Join Buteshire Natural History Society in 2017

Buteshire Natural History Society's Bird Group pictured on Islay in February 2016 (photo by Viv Shelley).
Buteshire Natural History Society's Bird Group pictured on Islay in February 2016 (photo by Viv Shelley).

As Buteshire Natural History Society goes from strength to strength, a warm welcome is being offered to new members looking to join in 2017.

In 1872 the Archaeological and Physical Society of Bute was formed ‘to investigate and record the Antiquities and Physical History of the County of Bute, and to form a Museum and Library’.

The following year a museum was opened at Chapelhill House, which was leased from the town Council.

By the turn of the century interest in the Society had waned, but a committee was formed which continued to take care of the museum and its collections.

In 1905 the Museum Committee invited local gentlemen to a meeting chaired by Sir William McEwen, which resulted in the formation of the Buteshire Natural History Society.

In 1907 the collections formerly housed at the Chapelhill Museum were handed over to the Marquess of Bute, who had acquired the Aquarium in Battery Place for the purpose of a museum.

A room had been set aside to be used as a library and for other purposes by the members of the Buteshire Natural History Society.

The Marquess added to the collections, but the building was subsequently sold and for a few years in the early 1920s the museum found a temporary home at the Old Mansion House in High Street.

In 1926 the present Museum building in Stuart Street was handed over to the Society by the fourth Marquess of Bute.

It was purpose built with two galleries and a central hall to be used as a meeting place and library.

The Buteshire Natural History Society has continued to go from strength to strength and 112 years after its formation remains an integral part in the life of Bute’s island community.

The remit of the Society is considerably wider than its name would suggest and in addition to Natural History also takes a close interest in archaeology, geology and local history with particular reference to Bute.

Each year, during winter, a series of fortnightly meetings are held on Tuesday evenings.

Usually the in-between Tuesdays alternate with meetings of Bute Bird Group and natural history workshops.

In addition, there are regular outings, field meetings and other activities. As a result, there is a very active programme of events for the 170 current members.

Membership benefits amount to a real bargain for the £20 annual subscription: as well providing admission to all meetings, including that of Bute Bird Group and workshops, also provide free access to the Museum, use of its library, and receipt of the Society’s journal ‘Transactions’.

Anyone interested in joining should call at the Museum and request a membership application form.

You’ll be most welcome.