Friends of Duff House

Spring 2020 Thursday Talks programme

These talks are open to all with no need to book and are held at Fife Lodge Hotel (Sandyhill Rd, Banff).  Members of FoDH have free entry (you can join on arrival for just £10 to end Dec 2020!); £4 is payable by others.

Lunches are available at Fife Lodge from noon, and an afternoon tea is available to attendees after the Talk at a special price of just £2.50.

Important: The Friends Talks are a perfume free zone.  We politely ask that all those coming along do not use perfumed products beforehand.  Thankyou.


Thurs 23rd Jan 2pm   The History & Evolution of Cullen House”. Buckie loon Colin Shearer lived in the South of England for 30 years before returning to the North-East of Scotland in 2015.  Despite the fact he is busier than he’d planned to be in “semi-retirement”, living in Cullen House has given him a wonderful opportunity to indulge his passion for history.  He’ll be talking about the development of the house over the centuries, grand redevelopment plans that were never executed, numerous puzzles (some now solved!) thrown up by architectural features, and recent discoveries concerning the history of the site prior to the current house.

Thurs 30th Jan 2pm   “A Festival in the North”.  As part of her PhD research into boatbuilding communities, Lorna Summers made contact with groups in Norway. Representatives of Forbundet Kysten, their coastal federation, attended the past three Boat Festivals at Portsoy and “had a ball”!  Lorna was invited to their National Festival, held in a different venue each year, 2019 in Trondheim, which featured an amazing 250 boats together with maritime crafts, demonstrations and wonderful hospitality.

Thurs 6th Feb 2pm   18th & 19th century Travellers Accounts of Visiting historic Scottish Sites”. Judith Anderson is a Senior Cultural Significance Adviser at Historic Environment Scotland. Tourists have been attracted to Scotland for a long time, encouraged by books such as the 1799 “A Companion and Useful Guide to the Beauties of Scotland” by Mrs Murray, mostly written from personal experience.  Scottish tourism became a boom industry by the 1840’s and the Talk, with many pictures, shows examples of such tourism – of which our area has it’s fair share!

Thurs 13th Feb 2pm   “The Lairds between Cullen and Fochabers”.  Peter Reid is a Professor of Librarianship at RGU with a particular interest in the culture and heritage of the North-East.  Many years of research have allowed him to collate substantial information about those that have had a major influence on the development of this region, which he is coming to share with us.

Thurs 20th Feb 2pm   “Counties, Parishes and the Shakkin Briggie”.  The Aberdeen & North-East Scotland Family History Society is well known for having a wide-ranging knowledge of genealogy and local history.  Gavin Bell is part of NESFHS and has given several interesting talks in the area; he promises this one will not be a repeat!

Thurs 27th Feb 2pm   “The Declaration of Arbroathwas Scotland declaring it’s independence in 1320.  Andrew Barr has studied this subject in detail, and with beautiful illustrations will tell us about Scotland’s distinctive democratic roots in this 700th anniversary year.  Andrew is an acclaimed writer and artist.

Thurs 5th Mar 2pm   Terpersie Castle – The Restoration of a 16th Century Gem”.  Mike Taitt   was brought up on a farm near Keith and served with the Gordon Highlanders from 1965 to 1983.  On leaving the army he started a building company specialising in the repair and restoration of historic buildings.  The restoration of Terpersie Castle near Alford was his first project and was undertaken between 1983 and 1987.  He has been a committee member and case worker with The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland for the past thirty years, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and maintains an interest in the Great North of Scotland Railway and vintage cars.

Thurs 12th Mar 2pm   Historical Geography of World War 1 Memorial Buildings in Scotland”.  Douglas Lockhart from the Scottish Local History Forum has given us a great Talk in the past and now returns to give us many more interesting stories.

Thurs 19th Mar 2pm   “Local paintings”   Corinna Leenan is an Art Historian and the Duff House Collections Manager.  Building on the Talk she gave at the 2019 Study Days Corinna will give us more information about some of the local paintings and their artists in the HES and NGS collections.

The last Talk of the Spring will be Thurs 23rd April, 2pm, to be held in Duff House itself.