Winter Talks Programme 2021-22

We plan to run a mixed programme of live talks in the hall with two on-line talks via Zoom in January and February when travel can be difficult. If the Covid19 situation changes and the regulations about indoor meetings make this impractical we will hold as many talks as we can on-line via Zoom.

Our Talks are open to all and are held in the MacRobert Hall, The Square, Tarland,  on the second Thursday of the month, except for December when it’s on Thursday 2nd. The talks begin at 7.30 pm and entry is £5.00. Doors open from 7 pm.  The MacRobert Hall now has an Induction Loop System for hearing aid users.

Live Talks in the MacRobert Hall

14th October 2021  – Care of the wounded on the Western Front 1914-18

Thomas Scotland will tell us how four years of warfare led to many groundbreaking developments in medical care. In the early months of the Great War, surgical management of wounds was hopelessly inadequate and there were thousands of potentially avoidable deaths from infections and from gas gangrene. Resuscitation of seriously wounded soldiers was practically non existent since there was little understanding of surgical shock caused by massive blood loss. Anaesthesia was dangerous and the use of ether and chloroform in extremely vulnerable patients caused many anaesthetic related deaths.  Four years of warfare led to many groundbreaking developments in resuscitation, anaesthesia and surgery and the principles of war surgery as practised today became established.

11th November 2021 – Something Corny

Elaine Lindsay keeps alive the old rural craft skill of fashioning decorations from straw. Her talk and demonstration will cover traditional straw work and the stories behind it, including  corn dollies, the straw hat industry and straw marquetry. She will also show how straw work is continuing to evolve into the future.

2nd December 2021  – Taking the Strain

Douglas Harper will tell us the story of John Harper who left his parents’ farm near Turriff aged 10 and entered the world of work. Forty years later he was one of Aberdeen’s largest employers. A fencer to trade, he invented and ingenious ‘device for straining wire’, boosting his business world wide and setting the stage for diversifying into suspension bridges, mill engineering and tractor and motor car manufacture. A fence may be the Cinderella of our industrial archaeology but it had consequences other than keeping sheep off the railway tracks and other peoples’ land.

10th March 2022 – Alexander Walker, composer, musician, inventor

Peter Duffus will tell us about the life of Alexander Walker, the head gardener at the House of Newe. A well known fiddler , he was also a mathematical instrument designer, composer, journalist, surveyor, inventor, archaeologist and meteorologist. A remarkable polymath. Many of the tunes he composed  are still being played and enjoyed today

28th April 2022 – Following the Drovers

Please note thisdate has been changed from the 14th due to unexpected circumstances.

Fred Gordon will take us on a journey following the cattle drovers through Highland Scotland. They came from Skye, Sutherland, Moray, Aberdeen and beyond and travelled to the cattle markets in Falkirk. This is a glimpse of their world and it’s echoes in today’s landscape.

On-line Talks via Zoom

These talks will only be live streamed via Zoom so there will be no-one at the MacRobert Hall on these two dates.  There will be an opportunity to ask the speaker questions at the end of the talk.

13th January 2022 – Tap o’ Noth: Boom Town or Seasonal Assembly? 

The Northern Picts project has been working for ten years in the Rhynie Valley, Aberdeenshire. Previous excavations have revealed a probable early royal centre of the Picts in the valley, just to the south of the modern village. New work has revealed this site is just the tip of the iceberg with the 16 hectare hillfort at Tap o’ Noth now dated to the same period – 5th-6th centuries AD. Professor Gordon Noble will summarise all the evidence we have thus far for this important Pictish landscape.

10th February 2022 – Leaves from a Lady’s Photograph Albums

In 1890, Ishbel, the wife of Lord Aberdeen, bought two of George Eastman’s newly-invented portable Kodak cameras.  She took them with her wherever she went: to Ireland, North America and England and to the House of Cromar (now Alastrean House).  Afterwards, she filled dozens of albums with her photographs.  In tonight’s talk, her biographer Simon Welfare explores her extraordinary and eye-opening collection.