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News from the Glasgow & West of Scotland Branch of the Historical Association


Glasgow & West of Scotland Branch of the Historical Association Programme 2017-18

All talks are held in Hillhead Library at 17.30, except on 8th November when the G&WSBHA and G&SUOTC are holding a joint event.*

NT; (c) Montacute House; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Wednesday 8th November Joint Event with G&SUOTC
“General Abercromby and the Regeneration of the British Army”
Boyd Orr Building ground floor, University Avenue, off Byres Road;
available from 6.00pm; talk starts 6.30pm.*

Mrs Carole Divall writes
My first thoughts would be to “follow” Abercromby through the wars of the 1st and 2nd Coalitions – which would embrace Flanders 1793-1795, the West Indies, Ireland, Den Helder and Egypt, focusing not so much on a detailed account of each campaign (which would take several sessions) but how there gradually emerged a British army capable of taking on the French, and how Abercromby’s philosophy and approach to command enable this to happen.”



Thursday 14th December
“Anti-war opinion in Scotland during the Great War”
Professor Ewan Cameron writes
This talk will examine the different strands of anti-war activity in Scotland during the Great War. Most attention has been paid to the work of John Maclean and the legal processes to which he was subjected. There were, however, other strands of activity. Arthur Ponsonby, the Liberal MP for Stirling Burghs was a key figure in the Union of Democratic Control (UDC) and was a very controversial figure, not least in his local constituency. Helen Crawfurd, a Suffragette and Communist activist in the rent strikes of 1915 was a key figure in the Women’s Peace Crusade and was an important voice in anti-war activity. We are also fortunate in Scotland that we have one of only a small number of surviving records of the Appeal Tribunals that processed the claims of Conscientious Objectors. These relate to Midlothian and Peebles and provide an insight into some of the less prominent objectors to the war and the different motivations that induced them to take an anti-war stance. The talk will investigate these different strands of anti-war activity in Scotland in the Great War and relate them to the wider history of anti-war activity in Europe during the conflict.
Thursday 11th January
“The liturgical aftermath of the Second Vatican Council”
The Right Honourable Lord Gill writes
I hope to describe (1) how the liturgical changes effected after the Council exceeded the intentions of the Council; (2) what influences led to the suppression of the traditional liturgy; and (3) the effects of the liturgical changes; (4) how the traditional movement grew in strength over the next half century; and (5) what the future holds for Catholic liturgy.”

Thursday 8th February
“How did the New Deal change America?”
Professor Anthony Badger

Thursday 8th March
“The cannon – an investigation into a Sevastopol cannon that went missing in 1935”
Panel led by Mr Gary Nisbet
(1) Discovery of the cannon – news flashes
Milngavie and Bearsden Herald 30/03/17 “History buffs solve the mystery of the cannon” – G&WSBHA Marie Davidson and Richard Binns report finding the gun in a Bearsden garden.
Evening Times 24/1/07 “I0-year hunt for Glasgow picture ends in America” – Gary Nisbet.

(2) Examination of the cannon as an historical artefact
The leader of the world wide census of Russian Trophy Guns from the Crimean War, Major Colin Robins OBE FRHistS, Editor Emeritus, ‘The War Correspondent’ Journal of the Crimean War a Research Society read the Milngavie and Bearsden Herald article and emailed the Secretary of the G&WSBHA to enquire about the identity of the cannon. (4 April 2017). Major Robins considered, that “conflicting information about the Glasgow guns might be at least partly resolved if this gun which has come to light can be examined.” – “looking towards the muzzle, the left trunnion shows the gun’s unique serial number, the place where it was cast followed by ZVD, all in abbreviated Cyrillic script, and finally the name of the designer…” “the right trunnion shows the weight of shot …and the date of casting.”

(3) The siege of Sevastopol – masterly inactivity
“Regrets, I’ve had a few, but I did it my way.” Frank Sinatra
Raglan did not follow up after the battle of the Alma – heavy casualties for nothing.
The French marched around Sevastopol – but the walls of Jericho did not fall down, giving the Russians time to strengthen their defences.
Tolstoy, young artillery officer with time on his hands, did a bit of writing about the siege that ended his military career –a self-inflicted wound.

(4) Trophy gun or commemoration of the fallen?
The Victorian ‘love affair’ with material objects may have led to the cannon being put as a trophy gun in a Glasgow Park but what happened to it in 1935?

For further information, contact the Secretary:
The Historical Association website is: