APRS Resources

1933 APRS Annual Report

This is the 1933 Annual Report of the Association for the Preservation of Rural Scotland. The full text is contained in the post below the PDF

(A.P.R.S.) 

ANNUAL REPORT 1933 

3 FORRES STREET 

EDINBURGH 

Telephone, 30317 

Table of Contents 

ANNUAL REPORT 1933

OFFICE BEARERS

THE COUNCIL

Ex-Officio Members

Society BODIES

REPRESENTATIVES OF AFFILIATED SOCIETIES

ANNUAL REPORT, 1933

INTRODUCTION

THE WORK OF THE ASSOCIATION

THE GLASGOW CIVIC SOCIETY

ROADS AND BRIDGES

ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTION

DESIGN IN HOUSING

ANCIENT MONUMENTS

ADVERTISEMENT HOARDINGS AND SIGNS

LITTER

THE PURIFICATION OF RIVERS

STIRLING AND DISTRICT BRANCH REPORT

GALLOWAY BRANCH REPORT

COWAL COMMITTEE’S REPORT

FINANCES

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, Bt., K.T. 

Chairman of Council 

Sir IAIN COLQUHOUN, Bt., D.S.O. 

Joint Hon. Secretaries 

F. C. MEARS, F.R.I.B.A. LESLIE G. THOMSON, A.R.I.B.A. 

Hon. Treasurer 

ALEXANDER HARRISON, C.A. 

Organising Secretary 

KENNETH FERGUSON 

REPRESENTATIVES OF CONSTITUENT 

THE COUNCIL 

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

The Most Hon. THE MAR- J. ALLAN COOK. 

QUESS OF ABERDEEN AND TEMAIR. 

The Most Hon. THE MARCHIONESS OF ABERDEEN AND TEMAIR. 

Lord Provost HENRY ALEXANDER (Aberdeen). 

F. W. ARBUCKLE. 

Prof. F. G. BAILY. 

Dr. T. RATCLIFFE BARNETT. 

J. BARTHOLOMEW. 

H. MORTIMER BATTEN. 

B. HALL BLYTH. 

H. M. CADELL. 

GEORGE CALVERT. 

Sir D. Y. CAMERON. 

The Right Hon. THE EARL OF CASSILLIS. 

The Right Hon. THE COUNTESS OF CASSILLIS, 

G. CONNOR. 

A. O. CURLE, 

Mrs FRASER. 

Miss I. F. GRANT. 

Mrs G. HEDDERWICK, 

H. R. G. INGLIS. 

W. H. JOHNSON. J. LOCHHEAD. 

T. MACKINTOSH. 

J. D. MONRO. 

J. WILSON PATERSON. 

The Right Hon. LORD POLWARTH. 

Rev. A. E. ROBERTSON. 

J. M. RUSK. 

A. W. RUSSELL. 

Capt. W. P. M. RUSSELL, M.C. 

D. GORDON SHIELDS. 

P. THOMSEN. 

WM. WALKER. 

JOHN WARRACK 

Sir W. E. WHYTE. 

Ex-Officio Members 

The Lady GEORGE CAMPBELL, President, Cowal Committee. 

The Right Hon. THE EARL OF GALLOWAY, Chairman, Galloway 

Branch. 

Lt. Col. ARCHIBALD STIRLING, Chairman, Stirlingshire Branch. 

Society BODIES 

Representative Member of Council 

Council for the Preservation of Rural England

Sir Henry Fairfax-Lucy, Bt. 

Cockburn Association 

Prof. F. G. Baily. 

Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland

The Hon. Walter T. H. Scott (Master of Polwarth). 

Institution of Municipal and County Engineers W. Macartney, A.M.I.C.E. 

National Trust Sir John Stirling Maxwell, Bt., 

K.T. 

Royal Incorporation of Architects in SCotland John Begg, F.R.I.B.A. 

Royal Scottish Academy 

Royal Scottish Forestry Society 

Royal Scottish Geographical Society 

Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Water Colours. 

Scottish Anglers’ Association. 

Scottish Land and Property Federation. 

