Exploring our living history in the Garioch
Inverurie is well known for its industrial past – the paper mill and the locomotive works both being key to putting the town on the map.
The Garioch Heritage Society’s key focus since it started in 1987 has been collecting, preserving and exhibiting this amazing history from early times.
Team Raring2go! went to visit during the October holidays to see the The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry and enjoyed a cup of tea and a fresh scone and a chat with one of the volunteers.
Nora Radcliffe, immediate past Chairman and one of the three Committee members who run the Garioch Heritage Centre told us, “The charity was was offered space in the old Carriage and Waggonworks Shop of the Inverurie Locoworks by the developer, Malcolm Allen Housebuilders Ltd and we opened the Garioch Heritage Centre on the 17th October 2017. We also have a café serving delicious homemade cakes, backs and lunches and a fully equipped meeting room available to hire.”
Now celebrating its first birthday, the volunteer team is supported by two part-time paid staff looking after the day-to-day running of the Centre. Nora said, “We’ve made a good start but there is still a great deal to do to realise the full potential of this space, as well as to continue to research and tell all the stories of people and place.”
All those involved in the Society are passionate about the Garioch, which is an interesting area which has been historically quite important from the earliest settlers. Nora continued, “The area has been the site of some pivotal battles - possibly Mons Graupius, then the Battle of Barra which tipped the scales towards Robert the Bruce and away from the Comyns and the Battle of Harlaw which trimmed the sails of the Lord of the Isles. This area has more stone circles than anywhere else in Europe and a wealth of Pictish symbol stones. In more recent times, the Railway works was one the largest in the UK and this area is important for agriculture and quarrying amongst other things.”
She added, “We are based in a building that is itself part of the heritage of the area and one of the cranes originally installed in 1902 is still here in the place it was built.”
At the start of their second year, Nora and the Committee are encouraging families to come and visit. “By coming along to visit the exhibition, by donating (money, artefacts, stories) or by volunteering some of your time to staff the Centre, coming in for a cup of tea in the café or using our meeting space – it all contributes to our aim of sharing our local history widely to old and young,” said Nora.
The Centre and Café are open Tues – Sat
10am – 4pm. Entry is free to all, but donations are gratefully received. Parking on site and buggy friendly.
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