, Simon Warren, our webmaster, was contacted on e-mail apparently by a Harry Dunning. Attracted by seeing his own surname on our Website, the sender wanted to know: how could he and his fiancee get married in that lovely old church St. Serf's in Dunning?
Alas, replied Simon, they could not. St. Serf's is no longer a place of worship.
Was there some other church they could get married in? Would Simon be willing to make the arrangements? And what was the time difference between where they lived and Dunning?
Yes, there's the parish church. Yes, I will help. But I can tell you the time difference only if I know where you live, replied Simon.
Las Vegas, came the startling answer. And I must tell you I'm really Marjorie Lough, Harry Dunning's fiancee. I'm Irish, and we'd like to get married on St. Patrick's Day, March 17 1999.
From there, things proceeded rapidly. Simon and his wife Moira took on the job of making most of the wedding arrangements, including inviting some 30 guests and setting up a wedding reception afterward. The 30 guests are mostly Society members who have taken on some task at the wedding.
Since to meet our printing deadline this is being written before March 17, we can only hopefully anticipate that all went well on the day.
You may already have read about the event elsewhere. Tipped by a leak to the local press, the national media has shown a great interest in the event. After all, in an era when Scottish couples fly all over the world to exotic locations to get married, it's an unusual twist for a Las Vegas couple to come to our wee Scottish village to get married.
And it's just a bit unusual for a local history society to act as bridal agent.
STOP PRESS: WE'VE A GREAT MILLENIUM MEMENTO!
The Society will be producing a calendar for the year 2000, with scenes of Dunning old and new. Available for purchase in early June. More details in July's newsletter. Contact Liz Fletcher, the Post Office, 01764 684 213.
AN EVACUEE MOTHER
Interview taped with Mrs. Margaret Brand, in her home in Glasgow, by Lorne Wallace in February, 1998. Mrs. Brand is 91 years old.
My name is Mrs. Margaret Brand, my husband was Thomas Brand. My children were James Brand, Thomas Brand, May Brand and the youngest is Greta Brand who was born in Dunning.
In 1939 we were living at 258 Lower Figg Street, then Lauriston. On September 3rd, we watched all the evacuees leave the school but we stayed. I didn't like the idea of the children going, I rather wanted the children with me. My mother-in-law lived beside us, and I didn't want to leave her either.
My husband was working in Perthshire and lived through at Aberuthven. He'd been in the army but he was taken out to work for the Forestry Commission. He worked at a sawmill.
When the bombs started falling in the Clydebank blitz, we used to go for safety. The wardens sent us into the cellars at a big distillery.
After the Clydebank blitz, my husband wrote and he said he was getting us a place, but it was on the outskirts of the village of Dunning, Rossie Cottage.
Well, we didnee know and we took the train and I took the children. Well, the cottage, there was nothing in it. It really belonged to Mr. Bell, the dairy farmer, and he just let it out. To me it was just like a wee bothy. We were heartbroken that there were nothing in it. Very little furniture in it. We'd left quite a nice home in Glasgow.
We went through there and the water was outside the door and there were no shops or anything. I'm from the city. No shops! You had to walk frae Rossie Cottage I would say it's a mile and a half into Dunning for the groceries.
Except for a Wednesday, Mr. Laing came with his van. But a Friday I would have to go in. We thought it was terrible. May had just started school in Glasgow and Tommy was five, he was starting school in Dunning, and it was a long way especially for the two of them to walk to school. We stayed about two or three months in Rossie Cottage. Then Mr. Brown must have spoken to his mother and the minister came up to see me and he said "I've got you a place right in Dunning" and I was quite happy.
Mr. Brown's mother owned the wee houses on Thimblerow, including the one we moved to. Dry toilets. We were number 6, Thimble Row, and we were quite happy. There were two apartments. There was a bedroom and a sittingroom where we put a bed. There were the three children and myself. We sent for our own furniture and our own beds by the railway and they came through and I made it quite comfortable.
