Aberdeen City Libraries Free Talk

Aberdeen City Libraries will host a free talk by author Douglas Harper on Monday 6 June.

The talk will take place at Aberdeen Central Library, Rosemount Viaduct from 6pm to 7.30pm and will be followed by a Q&A session.

Aberdeen City Council's Convener of Education and Children's Services Committee Councillor Angela Taylor said: “This talk is a great opportunity to learn more about the background to Douglas’ book and the history of Harper bridges.

“I would encourage people to attend the talk and rediscover how fantastic our library services are and the great services they offer.”

Douglas will talk about his pioneering ancestor, John Harper, who founded Harpers of Aberdeen in the mid-19th Century, before developing a unique suspension system for light footbridges. Harper went on to build over 60 bridges throughout the British Empire between 1870 and 1910. His life and work had been little documented until Douglas Harper, great-grandson of John, set out on a mission to find and use every Harper bridge still in existence. At this free talk, he reveals the fascinating story of his ancestors, his journeys and the communities the bridges served.

Douglas said: “The bridge project came about by my curiosity about a model suspension bridge that had once been at our home. Where was it now? The trail appeared to have gone cold, but other information about my family, their bridge business and its contribution in a developing world gradually emerged. A retirement project took shape which included family history, travel and research into Victorian engineering, with slants on farming, transport, coffee and sugar production and the development of communities worldwide. The quest continues.”

Copies of Douglas’ book, River, Railway and Ravine: Foot Suspension Bridges for Empire will be available to purchase on the night. To reserve a place at this free event, contact Aberdeen Central Library on 01224 652500 or e-mail LibraryEvents@aberdeencity.gov.uk