Winter Lectures

In the winter there is a series of lectures which are usually illustrated.
They are held on Thursdays at 7.30pm in Ayr Town Hall.

Session 2020-21 will begin on Zoom, details to follow. Let’s hope we can finish the series in the Town Hall as usual!

For information, these were our recent programmes:

10th October 2019
Iraia Arabaolaza, GUARD
A Roman Marching Camp in Ayr


Following this fascinating talk you can find more information and detail by clicking on the following link to see/download the above Report:

24th October 2019
Hayley Douglas, Clyde Muirshel Park,
Tag’n’Track Lesser Black Back Gulls

14th November 2019
Anne Crone BA PhD MCIFA FSA Scot
The Black Loch of Myrton

Excavations at Black Loch of Myrton in Dumfries and Galloway in 2015, 2016 and 2017 have yielded stunning new information about life in the Iron Age.


28th November 2019
Dr. Stephen Harrison, University of Glasgow
Viking Burial Practices in Britain and Ireland

9th January 2020
Dr. Douglas G. Lockhart, Scottish Local History Forum
Bazaars, Buildings and Benevolence: 1830s to 1930s.

The word ‘bazaar’ was first used to describe a sale of work in 1813 in London and spread throughout the developed world in the 19th century. By the 1870s they were huge extravaganzas lasting several days, with entertainments, such as puppet shows, theatrical performances and displays of novelties such as electric light, early moving pictures, and motor cars.  At their peak between 1880 and 1910 there were probably over 300 bazaars a year in Scotland. Extravagant bazaars fell out of fashion with the start of World War I.

Local businesses sponsored advertisements in bazaar books, and some supplied materials, such as flour for baking competitions. At one bazaar Sunlight Soap provided soap for washing competitions where men had to wash clothes. Meanwhile women had to whistle or hammer in nails.

Bazaars raised funds for good causes, such as children’s charities, or for the sick. Many public buildings were funded by subscription, but if there was a shortfall, bazaars were held to pay off the debt. About two thirds were for church buildings and halls of various kinds (town, village, drill, masonic, church). There were also bazaars for bridges, harbours, libraries, music and students’ associations. Others were held to raise funds for the work of organisations, such as the Highland Associations, or political parties, and of course many were for sports club funds, including golf, tennis, bowling, curling, rugby, cricket, cycling.


23rd January 2020
(Change of programme due to illness)

Denis Rattenbury, Secretary, AANHS
Enlightenment Edinburgh,
seen from the bottom of a beer glass


13th February 2020
Kirsty Archer-Thompson, Abbotsford Trust

Managing the maintenance, conservation, interpretation and visitor experience at one of the most important writer’s homes in the world, and curating an internationally renowned object collection, archive and library. Passionate about championing literary and creative places as a distinct form of cultural heritage and exploring authorial and artistic legacies and what they mean today.
Studied at Queen’s University, Belfast and University of York.
Previous to working at Abbotsford, Kirsty worked for the York Archaeological Trust as well as working at ‘York Chocolate Story’

“A Delilah of his Imagination”: Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford


27th February 2020
Dr. Alison Cathcart, University of Glasgow
‘The reparatioun of the said harborie is most necessaire and expedient for the honnour creditte and benefeit of the whole cuntrey’: Ayr and plantation in Ireland, c.1550-1625


26th March 2020 … cancelled
Dr Stephanie Johnstone
Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels, Ecology and Conservation of Red Squirrels

This presentation will be followed by the 2020 AGM.

Thursday 9th April 2020 … cancelled
The AANHS Social Evening

This was our programme for 2018-2019:

11   October
The Neolithic of Ayrshire in its Wider Context
Dr Ann McSween, Historic Environment Scotland

 25 October
Duping the Luftwaffe – Bomber Decoys of WWII

Niall Logan

15 November
Films of Ayrshire from the Past
Scottish Film Archives

 29 November
Scotland’s Rock Art Project
Dr Tertia Barnett, University of Edinburgh

 10 January
In Search of Robert the Bruce
Dr Martin McGregor, University of Glasgow

 24 January
Culzean Caves: Recent Excavations
Ian Joyce, National Trust for Scotland

14 February
Recent Excavations around the Mediaeval Burgh of Ayr
Tom Rees, Rathmell Archaeology

 28 February
Listen to the Stones: Unleashing the storytelling potential of Scotland’s Carved Stones
Dr Sally Foster, University of Stirling

 14 March
Shining a Light on Scotland’s Textile Past
Anita Quye, University of Glasgow

For your information, this was our programme for 2017/2018:

Thurs 12th October
The Botany of Ailsa Craig
Bernard Zonfrillo, Honorary Lecturer, University of Glasgow

Thurs 26th October
St. Ninian and the Sea: New Work on Early Christian Whithorn
Dr. Adrian Maldonado, University of Glasgow

Thurs 9th November
The Lowland Clearances
Peter Aitchison & Andrew Cassell, University of Glasgow

Thurs 23rd November
People and Water at the Heart of Neolithic Orkney
(Buchan Lecture sponsored by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland)
Caroline Wickham-Jones, University of Aberdeen

Thurs 11th January
Neolithic to Art Nouveau: Conservation Projects at AOL Archaeology
Natalie Mitchell, AOC Archaeology

Thurs 25th January
Nature Reserves in Ayrshire
Gill Smart, Scottish Wildlife Trust

Thurs 8th February
Ardrossan Castle
Tom Rees, Rathmell Archaeology

Thurs 22nd February
Discovering the Prehistoric Settlements of Ayr
Kevin Paton, AOC Archaeology

Thurs 8th March
The King under the Care Home: James I and the Perth Charterhouse Project
Professor Richard Oram, University of Stirling
Followed by short AGM

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