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Book sales will bring Wick Society's 50th year to a close


By Alan Hendry

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Fifty Years, Fifty Favourites was published to mark the Wick Society's half-century in 2021.
Fifty Years, Fifty Favourites was published to mark the Wick Society's half-century in 2021.

The Wick Society will conclude its 50th year with two days of book sales in the run-up to Christmas.

A selection of local history books will be available in the foyer of Wick Heritage Museum on successive Saturdays – December 4 and 11.

Volumes on sale will include Fifty Years, Fifty Favourites, marking the society's half-century and based around 50 of the most fascinating artefacts and exhibits from its huge collection.

The illustrated book details the voluntary organisation's first 50 years of preserving local heritage by linking its Johnston photographic collection, boat section and Wick Voices oral history project as well as the museum itself.

Despite Covid-19 restrictions, the museum was able to reopen in 2021.

Trustee Ian Leith said: "Through the support and help of our volunteers and with the necessary Covid protection measures, the museum has welcomed visitors both local and national. The one missing piece this year has been the understandable lack of visitors from foreign fields.

"Wick Voices has this year reached an amazing milestone of 300 recordings online and 300,000 downloads of these recordings. The wide-ranging subjects and memories cross all ages and all aspects of our heritage and society.

"The Johnston collection remains as popular as ever. This year the collection was featured in the Royal Photographic Society series of lectures and more recently it featured in a Channel 5 classic railways programme.

"Alas, the Isabella Fortuna has not been able to make an appearance this year. Covid restrictions prevented the crewing of the boat. Nevertheless, the team of volunteers continue to maintain and upgrade the boat in readiness for next season.

"One of this year’s highlights has been the official opening of the new storage and display facility in Cowie’s building, next door to the museum. This facility allows for the society to store and sort the many artefacts in its care.

"Despite the challenges of 2021, Wick Society volunteers have again risen to the challenge of ensuring that our heritage is preserved and promoted."

Wick Society trustee Ian Leith with his wife Doreen (left), a volunteer who compiled and edited Fifty Years, Fifty Favourites, and vice-chairperson Valerie Amin, holding copies of the 50th anniversary book in the museum earlier this year.
Wick Society trustee Ian Leith with his wife Doreen (left), a volunteer who compiled and edited Fifty Years, Fifty Favourites, and vice-chairperson Valerie Amin, holding copies of the 50th anniversary book in the museum earlier this year.

Fifty Years, Fifty Favourites came about after volunteers and supporters were invited to nominate the items that mean the most to them to form the basis of a 50th anniversary publication.

It consists of more than 100 pages giving personal insights into everything from a whisky still to a box-bed and from the museum’s kippering kiln to its lighthouse lens. Johnston images feature prominently.

The book was compiled and edited by volunteer Doreen Leith and printed by Wick-based Caithness Print Solutions. Many of the new photos taken in and around the museum, as well as close-ups of individual items, were taken by board member and Johnston section volunteer Fergus Mather.

Looking ahead to the December book sales, which will run from 10am to 4pm both days, Mr Leith added: "It’s your heritage and here is an opportunity to support it."

The Wick Voices oral history collection continues to grow. The recordings are freely accessible at www.wickheritage.org


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