Chairman’s Message

Robert Montgomery, our Chairman offers the following report detailing the Society’s activities over the past year, in advance of our AGM on Thursday 13th October:

I hope you have all enjoyed this summer and all that it had to offer, including the memorable Musselburgh Riding of the Marches and Exhibition 2016. It was a wonderful opportunity to participate in over 300 years of tradition, with a full week of civic celebrations to share with generations of Musselburgh residents and visitors.

Looking ahead to the Musselburgh Conservation Society’s programme for the upcoming year, I think you will all find something to enjoy in the prospectus. I am delighted to be part of this Society that provides such a warm welcome and supportive learning environment to all Members and visitors.

MCS is a non-profit, voluntary community organisation formed to care for Musselburgh’s built heritage, and this year we are excited to celebrate our 30th Anniversary! As an organisation, we focus on local, rather than national, initiatives, but our affiliation with Scottish Civic Trust is intended to fulfil this latter role. Our membership currently stands at 107, and you may be interested in visiting our website to find out more about membership. This year we have introduced a new, lower, fee for students and people under the age of 25.

Our aim is to provide a vision and framework for co-ordinated action across the diverse range of people involved in caring for our environment. This requires cooperation in valuing, caring and understanding our historic and conservation environment. I am always impressed by the genuine sense of community spirit and the wide range of initiatives with which the Members get involved. This past year’s activities included:

  • attendance at the Trustees of Scotland’s Churches Trust lecture – 1000 Years of Scottish Churches – a personal view by Prof John Hume at St. Cuthbert’s in Edinburgh
  • visit to the Forth Replacement Crossing Project, which 16 members had attended
  • attendance at the Archaeology Conference 21st November 2015 at QMU
  • attendance at Scottish Civic Trust Annual Conference in November 2015 at Linlithgow Burgh
    Halls, The theme was ‘Housing in Scotland’: Learning from the Past, Building for the Future;
    and the Princes’ Foundation conferences and talks
  • attendance at the East Lothian Heritage Gathering in February at Haddington Town House
  • preparation of the display for the Riding of the Marches Exhibition held in the Borough
    School from 22nd July to July 31st, 2016
  • summer trip to the Summerlea Museum of Industrial Life in Coatbridge and the Burrell
    Collection in Glasgow, before it closes for a number of years for major renovations
  • participation in the Musselburgh’s Communities Day event at Brunton Hall
  • making Society representations on the planning permission appeals related to the land
    development at Goshen Farm
  • liaison with Haddington and District Amenity Society (HADAS)
  • Presentation of our Annual Design Award 2015 to the owners (the Burleys) of The Green
    House, Inveresk followed by a tour of this eco-friendly new-build in Inveresk
  • Commenting, as a collaborative working group, on the Long List of Actions related to the
    Musselburgh Area Partnership, forming part of the East Lothian Plan – Single Outcome Agreement 2013-2023.

For those who are interested, we will link up to participate in the East Lothian’s Local Archaeology & Local History Fortnight, which takes place from 3rd to 19th September.

A future initiative to look forward to is: ‘The Honest Toun Photography Competition’ as discussed with the head teachers at Loretto RC School earlier this year. This photo competition is intended to offer a creative learning initiative to support young people in learning about the built environment and their local heritage. The initiative will also be undertaken as a joint effort with East Lothian Art Services.

On my second anniversary as Chair, I want to recognise the extremely valued contribution of the members of the MCS Executive Committee – a proactive, dedicated team, who give selflessly of their time in order to systematically monitor, review and liaise on planning applications; respond to community concerns; attend events and conferences, and support the administrative processes which sustain the purpose of the Society. Sincere thanks also to our Patron, Lord Cameron of Lochbroom, for his support. Unfortunately, this will be my last year in post, as my wife and I are returning to Canada in November, after five wonderful years in Musselburgh.

The name of our organization may reflect conservation, but the mission extends to nurture, conserve and protect both Musselburgh’s natural and built heritage for future generations. Making that happen requires a wealth of volunteers, landowners and supporters, working together to protect our legendary landscape, through land stewardship and community outreach and education. We invite all of you to contribute to this worthy cause as you are able.

For more information on the work of the Musselburgh Conservation Society, please visit our website: or email us at

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