APRS Resources

1929 Annual Report

This is the very first report of APRS after it was established.

Association for the Preservation of Rural Scotland FIRST REPORT 1929 

3 FORRES STREET, EDINBURGH

Telephone, 30317

OFFICE BEARERS 

Honorary President 

The Rt. Hon. THE EARL OF CRAWFORD 

& BALCARRES, K.T. 

President 

The Rt. Hon. THE EARL OF HADDINGTON, M.C. 

Vice-President 

Sir JOHN STIRLING MAXWELL, Bart. 

Chairman of Executive 

Sir IAIN COLQUHOUN, Bart., D.S.O. 

Hon. Secretary 

F. C. MEARS, F.R.I.B.A. 

Hon. Treasurer 

ALEXANDER HARRISON, C.A. 

Organising Secretary 

KENNETH FERGUSON 

Office Staff 

Miss A. E. B. BEGG, Assistant Organiser 

Miss D. GILRUTH, Assistant Treasurer 

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 

Chairman-SIR IAIN COLQUHOUN, BART., D.S.O. 

MARQUESS OF ABERDEEN AND 

TEMAIR, K.T. 

MARCHIONESS OF ABERDEEN 

AND TEMAIR. 

Prof. F. G. BAILY. 

Major W. A. BAIRD. 

Rev. T. RATCLIFFE BARNETT. 

J. BARTHOLOMEW. 

H. MORTIMER BATTEN. 

Sir T. HUDSON BEARE. 

Sir D. Y. CAMERON. 

GEORGE CONNOR. 

J. ALLAN COOK. 

Rev. W. S. CROCKETT. 

A. O. CURLE. 

Sir GEORGE DOUGLAS, Bart. 

G. EYRE-TODD. 

Sir JOHN R. FINDLAY, Bart. 

G. M. FRASER. 

SETON GORDON. 

Sir ALEXANDER GRANT, Bart. 

B. HALL BLYTH. 

J. M. HUNTER. 

HARRY R. G. INGLIS. G. ERSKINE JACKSON. Sir HENRY KEITH. 

JAMES LOCHHEAD. 

T. F. MACLENNAN. 

C. BREWSTER MACPHERSON. 

N. MACVICAR. 

NEIL MUNRO. 

Ex-Provost NORVAL. 

J. WILSON PATERSON. JAMES PATERSON. R. M. PULLAR. 

J. M. RUSK. 

A. W. RUSSELL. 

W. P. M. RUSSELL. 

Sir HUGH SHAW STEWART, 

Bart. 

Mrs STUART. JOHN WARRACK. 

W. E. WHYTE. 

MAURICE YORKE. 

The Association for the Preservation of Rural Scotland 

FIRST REPORT, 1929 

THE Executive Committee has pleasure in submitting the First Report of the Association, together with a Statement of Finances for the period ending 31st December 1928. 

INTRODUCTION 

The Association was formally constituted at a meeting held at 15 Rutland Square, Edinburgh, on 4th July 1927. Preliminary meetings had been held during the preceding April and May, when the objects and general plan of the Association were discussed. 

The Committee has to record with deep regret the death of its first Chairman, Lord Constable, on 4th November last. His Lordship’s protracted ill-health prevented the full exercise of his keen interest in the objects and affairs of the Association, which was thereby deprived of his leadership and direction for the greater part of last year. For this reason, and through the unavoidable absence of the Honorary Secretary, no Annual General Meeting was held in the spring of 1928. 

Following upon its formal constitution, the Association commenced operations at a meeting held on 21st October 1927, when various matters came under discussion. At a subsequent meeting on 23rd November of that year, Lord Constable formally stated the objects of the Association as now set forth in its brochure, and sub- mitted the Constitution and Rules. At this meeting the members of the Council and of the Executive Committee were appointed. 

In November last Sir Iain Colquhoun was invited to become Chairman of Executive, and the Association was fortunate in securing his services in that capacity. 

THE WORK OF THE ASSOCIATION 

Activities may be grouped as follows:- 

1. Education-speaking, writing, and general publicity. 2. Examination and handling of specific questions. 

EDUCATION 

One of the primary objects of the Association, and a considerable part of its usefulness, lies in the cultivation of public opinion in the practical application of æsthetics. So long as the practical value and a due appreciation of the objects of Rural Preservation are disregarded, so long will a deplorable degree of disfigurement and short-sighted exploitation continue, and Administrative Bodies will lack the stimulus to attain a higher standard of regard for amenities in general. The Association has therefore been assiduous through its Office-bearers, Staff, and Members in speaking, writing, and broadcasting upon appropriate subjects. In this direction im- mediate results are scarcely to be expected, but the influence exerted, though indirect, may be none the less effective. 

SPECIFIC QUESTIONS 

Regional and Town Planning.

Progress in Scotland has been slow, and far behind England, but significant beginnings have now been made. The Association has actively promoted interest in this highly important work, and its members are prominently engaged in areas where development is taking place. The Association offers expert advice if called upon to give it, and it is scarcely too much to say that in Regional Planning, wisely carried out, there lies the key to the main groundwork of Rural Preservation. The greater part of the country is as yet unspoilt, and the Association’s combined forces way well be directed towards a continued campaign to arrest haphazard growth and to strengthen the hands of Local Authorities by guiding public opinion. 

