Heritage Centre opens its doors

Thomas Tait, Jack Hendry, Nora Radcliffe and Malcolm Allan stand outside the centre
Thomas Tait, Jack Hendry, Nora Radcliffe and Malcolm Allan stand outside the centre

Phase one of the Garioch Heritage Centre in Inverurie was officially opened on Tuesday (October 17).

The Garioch Heritage Society’s Honorary President, Jack Hendry, gave a speech before cutting the ribbon to mark the centre open to the public.

10-year-old Harris Downie who was first in the Visitors Book with parents Lynn and Malcolm.

10-year-old Harris Downie who was first in the Visitors Book with parents Lynn and Malcolm.

It is housed in part of the distinctive building which was the Carriage Repair Shop on the old Inverurie Locoworks site.

The society was formed in 1987 by a group of local people who wanted to record and preserve the heritage and social history of the Garioch area.

The group held meetings in various locations over the years including the Masonic Hall and the Acorn Centre but members always hoped that an offer of a larger and permanent base would come along.

Jack said: “Our dreams came true as Malcolm Allan and his family offered the lease of this magnificent building.

“On behalf of the society I’d like to thank the volunteers and society members for the many hours of work they’ve put in to making this unique exhibition.

“Thank you to Thomas and Sheila Tait who helped to finance the internal furnishing, Charlie Milne for his excellent scale model of the Locomotive works as it was in the past and we are grateful to Ergadia for their help and advice.”

Society chairperson, Nora Radcliffe, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be open and we are very pleased to have items from Tait’s Paper Mill.

“I’m tickled pink with the turnout today and we have fantastic volunteers, they have been amazing.

“We are grateful for the help to set up the museum from Ergadia who have taken us to a whole new level in presentation. With their advice we have taken on musuem officer Nicola McHendry for one year.

“Nicola has lots of experience in this field and she has been enormously helpful.

“We would also like to thank Andersons and the Strathburn Hotel for help with the carpets, furniture and cutlery. They have been very generous and supportive.”

The premises was made available to the Society by Malcolm Allan, whose company developed the site.

Mr Allan said: “This has been a combination of a long-term venture and today is a significant date as work started eight years ago to renovate part of the carriage workshops into the Heritage Centre and we are very pleased with the finished result.

“One of the significant factors was the fact that this is a Category B listed building so we were very limited in the changes that could be made.

“As this was originally one big building we had to be creative and decide what we could do with the structure and I think that what we’ve got is very satisfactory as we have 80 per cent in residential use and this part is for the community.”