Scottish Mountaineering Club 

David Foggie, R.S.A. 

Major S. Strang Steel. 

J. Bartholomew. 

George Middlemass, C.A. 

J. T. Macdonald. 

Gen. Sir Robert Gordon Gilmour, 

Bt. Malcolm Matheson, 

Scottish National Housing and Town Planning Committee. 

James Norval. 

Scottish Photographic Federation. 

Scottish Rights of Way and Recreation Society. 

Arch. Campbell. 

G. D. Cheyne. 

Scottish Society for the Protection of Wild Birds J. Smellie Martin. 

Scottish Youth Hostels Association. 

Smoke Abatement League of Great Britain. 

Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. 

Society of Scottish Artists 

Pure Rivers Society 

Dr Alan Fothergill. 

W. Brownhill-Smith. 

G. P. H. Watson. 

W. M. Glass. (Corresponding Society). 

REPRESENTATIVES OF AFFILIATED SOCIETIES 

Glasgow and West of Scotland Ramblers’ A. M’Gillivray. 

Federation. 

Flora’s League 

Holyrood Club 

Hamilton and District Civic Society 

Glasgow Civic Society 

Deeside Field Club 

British Association 

Sir Maurice Abbot-Anderson. 

Sir John Samuel, 

Fred Smith, F.F.S. 

Walter Scott. 

J. Bentley Philip. 

(Corresponding Society). 

ANNUAL REPORT, 1933 

THE Council has pleasure in submitting the Annual Report of the Association, together with a statement of finances for the year 

ended 31st December 1932. For reasons of economy no illustra- tions appear in the present report, and the list of members has been omitted. The Council feels, however, that modified expenditure at this time will be appreciated. 

Very cordial thanks are due to the Office-Bearers of the Associa- tion, and to the Chairman of Council, Sir Iain Colquhoun, for unfailing support throughout the year. 

The Council also desires to thank the Carnegie United Kingdom Trustees for the support they continue to extend to the rural pre- servation movement in Scotland. In the present difficult times the grant of £400 per annum is invaluable. 

The Press has been uniformly helpful, and on many occasions the courtesy of its columns has been freely extended to further the objects of the Association. 

INTRODUCTION 

The passing of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1932, is an outstanding feature of the period under review. Relative to previous legislation, the significance of the new Act is that planning with statutory force may now be applied to any land. Earlier Acts limited control to a fringe on the outskirts of towns where building development was imminent, and comprehensive regional schemes could be advisory only; nor was it possible under these Acts to cope effectively with the replanning of congested built-up areas. new Act gives powers in that direction also, so that at both ends of the scale there has been an extension, and the horizon of statutory planning is now regional. Moreover, it will in future be possible to control the design of structural features in planned areas, if so required. It has been for the recognition of such objects that the rural preservation movement has consistently striven, and the advance which has been made is great. 

Time, however, will be required to focus the situation, and it is as well to consider what developments are likely to affect the future aspect of the Scottish countryside. There are certain fundamental points to be noted. The Census figures for the decennial period ending in 1931 reveal a decline in the population of Scotland, with a continued drain on country districts and a growth of town concentrations. A century of expansion in numbers has thus received its first check. Industry also, as developed in the past century, has ebbed from a high-water mark, and taking these two circumstances alone, it might be inferred that encroachment on rural areas was improbable. On the other hand, motor transport becomes yearly more copious and efficient, both for the carriage of passengers and goods, and with the electrical grid it will shortly be possible to tap power at almost any point over wide areas of Scotland, south of the Caledonian Canal. There are, therefore, the elements of rapid and flexible transport coupled with access to supplies of power, a combination which would seem to render both population and industry fluid in respect of future location. The run might be in any direction, but it is evident that Scotland being more than two-thirds mountain and hill country, neither population nor industry can establish a footing on any scale in such situations. It is true that localised industrial works may appear in certain parts of the Highlands, as at Fort William, if electrical water power should be developed, a point to which further reference will be made, but generally speak- ing the hill country of Scotland is inviolate. 