Road and Bridging Matters

Scotland is undergoing a meta- morphosis in this respect. Old bridges are likely to suffer in the process, and while those existing prior to 1707 are in all important instances Scheduled Monuments, many fine examples of a later date are not protected, and may be defaced or swept away. The new highroad through Glencoe came under the Committee’s notice some months prior to the sharp controversy in the Press which arose in the spring of last year. Negotiations were con- ducted with the Ministry of Transport, and a meeting with its representatives was held on the ground. Recommendations and suggestions were made, but a promise of further consultation has not as yet been implemented by the Ministry. Work has now commenced, and the Association will keep a close watch on the operations. The design of certain concrete bridges in the High- lands has been severely criticised, and, while it has been recognised that concrete construction has come to stay, it is hoped that exotic structures of the sort mentioned will not be again intruded into characteristic Scottish settings. The matter of the proposed bridge at Dornie Ferry in Kintail is under observation, and attention has been given to the Trossachs, and other road widenings. 

Hydro-electric Schemes

These vast projects, affecting 1000 square miles of some of the finest scenery in Scotland, have been prominently before the Association’s notice all winter, occasioning much labour in exhaustive scrutiny and incidental correspondence. A detailed report and analysis of the schemes was published on 16th February, and has carried great weight. The preamble of the Galloway Scheme has now been proved before a Select Committee of the House of Lords, while the West Highland proposal has been rejected as unsound; thus bearing out the Association’s general findings. It is understood that the Grampian Scheme will come up for inquiry on 18th April. It is to be remarked that the Association has no locus standi to appear at such inquiries as an objector. Proposals were made for a delegation to approach the Secretary of State for Scotland, but Sir John Gilmour indicated that no good purpose would be served thereby. Arrangements are, however, being made for a delegation to explain the Association’s views at a non-party meeting of the Scottish M.P.’s, prior to the third readings in the Houses of Parliament. 

Unless it can be proved that these water-power schemes, as now planned, are an economic necessity from the broadest national point of view, their intrusion of large dams, pipe-lines, power-stations, and transmission towers, and their wholesale interference with the amenities of lochs and rivers for private gain, must be deplored by every lover of the beauty of our country. No effort has been spared to give expression to our fully considered opinion, both for the guidance of the public and as representations to Parliament. Incidentally, attention has been called to the remarkable Falls of Glomach (the highest falls in Great Britain), which are threatened with virtual obliteration in the plans of the Grampian Scheme. There is the less reason for such a vandalism, as the catchment area concerned appears to be immaterial to the success of this scheme as a whole. 

Advertisement Control.

Examination reveals the fact that the apparently useful Acts of 1907 and 1925 are in practice inoperative. A letter embodying the Association’s findings was published in the leading Scottish papers in March, and it is intended to promote fresh legislation to enable Local Authorities to license all hoardings in their areas. As matters stand at present, a spasmodic warfare is waged between the public on the one hand and the bill-posters on the other, to the advantage of neither. During the period under review, the Association has been instrumental in causing the removal of unsightly hoardings in various localities, and has dealt with many complaints. The major question, however, can never be satisfactorily settled until legislation of a definite character is put on the Statute Book. 

Tree Planting

Arising from the “Men of the Trees” Movement, suggestions were laid before the Scout Commissioners for Scout troops to take up planting at suitable vantage points. The Commissioners have approved the suggestions in general, and information has been sent to all County Secretaries of the Scout Movement in Scotland. The Royal Scottish Arboricultural Society has long been interested in the matter, and the institution of an Arbor day has been mooted. 

Other subjects which are receiving attention are: 

  • River Pollution. 
  • The Squatter nuisance. 
  • The Litter question. 
  • Petrol-filling Stations and Signs. 
  • Scottish National Park Proposals. 
  • The education of the public in the direction of a better apprecia- tion of Scottish Domestic Architecture offers a field in which the services of the Association can be used to the public advantage. 

GENERAL ORGANISATION 

With the strengthening of the Association’s staff it has been possible to undertake a considerable volume of work, which remains, however, at present, for the most part centralised. An extension of Committee work would enlarge the Association’s scope, but the apparatus of sub-committees originally formed has not, with certain exceptions, been found to answer; the difficulties mainly arising from the scattered nature of the membership. It has been decided therefore to constitute an Advisory Panel, from which special committees may be nominated as occasion arises. It is desired to establish local Secretaryships in the larger centres in order to have opportunities for personal contact in these areas. 

Membership.

At 31st December last the Membership of the Association stood as follows:- 

Life Members 36, Annual Members 170 

Subscription rates were lowered by one-half in January, and an Associate category at 5s. per annum was introduced. 

Towards the end of March of this year, Membership figures are as under: 

Life Members 69 Annual Members 238 Associates 21

All constituent bodies maintain their connection with the Associa- tion, and certain new affiliations have been secured. Members may be reminded that constituent bodies (to the number of 27) are Societies of national status co-operating with the Association. Affiliations comprise Clubs and Societies of local status. 

OFFICE PREMISES 

The single small room at 3 Forres Street having become inadequate and inconvenient, two rooms have now been leased on the ground floor of the same building, with access, by arrangement with the Scottish Mountaineering Club, to a large front room for the Association’s larger meetings. 

FINANCIAL STATEMENT 

The total revenue for the period ending 31st December 1928, consisting of subscriptions, donations, etc., amounted to. 

The total payments for salaries, rent, rates, printing, postages, office furniture, and other expenditure incidental to the establishment of a new organisa- tion amounted to. 

At the 31st December there was in hand or in bank 

a balance of . 

Subject to an unpaid liability of 

£741 3 4 

£438 13 4 

£302 10 

£27 13 0 

Since the close of the year the Revenue has increased, but on the other hand much increased expenditure will require to be incurred, if necessary developments of the Association’s activities are to be accomplished. 

IAIN COLQUHOUN, Chairman

3 FORRES ST., EDINBURGH, April 1929. 

PRINTED BY NEILL AND CO., LTD., EDINBURGH, 

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