Autumn 2023 Magazine

AHSS Magazine Autumn 2023 is now available online

This year marks 150 years since the first official football match between Scotland and
England, so it seemed appropriate to feature some sporting heritage. A programme of works
has seen the Gala Fairydean Rovers Football Club stand restored to something like its original
condition. Although the interior has changed considerably since Peter Womersley designed it in 1962,
the striking concrete canopy now ‘floats’ once again above the terraces. James Grimley, whose firm
Reiach and Hall Architects undertook the work, puts the site and architect in context.

Also on a sporting theme is an article by Will Jess about the Arlington Baths Club, the oldest
swimming club of its kind in the UK, having been founded in 1870. The club is also a long-standing
AHSS member, so I was delighted not only to feature it within these pages but also on the cover.

Members will be aware that the AHSS has long campaigned to change the VAT treatment
of work to existing buildings. To summarise, while new build construction is zero-rated, the
conservation, repair and adaptation of existing buildings attract 20% VAT in most cases. In his
article, William Gray Muir argues that broader tax reforms are needed. By adopting a French-style
approach, private individuals would be incentivised to repair and maintain their properties, thereby
benefiting the construction industry, the economy, and the government’s coffers.

This issue’s ‘Spotlight’ article by Susan Bradbury highlights the plight of the stained glass (literally)
illuminating churches across Scotland which are threatened by closure, dereliction, and unsympathetic
conversion. The artistry, social history, and value to communities are considerable. I urge you to read
about Jane Haining, memorialised in a panel at Queens Park Govanhill Church, if you have any doubts.

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Spring 2023 Magazine

AHSS Magazine Spring 2023 is now available online

This issue tackles various subjects relating to agricultural and rural architectural heritage.
Victoria Collison (Historic Churches Scotland) and Sarah Pearce (a well-kent face among
AHSS members and now Heritage Trust Network’s Development Officer for Scotland),
discuss the closure and sale of church buildings. With so many Church of Scotland buildings now
surplus to congregations’ needs – especially in rural areas – what uses can they fulfil? As part
of a church’s reinvention, fixtures and fittings may need to be removed. The question of what
happens to pipe organs, many of great cultural importance, is explored by Alan Buchan, from the
Scottish Federation of Organists.

Michael Cowen’s article on high farming in Dumfries and Galloway examines three very
different sites from his perspective as a farmer. They range from the ostentatious ‘Coo Palace’ at
Corseyard Farm to the highly practical Wallets Number One Sale Ring in Castle Douglas, still in
use today as a cattle mart.

Hazel Johnson reviews the proposed Agriculture Bill in relation to the built environment. She
highlights its impact on future agricultural policy and how an approach that links heritage, Net
Zero targets, nature, and rural communities’ needs would be beneficial.

The ‘Spotlight’ in this issue focuses on the Jacobean Corsetry building on Glasgow’s Virginia
Street. An independent researcher, Mark Dougan, proposes a new timeline for the site,
.suggesting its origin was domestic rather than commercial. Further, could its design be a rare
example of Sir John Soane’s work in Scotland?

Plus, book reviews, activity reports from Historic Environment Scotland, Heritage Trust Network
and Community Land Scotland, as well as reports on our casework. https://www.ahss.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Spring-2023-AHSS-Magazine-web-spreads.pdf

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Autumn 2022 Magazine

AHSS Magazine Autumn 2022 is now available online

Fifty is a big number, so it feels appropriate to mark the 50th edition of the magazine with some reflections on its history from those involved in its earlier days. In our first feature, Adam Swan, the magazine’s editor for many years and former Chair of the Society, details the publication’s history and his experiences in preparing it for print.

The second feature looks at the lead-up to Edinburgh’s first council housing of the late 19th and early 20th century. The challenges experienced by ordinary people at that time and the reticence of the council are sadly still very familiar. What are the solutions? Self-build, discussed by Natasha Huq in our third feature, might be an option. As she points out, however, the skills, energy and finances needed are too much of a barrier for many. But the political climate and planning systems are changing, and community-led collective self-build may be the way forward.