As regards the Lowlands, a consideration of tendencies does not point to a diffusion of large industries. It is not as though the nation were starting with a clean slate, but it is certain that there will be an outward spread from the towns in respect of population. This, however, will be restricted in radius by the cost of transport rather than by time lost in transit, and municipalities are already finding difficulty in providing houses for operatives within a con- venient distance of works. With regard to new industries, fore- cast is difficult, but their location would seem to depend on proximity to residential areas. The middle-class villa is not hampered by the same restrictions as working-class housing, and may be expected to enter the country wherever land can be feued near to roads, and within water and drainage areas. Want of such facilities is a deterrent to development in many rural areas, and apart from the transport question, there are difficulties in securing domestic service far from towns. 

Considering these points it seems clear that what may be looked for is a centrifugal spread of the towns: firstly by working-class housing and industrial works, and beyond that by an indefinite and irregular fringe of villas. The obvious means by which confused development may be avoided will be through planning and zoning under the new Act. The grouping of residences in attractive clusters is preferable to unrelated dotting, both as regards economy in public services, and in respect of ap- pearances. Indeed the more it is considered, the clearer it becomes, that economy and amenity go hand in hand. The need is for the Local Authorities to take the necessary steps in time, and it will be easier to construct a regional framework before more estates are broken up and numbers of small proprietors have to be en- countered. An important provision of the new Act should here be noted. Under Clause 6 a Local Authority may adopt a planning scheme promoted by agreement among proprietors in a district, and Clause 28 permits of a contribution being made towards the expenses of landowners in preparing such a scheme. 

In As affecting the amenities and welfare of the countryside, certain factors have assumed vexatious and even menacing proportions. With the increasing use of roads by motorists and the improvement of travel facilities, advertisement hoardings increase, and though advertising interests protest their unwillingness to disfigure the countryside, they are actually doing so. The only effective restraint would seem to be by law, and at present rural areas in Scotland are without protection in this respect. It is argued by some that so little attention is paid to roadside hoardings except as blots on the landscape, that the poison will discover its own antidote. other words, advertisers may find that the erection of hoardings in an obtrusive way to cause disfigurement is a waste of money. It may prove so, but the present belief is that constant repetition forced on the public eye is the secret of success, and the most conspicuous sites are chosen for the purpose. Another difficulty is that of mass trespass by charabanc crowds and by bands of cyclists, who may thoughtlessly damage property and interfere with growing crops, or disturb stock. Agriculturalists are now advocating the enforce- ment of strict trespass laws, and it will be a sorry day for Scotland if our time-honoured liberty of access to the country should be lost through the misbehaviour of a small minority of townspeople. It is to be noted that organisations like the Youth Hostels Association, the Federation of Ramblers, and similar bodies, have codes of good conduct which are observed, and their influence is salutary. 

Some consideration may now be given to the Highland area, where efforts may be renewed to develop hydro-electric possibilities and to introduce industries of a type which absorb large quantities 

of electrical power while employing little manual labour. The de- velopment of water power resources on a large scale would involve serious disturbance of nature, but few big works could be set up, and in respect of feeding the National “Grid,” the Central Elec- tricity Board is unlikely to encourage further costly undertakings until it has tested the capacity of the public to use the supplies of current which are now available, or will be available in a few years’ time. At present it is by no means certain that the “Grid” will be the success which its advocates have anticipated. On the whole the indications are that such beautiful regions as lie about Glen Affric and Glen Garry, where there is a considerable water power potential, may be regarded as reasonably secure from disturbance by large-scale engineering works. Modified schemes in the in- terests of local development would occasion less anxiety, and it is to be observed that the Association would in no circumstances oppose development which could be shown to be in the public interest. Speculative exploitation for dubious ends is a different matter. Afforestation and small holdings together are helping to check the tide of depopulation which has been ebbing for over a century in the Highlands, and there will be an increase of tourist traffic with a certain amount of building; but there can be no problem in the north to correspond with housing and industrial changes in the Lowlands. Minor disfigurements may be feared through faults of design and the use of unsuitable materials, and the old thatched cottages are likely to disappear very rapidly. It is certain that the summer tourist traffic will increase, and the money which will thereby be put in circulation will be welcome, but evidences of commercialism such as hoardings and signs, petrol pumps and the like, will call for regulation. It is the beauty of the country which will be the big factor in bringing custom, and to spoil it in any way would be an act of folly. As in the South, there may be difficulties in respect of access to nature and game preservation. It is possible that at some future date the provision of National Parks on a large scale will become a question calling for Government action. At present the conception meets with hostility in some quarters, and is regarded as a chimera in others, but it does not seem advisable to shut the eyes to any eventuality in times when old ways and customs are crumbling, when pro- perties are being broken up, and when humanity is on wheels. What has to be recognised is that the welfare of much of the Highland area is dependent on sporting rents, for the maintenance of which game preservation and strict seclusion at certain times of the year are essential. A balance must therefore be preserved 