Running water? The wee tap was outside. And the dry toilet? The Campbells, Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, they were residents of Dunning, they used to come and collect the dirt and this carry on every Friday. Really and truly, when I think of it now, I don't know how I managed, after leaving the good clean house I left in Glasgow.
There was no gas or electricity, paraffin lamps, and I had to cook on the coal fire. I really do not know.
And then Mrs. Brown came in and she was talking about potato picking and we knew nothing. James and Tommy and me went. To lots of places, Dalreoch at the Broom, he was a posh farmer, and Scott at Millhaugh, and Peter Howie's farm and Alex Philip's. Coming in from the farms, the lorry left us all at Thimblerow and we came in and I had to start all the cooking.
And Mrs. Brown taught me how to make jam. I made about fifty pound of jam. I really don't know, but as time went on I got used to it. Everything was done in the coal fire.
We slept downstairs. We had an attic. When friends came she used to put two beds up in it, that's all, we hadn't the room, and we were very grateful for it.
Martha Bird stayed across frae us in Thimblerow. There were two wee doors, our place and hers. Hers was just the one room apartment, ours was the two. That was the old lady that nobody saw.
Besides the potatoes, I worked at the threshing mill, and the turnips. Mr. Howie said I would have made a good farmer's wife. I was up at the top of the threshing mill, working with the men. I had to go up and as the men forked the bundles of grain up to you, you picked it up, cutting the string with a knife strapped to your wrist and put it through the threshing mill. Never done that in my life! But you got used to it. Occasionally you'd cut yourself with the knife.
I worked mostly at the farm. And Alex Steel's mother worked on the farms too. And I can assure you that Alex Steel's family were very nice people. They came from the outskirts of Glasgow. And she came to the potato picking too. But she couldn't do the threshing-mill and that, no.
Well, I went, Mrs. Campbell and quite a lot of the people up the Dragon, Mrs. Henderson, taking the tops off the turnips, shawing the neeps.
I worked at the farms when the weather was good. Then again, in the winter, I worked with Mrs. Campbell at dressing the potatoes, putting them through the riddle and that. Starting from October. I worked on the farms for several years. I had never done that kind of work before, the only work I'd done in Glasgow was at a dairy. I'd been a lithographic printer up until when I got married.
When I was working on the farms, the older children would be at school until 4, but Tommy, who was the smallest, would be finished at 3. I used to tell him what farm I was at if it was near the village, and he'd come out to meet me. It was the idea of riding back in the lorry that attracted him, he was in his glory.
We went to the church. Everything was held in the church or the church hall. And in the church hall every Thursday, Mrs. Steel and I learned the country dances and that.
My husband had moved over to Thimblerow when we came. He continued working at Aberuthven and he and the chap Andrew Brown used to take their bicycles to go to work, at half past six in the morning.
My husband met with an accident, cycling from Aberuthven, with a lorry on the main road. He was taken into the hospital at Auchterarder. It was his ankles crushed, the way he fell. He was off work for close to two months. Then he was okay. That's the worst thing happened to us.
Life in Dunning. Well I was heartbroken when I landed in Dunning, and saw what...I was just heartbroken and felt like packing up and going back again. I couldna do that. We had a wee bit of a squabble. My husband said is it not far better here with the kids away from the bombs and that? But I still kept my own place on in Glasgow, or my mother did and my sister, you see.
My sister she came through to see us in Thimblerow, and the landlady said "Oh, you can stay for a night or two, no matter". My sister went. "No way could I stay here, it's so quiet" she says. Mrs. Brown had given her cabbages and things, she had to catch the last bus back to Glasgow that night. She says "I'd rather live with the bombs than live with the quietness here," she says. And she was very nervous this sister of mine. And she says "How are you going to manage", she says, and I says "Oh, we'll manage". She says, "No gas or nothing! Get me the last bus back!' she says.
