Empire, Expansion and Dispruption: East Lothian in the 19th Century
Saturday 09 September 2017, 09:30am
To Friday 15 September 2017
Contact East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalist's Society,

Members of GAS are invited to attend Empire, Expansion and Dispruption: East Lothian in the 19th Century, an all-day event organised by East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalist's Society that will be packed with guest speakers, on Saturday, September 9th, at St Mary's Church, Haddington. Tickets cost £10, payable direct to  (when you book on line) or on arrival at the venue on the day. Please note that prior booking with the Council is essential. 


Empire, Expansion and Disruption

East Lothian in the 19th Century


09.30 – 9.55

Registration, Teas and coffee, Welcome and Introductions.


19th Century East Lothian

Stephen Bunyan MBE, President of the Society, gives an overview of the key events


Scottish-Caribbean Historical Connections.

Sir Geoffrey Palmer tells his fascinating story.


Break Tea / Coffee Exhibitors


The Hon. Basil Cochrane and his agent James Balfour: Suppliers of Victuals and Spirits to H.M. Navy at Madras. Or How to make a Fortune

David Affleck records the opportunities that the Empire gave to one East Lothian family to make their fortunes and influence politics of the day.


What the railways did for us

Alastair Durie recalls the coming of the railways and their vital contribution in bringing tourism, Town development, tourism, sport such as golf, and industry such as fishing and agriculture and mining.


Break Lunch Exhibitors


Coals & Whisky: Poor relief in East Lothian

Fran Woodrow, Archivist at the John Gray Centre explores the changes that brought about the 1845 Poor Law Scotland Act and the records that survive for East Lothian.


The Disruption of the Established Church of Scotland in 1843 and its impact on East Lothian.

Professor John Hume will look at the extent to which the establishment of the Free Church had an immediate impact and how the Free Church developed between 1843 and 1900 when the United Free Church was formed.


Panel Session, Farewells and Close

by Mrs Joy Dodd, Vice President of the Society

Speaker Profiles


Stephen Bunyan MBE

Stephen Bunyan has an MA degree with honours in History from Edinburgh University. He was Principal Teacher of History at Dunbar Grammar School. Over many years he has given lectures in local history on behalf of Edinburgh University Extra Mural Dept. and otherwise in many locations in the county and is the author of “A walk round the old burgh of Dunbar”. He has also contributed articles to various publications. He is President of East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists Society, a Fellow of the Scottish Society of Antiquaries and Chairman of the East Lothian Fourth Statistical Account Society.

Sir Geoffrey Palmer

Professor Emeritus Sir Geoff Palmer OBE arrived in London as an immigrant from Jamaica in 1955. After leaving school in London in 1958, he worked and attended evening classes to improve his qualifications. He subsequently entered Leicester, Edinburgh and Heriot Watt Universities where he gained BSc, PhD and DSc degrees, respectively. Geoff was a professor at the Heriot Watt University for many years and has carried out research on cereal grains for the Malting, Brewing and Distilling industries for about fifty years. His work on African grains such as sorghum has increased its food and industrial value. He is a Board Member of various organisations such as: Hanover Housing, SACRO, Penicuik’s Citizen Advice Bureau, Edinburgh and Lothian Regional Equality Council, Age Scotland, Maltmen of the Trades Hall of Glasgow and Multicultural Family Base. He has published books on different subjects, has received various research, academic and community awards. Professor Palmer is a Freeman of Midlothian and was awarded an OBE in 2003 and a knighted in 2014 for his contributions to science, charity and human rights.

David Affleck

Following his retirement from managing Social Work services, David Affleck has pursued interests in horticulture, history and music. Recent historical research activity has concentrated on material that offers new perspectives to relationships between individuals, groups and communities relevant to local history studies. 

Fran Woodrow

After receiving her first degree in Estate Management and working at Standard Life for a few years Fran saw the light and went back to university to gain her postgrad in Archives and Records Management in 2007. Fran has worked as East Lothian Council archivist for the past 8 years and says she is fortunate enough to love her job working with a great team. Despite not being a local either by birth or residence Fran really enjoy working in East Lothian and getting the chance every day to discover its fascinating history.

Professor John Hume

John R Hume is Honorary Professor at the Universities of Glasgow and St. Andrews. He was for 20 years a lecturer in Economic and Industrial History at the University of Strathclyde, and was for 15 years first a Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments, then of Historic Buildings with Historic Scotland, retiring as Chief Inspector of Historic Buildings in 1999.Prof Hume has published a wide range of books and articles on the industrial archaeology and historic buildings of Scotland, and was an advisory member of the General Trustees.

Location St Mary's Church, Haddington