Inverbervie and District Probus

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Programme secretary Chris Greene introduced Allan Findlay at the meeting on October 15, who gave a presentation on the restoration of Duthie Park.

The original 44-acre park was designed by William McKelvie on land purchased by Miss Elizabeth Duthie in 1880 for the sum of £1456 and gifted to Aberdeen City Council. The park was opened in 1883 by Princess Beatrice and was to be a memorial to Miss Duthie’s brother, Alexander, and uncle Walter.

There have been many new elements introduced to the park since opening; one notable addition is the pink polished granite McGrigor Obelisk which was relocated from the forecourt of Marischal College in 1905 when the college was being extended.

The latest restoration was made possible with a donation of £2.56m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and funding of £2.67m by Aberdeen council.

As a condition of the HLF grant many of the park features had to be restored to their original design and during the excavation phase many of these features were exposed.

The triple lakes have been restored to their former beauty with the islands being planted out with native Scottish species. The railings and granite within the park have been cleaned and recycled but, ironically, much of the new polished granite was imported from China.

Although the maintenance of the gardens is being funded by the HLF for a period of five years as part of their commitment, various volunteer groups carry out some of the gardening maintenance and school groups use the facilities for educational purposes.

After a brief question and answer session the vote of thanks was proposed by Geoff Goodyear.