I just had to make the best of it. I was young, I was young so there was nothing to it, I got so used to it. But the first night on the potatoes. Your back was broke from the potatoes. Mrs. Brown used to come in and she was laughing like hell, Mrs. Brown. "You'll be all richt in the morning," she says " You'll be all richt in the morning!" The man came to say "Come away, Mrs. Brand". "Oh we couldna", I says. But the next day we were okay.
The two boys were in their glory with the money they made from the potatoes. We used to take them into Perth, the bus in the square, and let them spend their own money. They loved it.
I made quite a lot of friends in Dunning. Local people. And evacuees, there were quite a lot living with Jock the tailor when we arrived. But they left, the bombing was ended and the war seemed over, and I said, well, Tommy is working, and we'll stay. And we did.
My life in Dunning was quite good. I would never have sampled if it hadn't been for the war. I just got used to Dunning.
When I used to visit Glasgow, because I never spent a Christmas in Dunning, I always used to go back to my own in Glasgow, the neighbour children were so white, you know, and mine were all tanned like anything. It done them a world of good.
My mother came to visit me in Dunning. She came and she thought it was wonderful. She came for two or three weeks because of transport and that. It was just that she couldn't sleep wondering how we were getting on. So she came away to see us. It so happened I was working the day she came, at Millhaugh, and somebody directed her away out there. And we watched her at the gate. She was horrified. She said "I never thought I would see the day when I'd see you picking potatoes!" She stayed with us three weeks, and then went way. She was reassured. She said "You seem to be quite happy.
Some of the residents just grumbled about the evacuees coming. I don't know why, but the Dunning people were all so quiet and all of a sudden there's this bunch coming in with children, and the army. I suppose it would upset them, they were so used to their own way of living.
But the likes of Mrs. Brown the landlady, she thought it was marvellous, she thought it livened up the village a wee bit. So did Mrs. Laing, the grocer's wife, she said that. She could never understand why a lot of people used to grumble, they used to chase the children when they ran through the square and that.
Jock the Tailor he used to say it was a good thing, it was very sensible of us to have come away from Glasgow because we used to read in the papers about Glasgow. We thought we were very lucky to be through in Dunning. He said that people should be very thankful that they can help people like you coming into Dunning.
But a lot of evacuees had left because they couldn't get used to the quietness. There were just a few shops, and in the city we were used to everything.
Every Wednesday Mrs. Steel and I used to go in to Perth. She was keen on antiques, and I just liked to walk about. We used to go for hot pies. They were famous for hot pies in Perth!
Anyway, how could I grumble. I had my husband and my family were with me. That's how I looked at it, I accepted it.
I did have the hardest part, coming in, making the fire, cooking for them, giving them theirs first, going out to fill up the jugs and that. This is what we missed the most. Having the water outside, you couldn't get away from that. In the beginning of Thimblerow there was Mrs. Morris, next was Mrs.Spence, we were in the third house, and then Mrs. Brown. They all had water. But there were four neighbours, Mr. Laidlaw, the two bachelors, Mrs. McRae, we shared with them the one small tap outside.
The fire was the only heating we had, and we had to cook on the fire as well.
Mrs. Brown used to give me the use of her wash-house out the back, and we hung on the lines outside. We used a washing board, then put them through the wringer. In Glasgow, we had had the steamies, the public wash-houses. We used to go there, driers and everything in it.
As the war was winding down, my husband was sent away from Aberuthven to work at Almondbank, to work at naval stores. He also cycled from Dunning to Almondbank, though it was ten miles. I always remember one Sunday the family was away with the church or something. It was a lovely day, and him and I we walked from Thimblerow to Almondbank, and back again. He wanted to show me the place where he worked. (laughs) We were young, so nothing's a bother to ye!
