There was never a moment when the Trust envisaged postponing or cancelling the 275th Anniversary Commemorations.
It was simply a matter of how they could be conducted in the ever-mutating context of societal restrictions occasioned by the Covid 19 pandemic. The Trust was in a very good place, having received financial support for the 24 months cycle from NLHF, EventScotland and Bord na Gaidhlig – and the early programme design was restructured and re-imagined so that it could be offered digitally.
Digital livestreaming and video sharing on Facebook. All the events shared globally over long weekend September 16th/ 21st are available at
the Trust’s Facebook page LINKED HERE.
Events were directed by Dr Arran Johnston and Sharon Beck, and involved contributions from nearly 70 others from across the local community, (all contributing either digitally or in discrete segments recording or broadcast under proper covid-control conditions).
Things got underway with a webinar lecture on The Fall of Edinburgh, but the largest production by far was the concert streamed on Saturday 19th September, Beneath the Thorntree. It included narration from key figures in 1745, music, songs and poetry (including a Gaelic piece). Sunday 20th saw day long live-streaming from The Prince’s Pavilion, which had been set up on former marshland within the battlefield area.
The photographs above show those events at the Prince’s Pavilion during live streaming on Sunday. All the elements are fully viewable at the Facebook link above and included The Paper Armies, an impromptu rendition of Hey Johnnie Cope from Charlie Zahn in the US, Lesley Weston’s Lunches of the 18th century plus a pie baked especially for The Prince by novice chef Sharon Beck, Jacobite Dress, Weapons at the battle from Paul MacDonald including the tale of Big Duncan MacKenzie and most intriguingly, a discussion between The Prince and Edinburgh City Guard Captain Brett Fletcher on their respective conduct of the battle! Sharon Beck concluded the afternoon with Questions to The Prince ending with the inevitable “gotcha”: Why did you turn back at Derby? The Prince was careful to disclaim any responsibility for that disastrous decision!
The Prince was more pleased to be presented with the fist of only 100 Limited Edition bottles of a special Prestonpans 275 Blended Malt Whisky from local producer George Cairns.
Monday September 21st, the precise anniversary, saw the Laying of Wreaths at the Memorial Tables on the 1722 Waggonway in the centre of the battlefield itself – again growing a fine crop of brussels sprouts this year.
The Lament was played by Alistair Campbell from the Prestonpans Royal British Legion Pipe Band. The Trust’s new Interpretation Board was also on display.
Shortly before the commemoration the unveiling of a coveted Red Plaque of the National Transport Trust took place at the 1722 Waggonway Museum, by Vice President John Cameron, who was readily minded to recall the success his Clan had that very day 275 years ago in taking the British Army’s artillery as they charged across the rails!