EYEMOUTH has more than its fair share of interesting history with people from all over the UK and further afield quite often travelling to the town to find out more about their ancestors and the town’s museum should now be even more of a hub for this kind of activity with the news that it will appoint a full time genealogist in March.
The museum’s genealogy service was originally established with support from the East Berwickshire U3A group and has proved very successful, with the volume of enquiries growing steadily since its launch last April.
Trust Manager Mark Halsall explained that the Museum was responding to the growing numbers of visitors to Eyemouth with local family associations.
He told ‘The Berwickshire’: “While many local people have made use of the service the main volume of interest has come from the relatives of those who emigrated following the fishing disaster of 1881.
“In addition to the full time genealogist the Trust will be employing two part time members of staff to operate the tourist information centre and museum shop.”
The expansion of the genealogy service was made possible following the successful bid for funding from the Coastal Communities Fund. The Museum has been offered £60,000 from the fund for a two year project, as reported in ‘The Berwickshire’ in December.
Other beneficiaries of the fund included Eyemouth Harbour Trust, who will put their share towards the manufacture, supply and installation of a new pontoon to facilitate growth in sail, dive and cruise tourism markets and Seton Care, which will use its £50,000 to develop training opportunities for young people in tourism in the east Berwickshire area.
Speaking in December, Berwickshire MP Michael Moore described the grant as “a real boost to the local economy” and East Berwickshire Councillor Jim Fullarton said he was confident museum services would thrive as a result of the grant.
Coun Fullarton, a trustee of the Museum, said: “This is good news for Eyemouth Museum Trust and will enable us to employ professional staff in the coming summer season, ensuring a high quality and knowledgeable response to visitor enquiries.
“The trustees have been working closely with staff at Scottish Borders Council for over a year to secure this funding and, with their support, we plan to continue to develop the Museum in the future.”
Michael Moore said he will work with other costal communities like St Abbs and Burnmouth ahead of the next round of Coastal Communities funding.