I made friends, good friends, local people, in Dunning. The Flockhart sisters, Mrs. Angus, Mrs. Howie her up in Rossie Cottage. Belle Flockhart had a sweet shop, and she used to have to go in to Perth to get her stock every now and then. I was passing by one day. Her sister Margaret was an invalid, in an invalid chair. Margaret shouted hello to me and when I went to speak to her the dog went for me. A great big dog, an Alsatian. It went for my leg, and Margaret started screaming. The neighbours came out, and then the district nurse came by. Oh, I had a terrible leg. The nurse counted sixteen bites. The dog was shot after. And I was pregnant at the time, with my daughter Greta.
We were among the last evacuees to leave Dunning. Greta was born the 31st of July, 1945 and we were back in Glasgow the next month when V-J Day was celebrated in George Square.
Looking back, my husband used to say to me there's no many women that would have done it. Oh, I fought with him at first when we went. I said "Is this what you were telling us we'd come through to at Rossie Cottage?" We sat on the suitcases. The kids were crying. My husband was doing his best to try to peacify us. The kids were saying "We want to the toilet." "There isn't any toilet here." Well, they wanted home. Nothing, practically nothing there. If only I could have got back to Glasgow that night, I believe I would have went. But I persevered. Persevered. Och, it was a good experience.
-An interview with Mrs. Margaret Brand, who promises to be at the 60th anniversary reunion of Dunning evacuees, being sponsored by the Dunning Parish Historical Society on September 3, 1999 in Dunning.
Mrs. Brand's story will be one of close to fifty evacuee reminiscences to be published this summer on the Dunning Parish Historical Society's web site at www.dunning.mcmail.com
Do you recall our reporting in an earlier newsletter about the attempted robbery which took place the night of our last Barn Dance on July 17, 1998? We told you how thieves in a painters' van made a getaway after a foiled attempt to steal goods from Dunning's Spar Shop. Closely pursued by a police car, they sped away along the Perth Road over the River Earn and past Dupplin Estate, until stopped by a police roadblock.
In an effort to slow the pursuing police car, the thieves threw ladders, painting equipment and several cans of paint out the back door of the van during the pursuit. The next day, from this side of Forteviot Bridge to almost the end of Dupplin estate, there were fourteen paint splashes of various colours, roughly v-shaped like arrows, pointing in the direction of Dunning.
The post-script is that the thieves have been duly tried and sentenced, and the case has been legally closed. As historians, however, we are pleased to report that the memory of the event, and most of the paint splashes, fading but still prominent, lingers on. If you're making your way to Dunning from Perth this year, just follow the coloured arrows!
St. Serf's in Winter. - Pen sketch by Kenny Laing
"SIMPLE AND HOMELY AND SENSIBLE"
Last September in St. Serf's Church, Kirsty Doig and Clare Richards provided us with an amusing evening of readings from the scrapbook of former St. Serf's minister, the Rev. Peter Thomson. Here, with Kirsty's introduction, is an excerpt from that evening.
Kirsty: To have the opportunity to read news cuttings about local events of 100 years ago is interesting to say the least. Firstly there is the content of the report. Then, in reading between the lines and behind the lines, new lights are thrown on the life of the times and increased understanding of Dunning today.
Change there has been indeed, but through it all, the essential Dunning, the core, the soul, the heart of the community life of the village beats as strongly today as in yesteryear.
The prose style of the reporters, appearing sometimes showy and affective is likely to be an attempt in pre-TV days to re-create the total experience of actually being present at the scene.
You many recall that the last meeting of the Historical Society to be held in St. Serf's (in August 1997) took the form of a flower festival.
With this first newspaper report tonight, we invite you to sit back, close your eyes if you wish, forget the present day experience of a world continually on the move. Neither think on the harsher realities of the cottar's life 100 years ago, but in imagination, let your mind enjoy this scene of happy rusticity as you make your way through the village to this church one lovely August Sunday in 1891 to attend a flower festival.
