2020 Commemorations of 275th Anniversary of the Battle: here's the detail
A creative project for young people, celebrating the cultural legacy of The ‘45
The Jacobite Rising of 1745 has fascinated, moved and inspired people all around the world for 275 years. The Battle of Prestonpans, an unexpected triumph by the untested Highland army over professional redcoat forces, triggered a particularly rich and diverse cultural legacy which continues to this day. We believe the creation of new work is just as important as the presentation of the past.
The Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust wishes to celebrate 275 years of creativity by calling on young people from around the country to contribute to the telling of this amazing story
This project invites young people of school age to create new contributions to the cultural legacy of the Jacobite Rising of 1745 and the Battle of Prestonpans.
There will be three categories for submissions:
1) Poetry – any form of verse writing, in English, Scots or Gaelic.
2) Prose (500 words maximum) – can be descriptive or a short story, in English, Scots or Gaelic
3) Visual art – paintings, drawings, illustrations, textile art etc
Entries should reflect one of the following themes:
1) The Prince has landed
2) A Call to Arms
3) On the March
5) Victory or Defeat
6) Looking back
Gaelic language entries should be accompanied by English translations.
Submissions can be made via schools or as individuals, and entrants should be aged 10-17 years.
The project will have a dedicated webpage with information and advice. Schools wishing to take part as part of their classroom activities will receive an information pack.
Deadline for submissions will be 20 December 2020. Written entries should be submitted by email and artworks can either be posted or high-resolution photographs can also be submitted by email.
By April 2021, in time for the 275th anniversary of the end of the Jacobite Rising, all entries will be published online. Depending on the numbers of entries received, a sample of the most imaginative and engaging entries from each category will be selected for inclusion in a special printed book and exhibition.
“FRIENDS OF THE PRINCE” - Building a network of friends, volunteers, and tour guides
As the Trust seeks to expand its activity programmes and create a sustainable platform for ongoing future activity, it is essential that we develop a network of engaged friends and volunteers to support our work. The “Friends of the Prince” will draw together the informal networks which have already evolved from the tapestry projects and the followers of our online newsletter, whilst using social media to attract new supporters. Over 100 have already registered their interest ready for the new Friends group to begin development. These supporters will help spread information about upcoming activities, and provide a core of engaged volunteers who will actively support the Trust’s events and exhibitions. In particular, the Trust will seek to recruit and train a corps of volunteer guides who will facilitate increased capacity for battlefield tours.
The development of the Friends of the Prince will be supported by a social media strategy designed to stimulate and sustain interest in the heritage, which will be created and curated by engagement with local secondary school pupils developing skills in creative technology.
Exploring Prestonpans Battlefield is rewarding and inspiring, but modern interventions into the landscape create challenges for unguided visitors. The Trust has installed signage and developed a free-to-download mobile phone application to address some of these difficulties, but the most effective way to explore remains the use of a skilled guide.
Over the years the Trust has presented a number of imaginative guided tours, including an annual night-time walk during the Saltire Festival and an interactive “Battlefield Alive” tour featuring costumed interpreters. A two-hour walking tour exploring the key locations and monuments has been developed, and it has proved successful with both the general public and special interest groups, and it has also been trialled a number of times with primary school groups. However, the Trust is currently able to provide only 2-3 battlefield walking tours per year. This lack of capacity has prevented a regular programme of tours from being developed, or the promotion of tours to walking groups.
The Trust will invite members of the Friends and referrals from local volunteering organisations to train as battlefield guides. We will commission a consultant guide to develop a training and accreditation process, and an administrator to establish a booking system for both guides and visitors/tourists. This process will not only increase the Trust’s capacity and therefore increase both awareness, understanding and access to the battlefield heritage, but also create an opportunity to volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to develop a new portfolio of historical, guiding and inter-personal skills.