between outside interests such as touring, and those of the landed proprietor and the sporting tenant. When the Glasgow-Inverness road via Glencoe and the Caledonian Canal is completed, Scot- land will be possessed of a system of first-class arterial roads along the east coast and through Perthshire as well as on the west coast through Argyll. These will be linked together from Fort William to Inverness, and a great volume of pleasure traffic, besides an increasing commercial traffic, will be thrown up to the level of the Caledonian Canal. Having got so far, and with the greatest ease, the tendency will be to press farther north, where at present com- munications by road on the west coast are bad, and even dangerous. The inference is that further road improvements will be sought, especially when the extent and beauty of the country which lies in that hinterland come as a revelation to many. 

The main conclusion to be drawn from these observations is the need for planning the ground work of proximate and future hous- ing and industrial developments in the Lowlands. The problem calls for wide vision and sound judgment, and within that frame- work the preservation of amenities can be largely secured. Out- side it, the great safeguard will be the natural features of a land which is so largely hill pasture, moorland, and mountain, with this reservation: our beautiful Highland glens are vulnerable from the circumstance that a single ill-conceived structure is so noticeable in their superb vistas. In a low lying country with hedges and trees, much may be concealed. 

Nothing has been said here about agriculture. In its prosperity, or present adversity, the whole country is deeply involved, but the Association is not directly concerned with the economic problems arising. In any case, the agricultural and pastoral industries are in their own realm in the countryside. It is manufacturing interests and the townsman’s encroachments which occasion some anxiety in respect of the preservation of rural amenities. The harnessing of nature may be achieved with perception in art, and in sympathy with tradition, or with indifference to the beauty and interest which lie around us. It is for the higher ideal that the Association stands. 

THE WORK OF THE ASSOCIATION 

The Council has met at monthly intervals during the year (except in August), and attendances have been uniformly encouraging. A wide range of problems has come under consideration, and advice and help in respect of the preservation of amenities has been given when occasion has arisen. In respect of educational efforts and publicity, the purposes of the Association have been kept before the country by means of public meetings, broadcast talks, lantern demonstrations, and communications to the Press. An Exhibition on a considerable scale was successfully organised in Aberdeen for a fortnight in June and July last, with the help of the Deeside Field Club and other local societies. The exhibition was opened by the Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair in presence of a large gathering, and Sir Iain Colquhoun delivered the first of a series of very popular and informative evening lectures. A notable section of the exhibition was devoted to the scenic attractions, customs, crafts, and historical features of Aberdeenshire. In two directions the exhibition proved directly helpful. Local efforts to curb the litter nuisance were stimulated, and progress with the important Aberdeen and District Joint Planning Scheme was furthered by the interest aroused. The Council has to thank the community of Aberdeen for its spirited response, and in particular, the Committee and members of the Deeside Field Club for their enlightened and vigorous help in this undertaking. 

THE GLASGOW CIVIC SOCIETY 

A Movement which the Council has greatly welcomed, and with which it has been in close touch, has been the reconstitution and active development of the Glasgow Civic Society. It has been with increasing resentment that the citizens of Glasgow have witnessed the spoliation of one beauty spot after another through speculative building schemes on the outskirts of the city. It is also realised how greatly the city has suffered in the past by the loss of its ancient and historical buildings. These, with the exception of the Cathedral, and one or two old houses, have long since disappeared in the prodigious commercial and industrial development of the city. It is unavailing to look back, but much should be possible in respect of present and future development. Relative to popula- tion, the city of Glasgow covers a comparatively small area, and on all sides it is in remarkable proximity to open country of great beauty. The influence of a Civic awakening in respect of amenities will be centrifugal, and such a movement in the industrial heart of the West of Scotland is altogether desirable. It is gratifying to report that the affiliation of the Civic Society with the A.P.R.S. was early brought about, and that the two bodies are now in close and very friendly co-operation. The Lord Provost of Glasgow is the Honorary President of the Society, Sir W. E. Whyte, President, and Mr E. H. Collie, Chairman of an influential and representative Executive Committee. The Organising Secretary is Mr W. Scott, with offices at 21 Elmbank Street, Glasgow. 

ROADS AND BRIDGES 

Operations have been scaled down since the crisis, and recently there have been no large projects calling for remark. In any case, the Council feels, as was noted in the last report, that there are grounds for much satisfaction at the general character and quality of road improvement works in Scotland. The series of important bridges on the Inverness-Fort William road are now approaching completion. These bridges have been constructed under the guid- ance of architects and engineers closely connected with the Associa- tion, and it is understood that their cost has worked out very economically, while the designs are excellent. Very great pains have been taken to secure these points, and there is here proof that economy and quality of design are perfectly compatible. It seems clear also that the collaboration of architects and engineers is advantageous. The new Aberfoyle-Trossachs roads-a short length of wonderfully scenic roadway-was completed during the year, and reveals very skilful and sympathetic handling of a fine natural position. Alignment in relation to contours, bridge features, and the provision of footpaths, are points which have been effectively treated. Through the courtesy of the Forestry Commissioners, by whom the surrounding lands have been acquired for planting, selected viewpoints and vistas are to be left clear, a matter on which representatives of the Association are to be con- sulted. Without a doubt the new road will become a popular tour- ing focus, and suggestions, which are being developed, have been put forward by the A.P.R.S. to the Perthshire County Council for controlling the litter nuisance. During the year suggestions for the design of a bridge in a very beautiful situation at Douglas Water were adopted by the County Surveyor of Argyll, and Mr Wishart and his colleagues working on the road improvement schemes in that County are greatly to be thanked for the manner in which all works are being carried out. It is very pleasant that such mutually helpful and cordial relations should exist. 

ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTION 

As might be expected problems of amenity in this connection have been much before the Council during the year. The main transmission or Grid lines have now been set up in Southern and Central Scotland, but their ramifications in secondary distribution lines continue to be developed. Sharp controversies have arisen where it has been proposed that poles and wires should traverse places of special interest and beauty, or enter towns and villages which are rightly solicitous for the preservation of their amenities. The root of the difficulty is that underground transmission is rela- tively costly, and except for short distances and at special points, wires must be taken overhead, necessitating the use of wooden poles or steel masts, the appearance of which is never very sightly at the best. It is Job’s comfort to suggest that the eye will become accustomed to such obtrusive structures. All that can be done 

is to choose alternative routes where that is possible, to place poles judiciously in respect of their immediate surroundings, and to decide what type of standard can best be introduced. In several instances the Association has been able to assist proprietors in securing the adoption of alternative routes, and village communities have been advised in respect of these and other points referred to. No general rule can be laid down, as each area requires special consideration, and the problem becomes one for local determination on the merits of the case. 

DESIGN IN HOUSING 

A strong effort was made by the Association in 1932 to give a contribution towards improving the quality of design in local housing. The nature of the scheme launched, together with illus- trations of house and cottage types planned under the advice of the Association’s Architectural Committee, was fully described in the last Annual Report. It is, therefore, regrettable to have to report that little advantage has been taken of the Association’s offers, but the effort has had certain results. It is evident from the enquiries which have been received that an impetus has been given to the Local Authorities to pay more earnest attention to the problem of design, and in certain places the services of a local architect have been called in. This is as it should be. The Burgh of Peebles is about to erect a number of flatted houses on designs approved by the A.P.R.S. These will be a great improvement on the colourless and ungainly blocks usually seen. With regard to the general question of local housing, it does not seem that much ground has been lost in the past twelve months, as the whole question is about to assume a new form under the Local Housing (Scotland) Bill, at present before Parliament. The controlling factor in future local housing operations (apart from municipal slum clearances) will be the Building Society group with very large 

1933 

12 

funds at its disposal, for which an outlet is sought. In other words, housing will be largely taken out of the hands of the Local Authorities, and there are proposals, which at the moment have not taken definite shape, for the setting up of some sort of Advisory Commission in respect of planning and amenities. As regards design, one point may be noted. There is little doubt that the satisfactory solution of the working-class housing problem depends on the arrangement of houses round some central green or spacious court- yard, thus obviating the erection of monotonous rows streetwise. 

ANCIENT MONUMENTS 

The Council has given very careful consideration to the problem of conserving the wealth of historical remains with which Scotland abounds. It is clear that the question is mainly one of available funds, for it is idle to talk of the active preservation of any particular building, however interesting and important it may be, if money is not available for the purpose. It was thought that something more might be done if Government funds allocated for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments in Scotland could be more widely spread, and partial and urgently needed structural repairs effected at a larger number of places, instead of concentrating expenditure on thorough undertakings at particular points. The issue was taken up with Mr Ormsby-Gore, H.M. First Commissioner of Works, who has fully explained the position in which his Depart- ment finds itself relative to Scottish requirements. Compared with those of England and Wales, the outstanding historical build- ings of Scotland are in better case, as all the more notable structures are now in the custody of H.M. Office of Works. In the South, less relatively has been accomplished. It is clear, therefore, that we have no cause for complaint north of the Tweed, and in regard to the spreading of expenditure as suggested by the Association, Mr Ormsby-Gore has pointed out certain practical difficulties. There are apparently advantages in concentration, which in the view of his Department outweigh other considerations, and the problem must be left at that. There is nothing, of course, to exclude private or public effort, if money could be raised for the preservation of buildings which are not taken over by the Office of Works. 

Certain interesting and successful endeavours have indeed been made either directly by the Association or indirectly through its members working in conjunction with local committees. One of our members of Council was instrumental in helping forward an enterprise to recover the foundations of St Bride’s Chapel by Loch Lubnaig side, in Perthshire-an interesting relic of the earlier days of Scottish Christianity noted by Sir Walter Scott. In the meantime all trace of the fragment had almost vanished, but with expert advice from H.M. Office of Works the foundations have now been exposed and put in repair. An attractive walled approach has also been built. Sir John Stirling Maxwell helped in these proceedings, and presided at an opening ceremony on 5th November. 

Restoration work done at Beaton’s Well by the Stirling and District Branch of the Association is elsewhere noted. 

Mr W. H. Johnston is now convener of the Ancient Monuments Committee of the A.P.R.S., formerly so actively presided over by Mr William Davidson. Mr Davidson did much practical and useful work during his tenure of office, of which the Council makes very grateful acknowledgment. 

ADVERTISEMENT HOARDINGS AND SIGNS 

The Council is fully cognisant that the situation in Scotland in respect of the control of hoardings is unsatisfactory. The County Authorities are without powers, and rural areas are largely at the mercy of commercial exploitation. The display of hoardings and illuminated signs is on the increase, and the Association of County Councils in Scotland, jointly with the A.P.R.S., has again pressed the Secretary of State to introduce a system of licensing. The difficulty always urged is lack of Parliamentary time for passing the necessary legislation, and matters at present remain as they An A.P.R.S. deputation led by Lord Haddington and Sir Iain Colquhoun was received by Sir Godfrey Collins in Edinburgh in January last, and an undertaking was given by the latter to consider the position anew. Earlier in the year a suggestion was made by Lord Glenconner on behalf of the advertising interests, that some give-and-take arrangement might be negotiated. Accordingly, Sir Iain Colquhoun discussed possibilities with prominent representatives of the Bill Posting trade in London, but no satis- factory proposals emerged. The only positive advance is that in areas planned under the new Act, powers of licensing can be enforced, but it is obvious that until wide areas come under plan- ning control, the effect must be insignificant. Many protests have reached the Association in respect of large and obtrusive hoardings erected by a commercial concern all about the main road ap- proaches to Edinburgh. The matter was taken up with the Company, and while the disfigurement caused was acknowledged, the plea that the hoardings brought in custom was stressed. that could be done was to suggest improvements in colour and lettering, in order to mitigate the particularly harsh and obtrusive effects. Some effort has been made by the Company to that end. The case is mentioned as showing the sort of difficulty which arises in the absence of legal restraints. In the present depressed con- dition of trade, or at any other time, the plea of commercial justifica- tion is difficult to counter, so long as the theory is accepted as a sort of article of faith that trading considerations warrant any sort of interference with the amenities of the countryside. It may be remarked that the Press is regarded as the supreme advertising medium by competent authorities. 

LITTER 

Active propaganda was undertaken by the Association in the summer months of last year, and, by arrangement with the S.M.T. Co. and its numerous subsidiary companies, A.P.R.S. placards, appealing against negligence in respect of litter, were displayed on many of the main bus routes throughout Scotland. The help of the Companies concerned is very gratefully acknowledged by the Council. The problem of litter is really one of a national awakening through processes of education, and its solution must therefore be a gradual process. Some improvement is certainly noticeable, and with continued effort it will become more pronounced. Towns and villages are now doing more in the provision of rubbish receptacles, and numerous organisations connected with the countryside are directing attention to checking the nuisance. Among these are such active bodies as the Scottish Youth Hostels Association and the Federation of Ramblers. It is again to be remarked that some of the worst offenders in respect of litter are the well-to-do owners of touring cars, and a suggestion has been made by the A.P.R.S. to the Automobile Association, that accessory makers would probably find a market for neat receptacles for use inside the car. It is very frequently for the want of any place of temporary disposal that litter is left on the ground. Burning is a dangerous practice, and it does not account for bottles and tins, nor is it always easy to dispose of rubbish by burying, without a certain amount of effort and some delay. The temptation is therefore strong to fall back on the slovenly course of leaving unwanted articles on the surface, or by the roadside. 

THE PURIFICATION OF RIVERS 

The Scottish Advisory Committee continues its detailed investi- gation into the condition of selected rivers, and the problems with which it is confronted are intricate. The river Almond in West Lothian is the subject of present enquiry, and will in due course be reported upon, as also the Leven in Fife, which is probably the most extraordinary sewer and waste tip in the country. All that can be said in the meantime is that the general question of the purification of rivers is being kept in full view. It is one of those involved problems of which the solution is scarcely yet in sight. That it will be solved, or at least that pollution will be greatly mitigated under legislative control, seems certain, but much patience will be required before several Scottish rivers in the more populous parts of the country are redeemed from their present foul condition. Selkirk is putting down an efficient purification plant, and Peebles, which is at the fountain head of the Tweed pollution, will sooner or later have to follow suit. 

STIRLING AND DISTRICT BRANCH REPORT 

Meetings of the Stirling Branch were held throughout the year at Stirling and Falkirk. The Chairman, at the invitation of the Falkirk Rotary Club, gave an address on the efforts of the A.P.R.S. Representatives of the Society were asked to inspect the road between Aberfoyle and the Trossachs when in course of construction, and to give suggestions as to its amenity. It was considered that the road had been extremely well laid out. An outing is being arranged this spring for members of the A.P.R.S. to go over the road and see it in its finished state. 

The ancient well at Beaton’s Mill was reconditioned by the Stirling Branch in such a manner as to make it last for many years to come in its existing condition. The new masonry work was done in such a way that the structural security of the well is ensured without showing any new material. The thanks of the Associa- tion are due to Lady Steel-Maitland for refunding the cost of this work. 

