::HALKIRK HERITAGE CENTRE
- Season 2009
Documentation - ALL links below are PDF files
Season 2009 - Heritage Exhibition Opens its Doors
The Halkirk Heritage & Vintage Motor Society is staging its annual exhibition in the Ross Institute from Sunday 5th July to Sunday 30th August.
The exhibition opening times will be;
- Sundays 2.00-3.30pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays 2-3pm and Wednesdays 7-8pm.
- Admission is free.
New attractions this year include display panels that detail Halkirk and District's national sporting champions. Over the last 20 years, a combination of team and individual successes in shooting, Tug O'War, Highland Games and dog trialling, has resulted in the area producing sixteen national champions and a World champion. The fantastic achievements mean that Halkirk is possibly one of the most successful districts in the country for sporting prowess.
Another new panel describes how the village played its part in the 2nd World War effort and the words overlay a unique aerial photo of the village taken in 1946, courtesy of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.
As per last year, the Society will display Halkirk Primary School's P7 project. This year the pupils have produced information leaflets and a huge collage that covers the picturesque riverside walk to the Braal castles. Retired Halkirk Minister, Kenneth Warner, took the pupils on a guided tour and explained some of Halkirk's history involving the two Braal castles and the old parish church on the opposite bank of the river to the castles. The leaflets will be distributed to the local shops and businesses.
The exhibition will also have a display of old local photographs and lots of motoring memorabilia from days gone by. Local vintage vehicle enthusiast, Edward Sutherland, will display most of his fantastic collection of car mascots, thought to be one of the largest in Scotland and recently featured on the Antiques Roadshow.
The Halkirk Heritage & Vintage Motor Society's annual
summer exhibition in the Ross Institute has opened its doors to locals and
visitors alike. This year's main attractions include another pair of vintage
motorcycles from the John Bremner collection, possibly the largest collection
of car mascots in Scotland and primary school projects on the Thurso river and
the Second World War.
The first motorcycle is a 1924 Beardmore Precision Model C
and it is extremely rare. The only other known example in the world, is on
display in the Glasgow Transport museum.
The bike is in its original unrestored condition and was
first owned by Mr W George Sutherland of Thorniebush, Ulbster and has the local
registration No, SK 1024. It was designed as a touring machine fitted with a
sidecar and incorporates some cutting edge design features for the time such as
the fuel tank being part of the frame structure, leaf spring suspension both
front and back and also the engine and gearbox being one complete unit as this
was not to be a standard set up on motorcycles for another 30 or 40 years.
The second motorcycle is a 1938 Rudge Ulster. Features
include an aluminium bronze cylinder head, 4 overhead valves, 4 speed gearbox
and a novel design of centre stand which allows the rider to place the bike on
its stand with next to no effort. This model was considered by many to be one of
the premier sports machines of its day. Its price in 1938 was £82.
Local garage owner Edward Sutherland had his car mascot
collection recently featured on the Antiques Roadshow from the Castle of Mey. He
isn't aware of any larger collection in Scotland and has kindly put over 70
mascots on display. Some of them are very rare.
The Halkirk Primary School pupils have been busy with two
projects over the last year and the school has kindly loaned the two fascinating
displays. One covers the Thurso river and explores the life of the salmon
starting at the hatchery at Braal. The other details life in the UK during World
War 2, particularly for children.
The Society's Chairman, Billy Manson, hopes that the new
exhibits will attract people who have seen the exhibition in previous years and
also those who have never attended before.
One of the Star attractions this season was the very rare vintage motorcycle
provided by John Bremner. See below for pictures and report.
Motorcycle:- A 1917 New Imperial
Model 7 - one of only five known to exist and produced for the Imperial Russian
The bike was bought brand new by Mr Andrew
Swanson of Watten Mains, Thurso East farm and latterly, Ormlie Road, Thurso.
Mr Swanson was a soldier during World War 1 and
endured a spell in hospital in Coventry, which subsequently led to his 'demob'
from the service, upon which he bought the bike in Coventry for his long journey
home to Caithness. The journey must've been as much as an ordeal as his
military service considering the distance covered and the state of the roads in
Once at home he used the motorcycle daily which
was then fitted with a sidecar until cars were more fashionable and the bike was
then laid up in the store of his contracting business at Brownhill Road, Thurso.
The bike lay there, forgotten about for many
years until demands of the business dictated that the bike and all the clutter
it was buried under be removed to make more profitable use of the floor space.
Fred Bremner, then an employee of 'Weirs of
Castletown' chanced upon talking to an employee of Mr Swanson, who was engaged
in the task of clearing the store building whilst he was at the council run
'wash bed', which was adjacent to the store building at Brownhill. The man
informed Fred that the machine was headed for the 'scrap man' and if he wanted
it he should take it now for free, if he knew someone who would want it.....
Fred's father, Sandy Bremner of Roadside Post
Office, Georgemas (better known as Sandy Norton) was well known across the North
for his interest in old bikes and would provide the home it deserved.
Fred would not take it for free and went to see
Mr Swanson at his home in Ormlie Road, who also refused payment but after much
'bartering' and 'jesting', told Fred to turn out the contents of his pockets,
which produced the grand sum of 'two bob' and a deal was struck.
The bike was then passed onto his brother, John
A Bremner, West End, Castletown (picture below) - who after many hours of hard work
and patience returned the machine to its former glory during the 1970's - thus
saving a rare machine from destruction, which has definitely produced a
report provided by John Bremner
Some of the Vintage Motor Vehicles available to view at the
JGC Engineering kindly provided New Stands for the
information to be promoted in it's best way.
Opening Season 2006