The Spotlight feature explores the Kerr family’s post-war response to their ownership of a rambling country pile, Monteviot House. Unusually, rather than offering it to the nation, letting it crumble, or demolishing it, they commissioned the architect Schomberg Scott to modernise it.

Elsewhere in the magazine: Ailsa Macfarlane, BEFS Director, picks her favourite building. Plus, book reviews, activity reports from Historic Environment Scotland, Heritage Trust Network and Community Land Scotland, as well as reports on our casework.

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Spring 2022 Magazine

AHSS Magazine Spring 2022 is now available online

Two themes run through the Spring issue of the magazine: climate change and storytelling. The first feature is a partial transcription of the BBC QuestionTime-style event hosted by the Society during COP26, which is followed by a summary of the conference’s outcomes.

2022 is both ‘Scotland’s Year of Stories’ and the culmination of celebrations marking 250 years since Walter Scott’s birth, so it is fitting that we include an article examining his impact on architecture by Simon Green.

Esther R. Clark led the Ayr Station Hotel campaign group for many years, and although she has passed on the baton, she is now Secretary of Ayr Development Trust. In her twin articles, she takes us through the projects and what the next steps must be to secure the town’s future.

In our Spotlight feature, Ben Tindall reveals the story of (John) Cowane’s Hospital in Stirling, an incredible survivor as a 17th-century civic institution and as an architectural gem.The magazine’s cover photograph, by Colin McLean, shows its central location and (for better or worse) its proximity to Stirling Castle.

Elsewhere in the magazine: Mary Miers, AHSS’s President, picks her favourite building. Plus, book reviews, activity reports from Historic Environment Scotland, Heritage Trust Network and Community Land Scotland, as well as reports on our casework.

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Autumn 2021 Magazine

AHSS Magazine Autumn 2021 is now available online

The Autumn issue covers a wide range of topics, including education, skills, and climate change.

In the main features, John Coyne looks at how the carbon emissions of new and old buildings are calculated. Jocelyn Cunliffe reports on the AHSS’s responses to two recent consultations on the energy efficiency of traditional buildings and the skills required for their maintenance and repair. In 2020, Kimahew Education Trust acquired the 140-acre Kilmahew Estate – in the third feature, Ally Cotton, the Executive Chair of Kilmahew Education Trust, lays out their vision for the site. In the fourth main feature, S6 student Phoebe Vendil interviews Ruth Hamilton, the coordinator of ‘Archischools,’ a project that aims to engage children and young people with the built environment.

Elsewhere in the magazine: Bill Paterson, AHSS’s new Patron, picks his favourite building. Plus, book reviews, activity reports from Historic Environment Scotland, Heritage Trust Network and Community Land Scotland, as well as reports on our casework.

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Spring 2021 Magazine

The latest edition of our members’ Magazine is now available to read online.

The Spring issue focuses on tourism and the built environment.

In the main features, Karen Anderson explores the relationship between architecture and sustainable tourism. Carol Young discusses establishing a Scottish museum of empire, colonialism, slavery, and migration. Hamish Mackenzie looks at the architectural legacy of the Mainlands of Tain across the Northern Highlands and Dr John Coyne, AHSS North East Group Chair, writes about the asymmetry that currently exists in the planning system regarding listed structures. Paul Muir Wood challenges our readers to identify four more sites from the National Galleries of Scotland’s collection.

Elsewhere in the magazine: RIAS President, Christina Gaiger picks her favourite building and AHSS North East Fife Secretary, Peter Davidson examines Lorimer’s masterpiece, Hill of Tarvit. Plus, book reviews and reports on our casework.

 

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Autumn 2020 Magazine

Issue 46 is now available to view online.

This issue centres around the theme of climate change and the historic environment.

