Heritage centre plan aim for Banchory

Banchory Heritage Society says the loss of historic Glen O'Dee is an example of a missed opportunity
Banchory Heritage Society says the loss of historic Glen O'Dee is an example of a missed opportunity

Moves are under way to establish a heritage centre in Banchory.

A small local group has been stepping up efforts to retain important local collections under one roof.

We want to find ways of raising the profile of Banchory heritage and a heritage centre as such would be important

Professor Gordon Walkden Working Group Co-ordinator

The initiative will gather pace on Monday (October 31) when Banchory Heritage Society (BHS) holds a public meeting to examine means of protecting the area’s history and gain support to take the heritage centre proposal forward.

A BHS working group held its inaugural meeting in January and has met regularly to discuss the way forward.

Four main projects under scrutiny are the John Junner Collection, containing Scott Skinner memorabilia, instruments and recordings, Banchory Fire Pump, High Street Businesses and Deeside Railway.

The working group will be reporting to Monday’s meeting which comes after historic Glen O’Dee Hospital was recently destroyed by fire.

Group co-ordinator Professor Gordon Walkden, BHS founder member, explained: “What we are now convinced of is that there is a need to find a building that is suitable for the establishment of a proper heritage centre for Banchory.

“There are four big projects and it started to look as though, as far as finding space to accommodate representative material from these collections, we were a bit short.

“Banchory Museum serves a purpose but it is very small, very under used. That is not a criticism. The museum alone is fine but in terms of Banchory heritage material, that exceeds the capacity of the museum quite considerably.”

He added: “We want to find ways of raising the profile of Banchory heritage and a heritage centre as such would be important. It needs to be a prestigious building.

“We want to find out what people think is important, how they see heritage, and what danger they think those particular aspects of heritage are actually in.”

Fellow working group member, Stewart Wilson, a former Banchory Academy rector, believes a centre could encourage young people, through schooling, to take an interest in local heritage.

Mr Wilson, a former National Trust for Scotland Council member, said: “We are so rich (in heritage) in this corner of Scotland and yet, at times, I wonder if we realise how lucky we are.

“We must see it preserved beyond our lifetime so that other folk can enjoy and benefit from the knowledge.”

The public meeting will be held in St Ternan’s Episcopal Church Hall at 7.30pm.