A NEW book based on the letters of a prominent Helensburgh businessman will be the focus of a local heritage group's next meeting.

Members of the Helensburgh Heritage Trust will be talking about the letters William Kidston wrote whilst on a tour to Egypt and the Holy Land at the end of 1856.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday, January 31 at 7.30pm at the Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre on East Clyde Street.

William Kidston (1813-1889) was a successful businessman, particularly in shipping, who built the fine mansion Ferniegair, on West Clyde Street, and did much for Helensburgh, not least in acquiring ‘Neddy’s Point’, now known as Kidston Park.

The book, Letters From The Winding Nile, reproduces the letters William sent to his sister, Catherine, as he made his way to the Middle East.

It tells of the wonderful sights he saw there and the extraordinary people he met en route, including royalty, explorers, Egyptologists, and locals with guns.

Co-authors Monica Thorp and David Bruce helped to decipher and interpret William’s writing after they were discovered by Penny Johnston, née Kidston, in a "box of stuff".

It was immediately apparent that they deserved a much wider readership than the Victorian family for which they were intended.

All the Heritage Trust's events are free to attend and those who come along will be invited to make a modest donation.

Find out more about the Heritage Trust and its extensive archive of articles and photos on the history of Helensburgh and the surrounding area at helensburgh-heritage.co.uk.