Public Meeting – Address by the President

Monifieth Local History Society.

Public Meeting 20th June 2018

Welcome and Thank you all for accepting the Monifieth Local History Society invitation to attend the meeting tonight.

We have in attendance Norman Atkinson. OBE, Chairman of Angus Museums and Heritage Forum, who will talk on “The importance of Heritage”. Office bearers of MLHS  Also representatives from Angus Council , who support our proposed plans for Monifieth`s House of Memories future development, and  will perhaps deal with  some of the questions you would like answered.

For those of you who do not already know, I am Margaret Copland, President of Monifieth Local History Society, and spokesperson on their behalf.

Why are we here ?

This is a question I have asked my self many, many times since the establishment of MLHS  in September 2000. The organisation was formed by people with a similar interest in finding out about the heritage of what we had chosen to be `Our Home Town`

The Society very quickly became a non profit making registered Scottish Charity SC034053. whose constituted objective was to “educate the public at large of the Heritage of the Local area, from researched information by various means available ”

In 2002 we were finding difficulty in locating premises to meet, give talks, and display some of our work.  Something that sixteen years later has become even more of an extreme problem , with the closure of halls, hotels, demolition of buildings formerly used by groups and organisations to meet or socialise.

In 2003 after lengthy negotiations MLHS leased the former retail premises at 55 High Street. The building was in a sorry state of disrepair, that`s probably an understatement, but the MLHS members with a great amount of support and help from members of the community, businesses, and some financial funding from Awards for All and Angus Council, in April 2004 , opened what was to become Monifieth House of Memories, free of charge to the public at large.

The community project is managed and financed by unpaid volunteers, who are also members of MLHS.  Over the years the services provided by the group has steadily grown, and improved. A bit like Topsy. Our website is very active, an information source viewed by people throughout the World. It creates an interest in Monifieth, with local, national and international visitors , making the House of Memories a recognised tourist attraction.

What do they find at 55 High Street.

 Displays of photographs, memorabilia and items, identifying the past history of the area, from  prehistoric times to the present day. Everything held in the custody of MLHS having been gifted or loaned by members of the public, who have expressed their wish to “Keep them in Monifieth where they belong”

We have faithfully honoured this request, but time is against our willingness and ability, we are getting older, membership numbers and committed volunteers dwindling. The premises are no longer, fit for purpose, and due to pressure of work providing services similar to a Heritage Centre, we do not have time to organise and run fund raising events. 

To keep the doors open we have to find £9000 per annum.

The MLHS /House of Memories Management Group in order to find a new home for the contents of 55 High Street and move forward plan to establish a Monifieth Community Heritage Centre

With this in mind, following months of discussion and negotiations with representatives of Angus Council, in February 2018 made formal application, as is their legal right to do so, for a Community Asset Transfer Lease of the former Angus Council Access Office.     The building is appropriate for the needs of a Heritage Centre, with all the necessary facilities, a large open display area, toilets, access and parking for the disabled. There is also the added bonus of several rooms, which could be used for research, small group meetings, at the discretion of the  Management Committee.

Our application has been accepted and is currently being considered before being presented to the Angus Council for their approval or disapproval.

Here comes the `nippy bit`.

It is not part of MLHS `s constituted objective to manage and finance a Heritage Centre and should we be offered the short term lease of 3/5 years for which we have made application, before accepting and signing such a binding contract we need the assurances from the Community that they will support the planned project in every way possible.

Together we can do it for the future benefit of all generations.

MLHS need more members of all ages and committed volunteers to make this dream reality.

The history of Monifieth reveals that the “Glory Days” were when Monifieth services etc, were managed by the Burgh Council formed by unpaid volunteers, with no political or religious aspirations, only the desire to get the best for the Monifieth residents.  Sad to say that is not what is happening today, political and geographical boundaries, and financial greed are strangling what was a vibrant community. Monifieth residents are sleep walking, and will waken up in a dormitory location with no way back.

We have an opportunity to start turn this situation around, and together change the reputation of “Monifieth has Nothing to Monifieth has a Community Heritage Centre”.

We chose Monifieth as our home then let us once again make it a town  to be proud of what it has to offer.

 A time to take heed of the Monifieth Community Motto

“United Strength is Strongest”

 

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