TAKING THE BATTLE ONLINE
In an increasingly digital world, the online presentation of the Battlefield and the Trust’s activities are of considerable signifance. In 2020, the Trust is seeking to streamline and modernise its web presence to create a more integrated, user-friendly and accessible site which better reflects its activities and the battlefield experiences on offer for visitors. This will require a complete overhaul of its current website, developing it into an informative and inspiring resource for visitors; an interface between the battlefield and the digital world.
The Trust’s activities are divided over a number of different websites, with separate spaces for the Trust, the battlefield itself, the Prestonpans Tapestry and the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry. This situation has developed organically over the past thirteen years, but although the news blogs interrelate this approach creates an uncoordinated presence which restricts user experience and understanding. The complex range of links, boxes and buttons, combined with flashing messages, falls short of best practice and makes the site inaccessible for all but the most committed browsers.
The Trust plans to overhaul its principal website, replacing the historical information to ensure it reflects the latest archaeological and historical understanding of the battle and its significance. The battlefield itself, the heritage assets it contains, and the practical details of visiting and exploring the site will be given prominence for the first time, with a revamped and up-to-date interactive map of the landscape. The site will also profile artworks and artefacts in the Trust’s collection, feature downloadable education materials, and make information on events and activities much easier to locate and book.
Systems will be in-built for registering for the Friends of the Prince, booking tickets to events, and donating to the charity. The accessibility of the website will also be considerably improved, in line with best practice for audiences of all needs.
The Trust’s reinvented digital presence will be developed as an assessed project with computing students at Edinburgh College, and will form the core of an ongoing relationship which will see the evolution of the website, battlefield app and new digital resources (including on-site activity trails maximising usage of existing potential), supported by monitored analytics and SEO strategies. In addition, the college will seek to use the battlefield relationship as a link in developing skills within the battlefield communities of Prestonpans, Tranent and Cockenzie.
As a result of the digital and online elements of the anniversary project, the heritage will be more accessible than ever before, building new and lasting community relationships and encouraging the use of the local heritage as an entry point for wider skills development.
PRESTONPANS 275 EXHIBITION
Mark 275 years since the Battle of Prestonpans
To commemorate the 275th anniversary of the Battle and its part in the last Jacobite Rising, an exhibition will be held at the John Gray Centre, East Lothian’s county museum in Haddington. It will run from 3rd October 2020 to the 12 January 2021, shining a light not only on the evolution of a battlefield but also the way in which the Jacobite story has been told in art, literature and on screen.
This exhibition will celebrate the rich cultural legacy of the battle by exploring the ways the its story has been told across the centuries. It will also look at some of the changes to the landscape of Prestonpans battlefield and the ways it has been memorialised. The exhibition will be curated by Dr Arran Johnston, and the displays will feature artworks and artefacts from several collections including the Trust’s own. The range of paintings, textiles, archaeological finds and replica flags will ensure an engaging and colourful exhibition, thoughtfully and imaginatively presented, providing interest for a wide audience and age range.
The story of the Jacobite Rising sustains considerable fascination in both Scottish and international audiences, and the displays will feature artworks and artefacts from the 18th-21st centuries. It is planned that one of the key items will be the 1933 “Prayer for Victory” tapestry, created at the famous Dovecot Studios for the Marquess of Bute, which has not been displayed in public since the 1980s. The loan has already been agreed in principle.
The exhibition will be supported by a schedule of events targeting different age ranges, including an event connected to the Victory Hope & Ambition art and literature project which will provide a platform for young people engaging in that project to perform/exhibit some of their work in a museum environment alongside a curated collection.
East Lothian Council Museums service have shown their support for the exhibition by provisionally allocating the two temporary exhibition galleries at their flagship museum site in Haddington, which is the focus for county heritage. The exhibition will also explore the ways in which the communities surrounding the battlefield and the physical landscape in which they sit has been affected by change in the 275 years since the battle.
THE PRESTONPANS TAPESTRY
10th Anniversary Tour
In the summer of 2010, after over 18 months of work, the 105m long Prestonpans Tapestry was launched in a marquee on Prestonpans Battlefield. Designed by Andrew Crummy, hundreds of hands stitched the story of the Prince’s journey from exile in Rome to victory at Prestonpans. The tapestry has since been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors, inspiring a series of major new artworks in its wake. To celebrate 10 years since its inaugural tour, the Prestonpans Tapestry will return for a series of exhibitions across the country.
