Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Andrew Currie, sculptor


Members will recall that in the February edition of the magazine there was an article " Andrew Currie, Borders Sculptor by Bob Johnston.

Some of the well known monuments which he created  are those of Mungo Park in Selkirk, the Ettrick Shepherd at St. Mary's Loch, two characters in the Scott Monument in Edinburgh and Robert the Bruce on Stirling Castle esplanade.

To co-incide with the bi-centenary of his birth his descendant  Bob Johnstone has now published a book on Andrew Currie entitled;





Published by CreateSpace  £21.78 trade paperback (also on Kindle)

Andrew Currie (1812~1891) was more than just a gifted carver of large-scale monuments in stone - like Mungo Park in Selkirk and the Ettrick Shepherd at St Mary’s Loch - and finely-wrought furniture in wood. He was also an enthusiastic antiquary, an oral historian, and a writer who penned colourful stories of life in the Borders of his youth.

The son of an insolvent Selkirkshire sheep farmer, Andrew Currie was obliged against his will to take up a trade. He worked as a millwright until his mid forties, when his health broke. Only then did he become a sculptor, which had long been his dream.

Despite his late start and the fact that he was completely self-taught, Andrew Currie managed to win prestigious public commissions in competition with much better qualified rivals. He was, by all accounts, quite a character. He was also the author’s great-great-grandfather.

Carving History is a book in three parts. Part one is a biography of the sculptor’s life; Part two consists of illustrations of his works.  Part three is a collection of his writings, including memoirs and diaries about growing up in the Scottish Borders of the early nineteenth century. The manuscripts came to light in 2011, having lain unread in a trunk in an Australian farmhouse for many decades. They are published for the first time, to coincide with Andrew Currie’s bicentenary on 6 November 2012.
“Bob Johnstone has written a fascinating biography of his  ancestor, the Scottish sculptor and antiquary, Andrew Currie. Through painstaking detective work in many sources, a long-forgotten but interesting life has now been fittingly remembered and recorded.” 
                                                       — T.M. Devine, author of The Scottish Nation.

Bob Johnstone is the author of five previous books.  Now a freelance journalist, he has been a correspondent for New Scientist, the Far East Economic Review and Wired magazine.  He lives in Melbourne.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Very Interesting Talk at Innerleithen

A very interesting talk with nice slides today at Innerleithen on their book 'A Family Life Revealed: The Stuarts at Traquair 1491 – 1875' by Catherine Maxwell Stuart and Margaret Fox, including information about the additions to Traquair House at various times. 

See my September review of their book: 'A Family Life Revealed'.

They didn't mention dragon's blood and I forgot to ask, but they did bring along another recent book, 'A Tour to the Preston Guild 1802' - the images of Lord Linton's entertaining report of his visit to Preston in 1802 - including who he met and the places he visited with a transcription of the report and brief notes on some of the many people he dissed.
The Preston Guild, which relates to Preston, Lancashire (not Preston, Berwickshire), dates back to 1179 and since 1542 met every 20 years for guild members to renew their membership. 

More about The Preston Guild.

They also mentioned that they're intending to do research on Lady Christina Stuart who eloped and married Cyrus Griffin, the last President of the Continental Congress (America) and I'm sure that will be very interesting though I expect that is several years' work.

The talk was packed and the only downer was that several lights did not work so we didn't sell any copies of our Innerleithen Monumental Inscriptions CD or indeed, many other publications.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Reminder about the meeting in Innerleithen, tomorrow

Our next meeting is on Sunday, 28th October at Innerleithen Parish Church Hall, Leithen Road, Innerleithen, EH44 6HP when Catherine Maxwell Stuart and Margaret Fox will be talking about their new book, 'A Family Life Revealed: The Stuarts at Traquair 1491 – 1875' - a fascinating insight into the life of the family through the Traquair archives, telling the story of the Stuarts and the major political upheavals, their support for Catholicism, the problems they faced in the community because of that support and strained relations in the family as well as lots of interesting snippets of general and local interest (including dragon’s blood medicine !).

I expect they’ll be bringing along copies of their book to sell and sign.

As usual, the doors will open at 2.00pm and the talk starts at 2.30pm.

Admission is free and we’ll have usual sales tables and refreshments after the talk. I hope to see you there. Map.

Free Access to England and Wales 1911 Census until 18th November

As a special offer, Genes Reunited is offering free access to transcriptions of the England and Wales 1911 Census until 18th November. There's also a discount if you want to see an image of the actual census page, which is especially useful if you think there might be a transcription error. The 1911 census was done on Sunday, 2nd April 1911 and included all individual households as well as prisons, workhouses, naval and merchant vessels. You can see details of your ancestor's marriage and occupation, including how long they were married and how many children (alive and dead) they had within that marriage; also as I discovered, one of my ancestors must have had children under another marriage.
You’ll need to register, too. Search the England and Wales 1911 Census.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Members might be interested in the following event;





Talk on 18th century costume and the archives at Paxton House

Martha Andrews and Chris Pawson

Friday 19TH October 7.00pm

In the Parish Centre, Berwick



In the June edition of the magazine I mentioned the on-going work regarding the transcription of the Milne Graden papers at Paxton House. I am aware that work has been going on over the summer and that some interesting  information being unearthed.  A chance to learn exactly what has been discovered as well as learn  something about 18th. century costume


Ronald Morrison





Monday, October 1, 2012

Receiving Magazines Electronically

The October magazine should be going off to the printers tomorrow.

 Depending on their workload I expect about two weeks will elapse before I get word back from them that the magazines are ready for uplifting. The magazines will then have to sorted, put in envelopes and either taken to the Post Office or collected by the courier. I am expecting therefore that members, at least in the U.K., will receive  their copies towards the end of this month but unfortunately for many who reside abroad, particularly those receiving their magazine by surface mail, it will be very much later.
There is however an alternative whereby you could receive the magazine right away.

 In our last issue we indicated the option of receiving the magazine electronically and a number of members have opted for this alternative This will mean that they will get their magazine immediately and save the Society printing and postage costs. It will also mean they will be able to store their magazines on their computer at home making them in many ways very much easier to access and also of course saving  physical storage space.
Needless to say we shall also waive the  postal surcharge for those who previously opted to receive their magazine by airmail so also a slight financial saving.
If you would like to receive the magazine in this way let me know. To e-mail go to our contacts page scroll down and under 'select type of contact' chose "contact the magazine editor"
As indeed is the paper version the electronic version is for personal use only
Ronald Morrison
Magazine Editor