Clare Richards of Pitlochry Festival Theatre and Dunning will read in full the report of the Flower Service held on that day.
Clare: - DUNNING 1891 OUR FLOWER SERVICE - By one who was there
Let me describe the quaint, old-fashioned, peaceful and pleasant little town of Dunning.
Everything about it is simple and homely and sensible.
There is no stiffness or straightness about Dunning. Its little bits of streets run just here and there, at their own sweet will. I don't think anybody calls them by any particular name; and there are no nonsensical numbers painted on the doors!
Everybody knows where everybody else lives; and the postman hands about the letters in a quiet, easy, peaceable manner.
There is plenty of room for everybody's house to stand on; and plenty of room for a bit of a garden and a little orchard beside. Everybody has plenty of good fresh air and Heaven's blessed sunshine and plenty of fresh, clear water, and no dirt or rubbish anywhere.
But don't imagine that Dunning is some out-of-date dottled kind of a town! Dunning moves with the age.
It now and then runs up a crack new shop---roomy and elegant, now a bank, now a trim little villa on its outer margin. It has built a hall, airy and commodious and well-furnished, where many a good, popular lecture has been given and many a good speech made.
Dunning has, shall I say, plenty of kirks. But I think it might be said that the kirks don't "delight to bark and bite" nearly so much as in most other places. They "live and let live" and get along in a neighbourly, friendly kind of way, as all Christian kirks should.
Such was the case certainly on a lovely summer afternoon in August last. For it seemed as if our grand old church tower was the one point to which all feet were wending their way.
A pleasant thing it is at any time to look up at the old grey head that holds itself so erect and steady high up in the air; and has such a look of quiet peace and gentle kindness and noble strength.
It makes one think of the wrinkles and the silver hair and the gentle stateliness of some fine old Scottish grandmother looking down calmly and lovingly at the children around her.
How beautiful the old tower looked that August afternoon! The western sun-rays tinged the brown stone with a warm red glow and the pigeons wheeled in pretty flights around its summit.
Folks of all ages, old and young, were finding their way to the old tower, of all ranks, high and low, by all means of conveyance, foot, cart, gig, carriage, bicycle, of all various "persuasions", Free, U.P., Old Kirk and Episcopalian, for, oh dear me, the flowers are of no particular kirk! And the old tower looks upon us all in a kindly way as her bairns.
But blessings on the little pilgrims!
It was quite charming to see some bright red-cheek'd little beauties of four or five in their trim, white, puffy, Sunday frocks toddling along on the tiny bits of feet and with a wonderful look of mingled grave importance and smiling glee, bearing clasped between two little fat "handies" this much thought of, much talked of "flower".
"Child of pure unclouded brow
Methinks a smile of sunshine crosses the face of the old tower as you come trotting in, on your little feet, at the old gateway, with the precious and pretty handful for the sick and the poor.
I never saw a church so delightfully packed. For though every inch of available space was occupied, there was nothing like crushing.
The crowd seemed to be entirely composed of white frocks and beautiful flowers.
And instead of the stifling, chokey atmosphere of an ordinary crowded meeting, the summer breeze came softly and pleasantly in at various windows and wafted about the mingled flower perfumes as if to let everybody in every part of the church have a sniff.
I don't know if it is possible to convey to a reader a very distinct impression of what we saw and heard in our dear auld kirk that afternoon.
If I could, by an magic art, bring to my readers' senses the breath of the "summer air", and the odour of the nosegays, if I could by any wondrous phonetic invention of the present day reproduce the tones of the harmonium and the voices of the children singing their hymns, if I could with a pencil borrowed from fairyland sketch those rows and rows of sweet child faces that filled the area of the church!
But these things I cannot do and I must just content myself in plain honest prose with telling what I think it was that delighted everyone who was present, and there was grave, quiet, serious enjoyment of the service observable on many a face there.
It was nothing but this, that everything was simply, quietly, reverently done. The hymns were wisely chosen. Children have a way of showing when they like a particular hymn by an extra heartiness in their (if I may say it) "skirling". The prayers, which the pastor with his own good taste and good feeling, had prepared were so short and simple and childlike that all present could easily join and follow. And they were so quietly and reverently spoken as to impress deeply all worshipping hearts.
But there was one particular feature, which, it appeared to me, made the service well worth being taken notice of and described for the sake of other Sunday schools and churches. That was the very serious and yet much delighted manner in which each boy and girl there discharged the duty of the day. Who that knows children would not be inclined to be a little afraid that 200 children required to march up the aisle one by one, place a flower in the minister's hand and return to their seats, might before the ceremony was accomplished get somewhat into disorder?
Who would not be apt to fear that children might jostle, that babies and bouquets might come to grief, that big boys might lark rudely, etc.?
And who would not be inclined to believe that the service must be a really good thing for the children which was not marred by any of these things, and in which each boy and girl seemed to know what they were doing and to feel its sacred and sweet and lovely meaning.
Kirsty: Here is a less rhapsodic clipping from Mr. Thomson's notebook dated five years later. Dunning in 1896
Clare: The year which has just gone from us, a couple of weeks yesterday, has, so far as concerns the staple industry of the place, hand-loom weaving, been no improvement on its immediate predecessor or, indeed, on many others, and this once prosperous industry here must now, we fear, be looked on as a dead one.
Apparently nothing comes here now that can be done elsewhere with the power loom, but happily there are but a few depending on it for a living, not over a score at most, and the majority of these will ere long be independent of it through age and other infirmities of the human frame.
Alas! Alas! What changes here in the short space of but three or four decades, when at the latter time Dunning could boast of its 300 to 400 weavers and their requisite number of hand-winders.
All was bustle and stir then, and the weekly wages then earned would average at the very least from 26s to 32s and 6p per week, not a few weavers far extending the latter sum. Now however a fourth part of it cannot be steadily earned.
The tradesmen of the place have all been more or less fully well employed. That is joiners, slaters, blacksmiths and painters and in these callings we learn they have no reason to complain.
The erection of a handsome and substantial new villa in the upper portion of the district, the Newton of Pitcairns (as it was wont to be and is still called, although its more antiquated name was that of the "Dragon") for Donald McDuff Esq. of Glasgow, afforded several months employment to a number of the labouring population. Mr. Peter Anderson, builder, Auchterarder, was the successful contractor for the whole; the joiner and slating work fell to two local tradesmen viz. Mr. James Wilson, joiner and Alexander Duncan, slater; and the plastering work to Mr. Hopson, Auchterarder and the plumbing and gas-fitting to Mr. William McLeish, Perth. The painting work is likely to go to the local tradesmen Messrs. A. and J. Dewar.
It is also pleasing to think that there is a prospective hope of another two villas or cottages also being erected in the same locality in the spring of 1897.
As in other parts of the county, those engaged in agriculture have not had their lines cast in pleasant places, either as regards harvest weather for securing their crops, or as to prices obtained and which farmers assert have remained persistently low both as regards stock, cereal and root crops. A slight firming indication of these, however, was beginning to be felt towards the close of the year and no doubt farmers and dealers in general will wish for a continuance in this direction during the year we have entered upon.
Excerpts from the news scrapbook of the Rev. Peter Thomson, as read to our Sept 3/98 meeting in St. Serf's by Clare Richards with editor/compere Kirsty Doig.
NOT TO WORRY
Reporting in January that the Dupplin Cross is presently on view in the new Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, we noted the concern of some parishioners that the Cross might never come to its promised permanent (in three years' time) display site back in Strathearn in St. Serf's Church, Dunning.
That concern was fuelled by a display presently in Perth Museum of the local museum's proposed expansion plans. On the plans, the Dupplin Cross is clearly marked in place as an important exhibit.