After a series of annual tours, the Prestonpans Tapestry has been rested in recent years to prevent deterioration of the textiles. Following professional appraisal by conservators in 2018, the Tapestry will return to public display throughout the 275th anniversary of the last Jacobite Rising and the events which it commemorates, and the concurrent 10th anniversary of its own creation.
The headline exhibition will take the Tapestry into an area where it has never before been seen, at the Garioch Heritage Centre at Inverurie in Aberdeenshire. There it will support initiatives to raise the profile of Inverurie’s own Jacobite battle, which is undesignated and lacks commemoration and awareness. This exhibition will therefore support both our heritage and that of the host community. As a three-month display, the Garioch exhibition will present a range of opportunities for events, activities and school engagement. The Trust will work with the Garioch Centre heritage trust, the Alan Breck’s Prestonpans Volunteers, and local guides and embroiderers in the Inverurie area.
Following Inverurie there will be at least two other exhibitions of the Prestonpans Tapestry in community venues across the north of Scotland designed to bring the story of the battle directly to audiences in the Highlands, ideally in areas where major exhibitions are not commonly able to reach. In complement to one of these exhibitions, we will host a special musical evening event to celebrate the Gaelic song and poetry inspired by the battle. For this we will engage with the host community and with young people engaged in the Victory Hope & Ambition project.
THE 275th ANNIVERSARY WEEKEND
In 1745 the two armies arrived in the battlefield landscape on 20th September, jockeying for advantage until the battle itself on the morning of 21st September. Two hundred and seventy-five years later, we will be marking the anniversary with a range of events in the community designed to attract a diverse audience of different interests.
Clans & Regiments Exhibition
It is hoped that a new series of exhibition panels exploring the clans and regiments which fought at the battle, and highlighting a range of locally connected individuals who were directly involved in the battle, will be displayed in a prominent community location ahead of and during the anniversary weekend. It is hoped that this may be one of the local schools. These portable panels will update and replace the former Prince’s Loyal Clans exhibition created over 10 years ago, which no longer reflects the latest knowledge of the battle and does not explore connections within the communities of the battlefield area. The information on these panels will be submitted to clan societies and regimental authorities for sign-off, developing a network of engaged contacts, and their design will allow for the panels to be easily stored and transported for use either in part or as a collection in future exhibitions.
Saturday 19 September
In collaboration with Helion & Company military history publishers we will host a Jacobite studies conference at the Prestoungrange Gothenburg. A range of expert speakers will present papers covering a wide range of topics relating to the Jacobite wars. The Trust’s historian will present on the evolution and commemoration of the battlefield over the last 275 years. The proceedings of the conference will be published by Helion in time for the 275th anniversary of the end of the Rising, April 2021. The day will be open to the general public, making the latest research and understanding of the heritage accessible and engaging.
In the evening, at Prestonpans Town Hall a specially commissioned concert will be held. Narrated by “Bonnie Prince Charlie” himself, the concert will tell the story of the Prestonpans by showcasing the music which would have been listened to in 1745 as well as familiar tunes from the Jacobite musical legacy. This combination of music and storytelling was piloted in Edinburgh to a limited audience several years ago but has never been presented in Prestonpans itself.
Monday 21 September
On the actual anniversary of the battle the Trust will invite local schools to bring classes onto the battlefield for costumed walking tours. These will include the opportunity for the pupils to participate in the laying of wreaths in memory of those who fought and fell in the conflicts of the past.
Before and/or after their tour, classes will be invited to visit the Prestonpans Tapestry exhibition, where they will be introduced to the tapestry and led through engaging activities developed by museum education professionals.
We trust this will be a worthy commemoration and greatly extend our understanding across our community of the national and international significance of this battle - immediately in 1745, up to this anniversary year and on into the future.
Published Date: November 30th 2019