In the main features, former AHSS Chair, Peter Drummond considers the transformation of historic buildings to meet climate change targets. Rab Bennetts discusses the transformation of Edinburgh Royal Infirmary into the Edinburgh Futures Institute. Harry Whitmore shares his experience of attending the 2019 Scottish Ecological Design Association conference and his thoughts on the significance of exposing architecture students to ecological thinking. In the fourth feature, Euan Leitch investigates the connections between slavery and climate change.

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Spring 2020 Magazine

The latest edition of the AHSS Magazine is now available to view online.

This year has been designated Scotland’s ‘Year of Coasts and Waters’, and our spring magazine
contains five features on that theme.

Elsewhere in the magazine, there are the usual activity and casework reports from our local groups and a report on Ayr’s troubled high street by the former AHSS Chairman Michael Davis.

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Autumn 2019 Magazine

The latest edition of the AHSS Magazine is now available to view online.

This edition of the AHSS Magazine considers the impact of women on the built environment, with four featured articles that update and enrich the historical narrative. You will also find news from the heritage sector and reports about local developments from our regional groups and Cases Panels as well as reviews on exhibitions, events and books.

A word from our Editor, Abigail Daly:

‘Named female architects are few and far between in the historical record, a situation which is unsurprising given the profession’s refusal in the past to admit women into their ranks and award them qualifications. However, as one of our authors, Morag Cross puts it, it is still possible to recognise women’s influence; ‘’we just need to change our ‘historical spectacles’ and squint a bit’.

 

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Spring 2019 Magazine

Explore the latest edition of the AHSS Magazine!

The latest edition of the AHSS Magazine focuses on regeneration, with four featured articles that explore exciting projects and innovative ideas from Stromness to Dumfries. You will also find updates from our regional groups and Cases Panels, who continue their stellar work across Scotland to protect our heritage. If you’re looking for a new book or two, the Reviews section may have just what you need. Or if you need a new building to discover, see the piece on St John’s Tower in Ayr and learn why it’s Chiara Ronchini’s favourite building.

A word from our Editor, Abigail Daly:

‘Following on from last November’s conference, ‘Destination High Street’, this issue is almost entirely devoted to a single but complex topic: regeneration. The authors of our four main features look at different approaches and discuss projects at various stages… Regeneration takes many forms and, by looking through the reports in the Member’s pages, readers will be left in no doubt that AHSS volunteers have a vital role to play. The challenges we face are formidable, but so too are our members. In the words of one of our authors, “there is still a long way to go but I, for one, and optimistic”.’

 

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Autumn 2018 Magazine

In this issue: vernacular architecture, materials, the transformation of the Glasite Meeting House/Ingleby Gallery and much more!

A word from our Editor, Abigail Daly:

‘This issue has two themes running through it: the materials we use to construct buildings and vernacular architecture. The first article explores earth construction – one of the earliest building techniques humans developed to provide shelter. Authors Tom Morton and Becky Little argue passionately that rather than associating earth, mud, straw and clay only with historic buildings, we should instead see them as truly sustainable, progressive and ‘modern’. Our second article, by Michael Leybourne, focusses on the remarkable survival of a thatched cruck framed cottage at Torthorwald, once a common sight in many areas of Scotland, but now extremely rare.

The Glasite were a small religious sect whose Meeting House in Edinburgh will be known to readers as the AHSS’s home for many years. The third article, by Cal Harris, details the building’s transformation into an art gallery and reveals how restoring the stunning cupola, made up of over 400 hand-painted and etched glass panes, brought an unexpected discovery to light hidden in its design.

An architect who was keen to exploit the properties of those most modern of materials – concrete, steel and glass – was Peter Womersley, the focus of our fourth article. Written by James Colledge, who knew both the architect and one of his most loyal clients, Bernat Klein, the feature takes a personal view of his work and legacy.’