However, we have been reassured by the following letter sent to one of our members, Perth and Kinross Councillor Janet Law, from the man in charge of Perth Museum, Michael A. Taylor.
Thank you for forwarding the Dunning Newsletter along with your letter about the Dupplin Cross. There are two points which I would like to make in response.
Firstly, I have been unable to detect any deviation by Historic Scotland from their previous statements to the effect that the Cross will be returning to St. Serf's in three years time.
Secondly, the Council's view as I understand it is to retain items of historic interest locally wherever possible. This was clearly demonstrated in the lengthy scrap we have had with the National Museums of Scotland over the allocation of the Corrymuckloch Hoard to Edinburgh. In the case of the Dupplin Cross, the Arts and Heritage Division has always backed local retention. The suggestion that the Cross might come to Perth into a possible extension of (Perth Museum) was made when the whole issue of the Cross seemed bogged down with neither Forteviot or Dunning emerging as its favoured home. The suggestion was made to provide a repository of last resort rather than see the Cross stay in Edinburgh and was incorporated into the brief for the architectural competition well before the Secretary of State made his announcement. Naturally, it has now appeared in the winning design in a prominent position as befits such an important relic.
Please let me take this opportunity to assure you and the people of Forteviot and Dunning that we have no ambition to house the Dupplin Cross to their loss. The plans which they have seen are based on a brief which is now out of date and I can assure you that the Cross will not feature on the detailled design drawings which will follow.
Please feel free to pass this on to the Dunning Parish Historical Society.
Yours sincerely, Michael A. Taylor, Head of Arts & Heritage, Perth and Kinross Council December 16, 1998
Our thanks to Mr. Taylor, and to Janet Law for her prompt and unsolicited response to our expression of concern.
Pen and ink sketch by Henry Hoey
THE DPHS 1999 SPRING/SUMMER PROGRAMME
Thursday, April 15. 7:00 pm A visit to Innerpeffray Library and Chapel, with Ted Powell as guide, as we savour one of Strathearn's hidden historic places. Meet in Tron Square at 6:30 pm to share a ride, or go directly to Innerpeffray for 7 pm. Cost (incl. tea) is £2.
Thursday, May 13, 7:30 pm, Village Hall. Our Annual General meeting with guest speaker Gordon Barclay of Historic Scotland, an expert on the Early Bronze Age. If he has received funding approval, Mr. Barclay will explain his exciting proposal for archaeological research to be carried out in, among other places, Dunning.
Saturday, May 22 Our annual coach trip, this year to the new Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh: a great opportunity to visit the museum without the hassle of finding a parking spot! We'll also drop in at Rosslyn Chapel near Dalkeith, with a fine high tea laid on. Cost including high tea is £15.50 for members (£17.50 non-members). Passenger numbers are limited so please phone Peter Duncan soon at 01764 684 243 to reserve a place. We depart from Tron Square at 9:30 am.
Sunday, June 20. We're invited on a guided trip to Dunkeld and Birnam as guests of the local historical group which visited Dunning last year. Meet in Tron Square at 1:30 pm to share rides.
Friday, July 30, 8:30 pm Perhaps our last Barn Dance, at Ian Philip's Leadketty farm. For tickets call Ian at 01764 684 269 or David Halliday at 01764 684 026.
Friday, September 3. The 60th anniversary of the dramatic arrival of World War II evacuees in Dunning. (On September 3, 1939, 300 children suddenly descended on a village with only 100 pupils in its wee school!) All evacuees are invited, and a party of pupils from Haghill School, Glasgow, from which most of the original evacuees came. A committee of Society members, evacuees and teachers has planned a busy programme of events for the day. As members you'll be invited to share in a meeting in St. Serf's, a reception and a big band dance (as at the evacuees' reunion we held in 1994). Mark September 3 on your calendar! More details of this and other coming events in our July newsletter!
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