A bronze plate was placed on the gable of Beaton’s Mill, reading: 

“Beaton’s Mill. Close by is the ancient well near which James III was murdered after the battle of Sauchieburn 8th June 1488.  A.P.R.S. 1932.” 

The Branch took up the question of overhead poles in villages supplied by the Grampian Electricity Company. Although it was shown to be prohibitive in cost to lay the cable underground through the length of a village, the Company was willing to do so for short distances when passing objects of interest such as War Memorials. 

The Branch was represented at a meeting of representatives of the Stirlingshire County Council to consider the retention of two old houses at Kirkhill, Kippen, which are of great artistic interest. These in the meantime have been spared from threatened demolition. 

GALLOWAY BRANCH REPORT 

In Galloway, generally speaking, except in isolated cases such as the great influx of visitors to Mossyard near Gatehouse, there has been no trouble with visitors. Any balance of funds at the credit of the Branch is spent annually in purchasing metal fixtures on which are displayed the words “Please leave no litter,” and these are being erected at selected places throughout Galloway. In that way it is hoped soon to have these placards erected at all suitable places. The Committee take up local questions as to objectionable buildings, fences, and hoardings with owners, and as a rule has had no reason to be dissatisfied with results. 

As good examples of the right kind of public spiritedness tend- ing to improve the amenity of towns and villages, the following instances may be noted:- 

STRANRAER: An unsightly bit of ground has been converted 

into a large public rock garden. 

NEWTON STEWART AND MINNIGAFF: A piece of garden ground has been presented by the British Linen Bank to the Town Council and laid off as a public garden. 

Another piece of vacant ground situated in Old Minnigaff has been handed over to a Committee by Mr James Muir, Herouncroft, and laid off with flowering shrubs, rhododendrons and rambler roses. A hundred shrubs and rambler roses have also been planted at advantageous public places through Newton Stewart and Minnigaff. A most pleasing feature in the Minnigaff scheme is that the men of Old Minnigaff gratuitously worked in their spare time for about five weeks, putting the ground in order, planting the shrubs, and re- building the fences. 

COWAL COMMITTEE’S REPORT 

The Committee was instituted in March 1932 under the Chair- manship of The Lady George Campbell, Strachur. 

The first meeting was held on Friday, 18th March 1932, and frequent meetings were held thereafter during the year. 

The litter question was actively gone into and the co-operation of Argyll County Council and Dunoon Town Council was obtained. Litter notices were distributed in boarding-houses and ‘buses, and talks were given by various members of the Committee in the schools in the district. 

In the rural area of the district no houses were erected last year, and the problem of unsuitable erections did not arise. There are no overhead electric cables or unsightly pylons in the district, and the cable from Dunoon to Kilmun was put underground. Petrol pumps in the district are not too much in evidence. Any ancient monuments in the district on private property are, on the whole, carefully preserved. 

A very successful garden party was held on 10th September 1932 at Glengarr, Bullwood, Dunoon, the grounds of which were very kindly lent for the occasion by Mr and Mrs Campbell Wyndham Long of Dunoon. There was a good attendance of people inter- ested to hear the speakers-Sir John Stirling Maxwell, Bt., of Pollok, and Sir Iain Colquhoun, Bt., of Luss. 

Since the formation of the Cowal Committee, a great deal of interest has been shown in the preservation of rural amenities. 

FINANCES 

(Statement overleaf) 

Subscriptions at £330 show a small increase on last year. Donations at £9 are decreased by £32. The grant of £400 from the Carnegie Trust is the same as last year. The total revenue was £833 as against £875 in the previous year. Life Membership subscriptions at £42 decreased by £114. 

Expenditure at £869 compares with £860 in 1931. 

The net result of the year’s operations is an adverse balance of £35, as against a surplus of £15 in 1931. 

Members and Associates numbered 672 at the end of December 1932 (excluding Representatives of Constituent Bodies and Affiliations), as against 683 Members and Associates twelve months previously. 

The financial state of the country has continued to be extremely adverse throughout the period under review, and the Council has again considered it undesirable to press membership appeals. 

Back
to top