 

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Spring 2018 Magazine

Get stuck in to the latest edition of the AHSS Magazine!

We are delighted to celebrate 150 years since the birth of Charles Rennie Mackintosh with a look at one of his earliest projects, The Club Rooms in Helensburgh, a treasure that you are now able to visit and relish in its glory. You will also find our exciting updates from the regional groups of the AHSS and our numerous Cases Panels, who continue their stellar work across Scotland, protecting our heritage.

A word from our Editor, Abigail Daly:

‘This issue includes a clutch of features covering reappraisals, rediscoveries and rescues. William Leiper lived and worked largely in Helensburgh, but his villas are rather overshadowed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece, Hill House. Like Mackintosh, Leiper’s work had a strong artistic dimension, and the feature on page 14 also explores his creative influences.’

 

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Autumn 2017 Magazine

The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland is delighted to announce that the latest issue of our magazine is now available.

This stunning front cover heralds the 200th anniversary of the birth of iconic Glasgow architect, Alexander Greek Thompson. We have teamed up with The Alexander Greek Thompson Society to bring you not only a fascinating feature piece on the architect’s contribution to the Greek Revival movement in Glasgow, but also a tear out walking tour of his finest projects. Not to be missed!

A word from our Editor Abigail Daly:
‘Glancing at this issue’s features, you wouldn’t imagine there was much linking them. Glasgow’s Greek-inspired architecture, James Craig and his Edinburgh New Town plans, tower blocks and industrial Ironbridge seem quite disparate. Reading them more closely, however, and some common themes emerge: each were created in a time of significant cultural, social and technological change, and each were architectural expressions of great optimism and hope for the future.’

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Spring 2017 Magazine

Celebrating our 60th Jubilee!

We are very pleased that our editor Abigail Daly has freshened up our design, incorporating our new branding. Please find a selection of her Editor’s Welcome here:

‘Spring is traditionally a time of renewal, of clearing up and cleaning out. Appropriately then, this issue involves dusting off the Society’s archives, reflecting on a year marking the 60th anniversary of our birth and, yes, refreshing the magazine itself.

You will notice that while the magazine looks different, the content remains the same, with a mixture of features, activity reports and news form the ‘front line’ – our wonderful local groups. This issue reflects on our Jubilee year and includes a special focus on the AHSS itself, with our president Simon Green looking back at the Society’s long history. I received Simon’s article on Valentine’s Day, and it does read a bit like a love letter!’

Other fascinating contents include an exploration of ‘Under One Roof’, a resource for building maintenance, and articles on everything from brick collection to Balmoral Castle. Also included is an update on the AHSS’s campaign to save the former Royal High School, which is an ongoing effort in the hopes of maintaining a key part of Scotland’s built heritage.

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Spring Magazine 2016

Catch up with all the AHSS news!

Spring 2016 Magazine is here!

Jam packed with AHSS activity from the past year. Find out what our Cases Panels and regional Groups have been up to, read Tom Parnell’s full report of the Study Tour 2015 and find out which building our new Chairman picked as his all time favourite.

Special features include ‘Hinterland, St Peter’s Seminary’, progress with the Riddle’s Court Project Diary and ‘Edinburgh, Too – Architectures Beyond The World Heritage Site’.

Take a look at the full 2016 Summer events Calendar and plan your AHSS activities for the coming months.

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Spring Magazine 2015

Protect Edinburgh’s former Royal High School!

As can be seen from the front cover image, this edition of the AHSS Magazine has a particular focus on both the past and the future of this wonderful building. Royal Commission Architectural Historian, Diane Watters takes us through the significance of this iconic structure, whilst Dr Kirsten Carter McKee looks at the unique setting of Carlton Hill.

Further special features include a look at our new home in 15 Rutland Square, former residence of Sir R Rowand Anderson and a look at the use of Open Virtual World technologies in cultural heritage.

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Autumn Magazine 2014

Discover the future of ‘Hutting in Scotland’

This issue has a distinctly ‘elemental’ theme running through it. Subjects include Sumburgh Lighthouse, built to challenge Shetland’s stormy waters, the earthy turf and stone structures of Iceland, and the sad, fiery events at the Glasgow School of Art. Time will tell whether the Land Reform Review Group’s report is a breath of fresh air or becomes, well, just hot air.

Our ‘International Perspectives’ series continues with two articles examining the conservation practices of two very different countries: Australia and China. Australia’s favoured ‘carrot’ over ‘stick’ approach is an intriguing one, but it begs the question: how do planners strike the right balance between pragmatism and idealism?

We are often taught to ‘think big’ and certainly there are many architects who have taken that mantra to heart with great success. However, this issue contains two articles that offer an alternative by exploring the value of small spaces. ‘Hutting’ in Scotland has never matched the popularity of similar movements in other European countries but a new campaign aims to change that.

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Spring Magazine 2014

Mackintosh Architecture and Crichton Memorial Church

In this issue we highlight a range of projects and initiatives, that share a common aim: to improve the condition of our built heritage. They all try to answer some important questions. How can local authorities protect buildings that have historic merit, but aren’t on the statutory lists or in a conservation area? How can ordinary people become proactive in conserving their own homes? How can community groups summon their collective strength to look after a local landmark or monument? The final case study asks the question ‘what can I do?’. Apparently quite a lot.

Fittingly, for an issue that is published after the London and Sochi Olympic Games, and before the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, there is a sporting theme running through the magazine. Historic Scotland discuss their special report on Scotland’s sporting buildings and our new Chairman’s favourite building turns out to be…well, you’ll have to read the back page to find out.

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Autumn Magazine 2013

An International View

If the Spring issue took a close look at West Coast projects and places, then this issue extends its gaze far and wide both geographically and thematically. We travel to Russia (twice), Italy and Haiti, and closer to home, to Yorkshire, Edinburgh, Ayr and Dumfriesshire.

A series of themes runs through this issue including energy efficiency, stained glass, archival research, theatres and the contribution of individuals to our collective knowledge. Sadly Peter Drummond writes his last ‘View from the Chair’, having completed a full five year term as Chairman.

Unsurprisingly, many the of the articles and reports touch on the planning system, and ask searching questions about how local and national government manage the process. How much of a voice do local communities have? How will further devolution of planning decisions impact upon our environment? What does conservation mean to the ‘IKEA generation’?

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Spring Magazine 2013

Any Hope for George Square?

The focus of this issue is squarely on the West Coast: with the amount of headlines generated by Glasgow City Council’s plans for George Square and the news of the Burrell Collection’s listed status and upcoming renovation, there has been enough happening in the area recently to more than fill all the pages!

As ever, we have a wide range of contributors, each offering their own perspective and point of view on the issues facing the sector. The competition to revamp George Square in Glasgow is probably one of the most publicly controversial architectural projects in recent years – with over 4,000 people signing a petition calling for the rejection of all shortlisted options. While the long term future of the square is still under discussion, we feature writer and critic Johnny Rodger’s take on the controversy, some rather off-the-wall alternative proposals and the views expressed by the Society’s Strathclyde cases panel.

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Autumn Magazine 2012

The New Face of Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh

In this issue, we learn about a community development trust that has purchased a former POW camp, complete with a number of listed buildings. Hopefully we will be able to see this project develop through future issues – watch this space! We also have news from a sister organisation, the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society.

Our members inform us that casework is the bedrock of the Society, but we wouldn’t be a Society without our members! In an effort to introduce the Society to new audiences, we will be including a number of new features focussing on education in future issues. Two Edinburgh College of Art academics have provided their ‘key texts’ for those dipping toes into the field of architectural history. We also have the pleasure of including a submission from the RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship winner, which covers entirely new and foreign territory. Also, looking to the next generation of architects and architectural historians, we will be taking a closer look at the Scottish university degree shows.

Since the last issue, it has not been all work and no play. The annual Spring Study Tour took place this May and was a great success for everyone involved once again. You can learn more about it in our members’ review on page 38.

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Spring Magazine 2012

University Library, University of Aberdeen

As ever, the magazine aims to present a snap-shot of the historic built environment, as well as to share the activities and news of our Regional Groups and Cases Panels with all of our Society’s members.  In this issue, I’m pleased to welcome Barbara Cummins, Director of Heritage Management at Historic Scotland, as she discusses Historic Scotland’s changing relationship with local authority planning departments in the ‘Talking Point’.
The Spring 2012 issue also includes a tribute to Isi Metstein who died in January 2012; an update on the Maryhill Burgh Halls project; a report on the restoration of an intarsia panel at Mansfield Traquair Centre; and an overview of the history of the Union Terrace Gardens site in Aberdeen.  There is also a ‘One-Minute Memory from Simon Green, President AHSS, of his 18 months spent house-sitting the Glasite Meeting House following the retirement of its housekeeper.

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Autumn Magazine 2011

Scotland’s New Parliament Building, Edinburgh

One story that has hit the headlines recently is the controversy surrounding the Egyptian Halls in Glasgow.  Read our ‘View from the Chair’ for more on the Society’s perspective on the matter.  There are also reports on the restoration of the White House, an art deco roadhouse in Craigmillar returned to its former glory; on a project to record digitally, by laser scanner, the natural landscape, built dwellings and archaeological remains of St Kilda.  This edition’s ‘Talking Point’, by Malcolm Fraser, is a discussion of regeneration versus new build, with particular regard to the VAT regime.  Other highlights include author Alexander McCall Smith’s favourite building; and critic Willie Miller’s look at the new Riverside Museum in Glasgow.

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Spring Magazine 2011

Have a read of ‘Buildings at Risk in Difficult Times’

Highlights of the Spring 2011 edition include a behind the scenes look at carpet conservation at Dumfries House; a Talking Point article about buildings on the At Risk register; a report on the redevelopment of the National Museum of Scotland; an article on the winning design for the V&A Dundee.  There are also the regular features of reports on case work of the regional groups; and Ruth Macdougall’s ‘Favourite Building’.

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Autumn Magazine 2010

Our Lady and St Finnan Roman Catholic Church

Highlights of the Autumn 2010 edition include an update from Historic Scotland’s Listing and Policy Team; a report on the major restoration project being undertaken at Maryhill Burgh Halls in Glasgow; a history of the Picture House in Campbeltown and a report on the rescue of Belmont House, a Georgian house on Unst (Shetland) which won the Georgian Group award in 2007 for the best country house restoration in Britain.

We’re pleased to welcome Craig Stirrat, who recently joined BEFS as Director – he shares his thoughts on the history of our rail network and its impact on the shaping of places, in this issue’s ‘Talking Point’.  A familiar face in a new role, Elizabeth McCrone, the new Head of Listing at Historic Scotland, introduces us to her Favourite Building(s).  Also in this issue, Peter Burman, Director of the Glasite Meeting House Trust, shares the latest news from the Trustees regarding the future of the Meeting House.

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Spring Magazine 2010

St Benedict’s Chapel, Sumvitg, Switzerland

Highlights of the Spring 2010 edition include an illustrated ‘Talking Point’ article about what constitutes ‘good’ modern development in historic settings; an examination of how the pioneering RCAHMS building survey programmes, begun in the mid-1980s, paved the way for a re-evaluation of Scotland’s post-war architectural heritage; a report from the Conservation and Maintenance Team on the conservation of Edinburgh Castle’s 15th century siege gun, Mons Meg; and an update on the redecoration of the Glasite Meeting House Feast Room.  There is also a tribute to Eleanor Robertson, AHSS founder, who died in December 2009.

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