Hall of Heroes line-up unveiled for new Aberdeen visitor attraction

The line-up for a “Hall of Heroes” at a new Aberdeen visitor attraction was announced today after nearly 2,000 people voted in a public poll.

Provost Skene’s House is being redeveloped as part of the City Centre Masterplan and will tell the story of local people who helped transform the wider world.

The ground floor, which has a stone vaulted roof, will become home to 10 “heroes” – picked from 50 candidates during a three-week vote, which 1,987 people took part in.

The results were:

Stars of Stage and Screen:

Scotland the What? (George Donald; Buff Hardie; Steve Robertson); Annie Inglis

Musical Maestros:

Annie Lennox; Dame Evelyn Glennie

Sporting Champions:

Denis Law; Sir Alex Ferguson

Wizard Wordsmiths:

Stuart MacBride; Bishop William Elphinstone

Scientific Saviours:

Dugald Baird; May Baird

All 50 hero candidates will feature in Provost Skene’s House. The vote was for an additional presence on the ground floor where projections will be mapped onto busts, creating a dynamic 21st century presentation.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “The public’s contribution has been tremendously valuable and will help ensure the attraction has widespread appeal.

“The stories and achievements of our heroes – indeed all the candidates – clearly resonated with residents.

“The City Centre Masterplan project promises to deliver a fantastic new attraction, celebrating familiar successes but also offering a journey of discovery for visitors, wherever they are from.”

Deputy Leader Councillor Marie Boulton said: “What makes our city region great is the vision and drive of our people, and that legacy continues.

“We will be conserving one of Aberdeen’s favourite historic buildings while giving it new purpose in showcasing that global influence.

“The poll captured the public’s imagination and the level of response reflects the enthusiasm for the building’s new role.”

In all, the stories of more than 100 people will be celebrated in the historic Guestrow building, which is being renovated through the £1.5 million Masterplan project.

The selection criteria for Provost Skene’s House allowed for those who were born, lived, or worked in Aberdeen or the North-east. Names were drawn up with the guidance of a steering group, which included representation from the tourism, cultural, academic and business sectors.

Provost Skene’s House has been closed during the construction of Marischal Square, of which it will be a focal point when it re-opens later this year.

Scotland and Manchester United football legend Denis Law, who topped the Sporting Champions category, said: “It’s wonderful to have been selected for the Hall of Heroes.

“The new attraction sounds great. I try to visit Aberdeen two or three times a year, always with the family.

“The city will always be home. When people ask me what team I support, I say Aberdeen!”

Percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie said: “I am hugely honoured to have been selected as one of the featured subjects for the Provost Skene’s House attraction and for the 'Hall of Heroes'.

“It has been amazing to follow the exciting developments that have been done by Aberdeen City Council over the last few years.

“This is resulting in a vibrant cityscape growth, thus helping to continue Aberdeen’s stature in a global way.”

Scotland the What? member Buff Hardie said he was delighted the comedy trio had made it into the Hall of Heroes.

He said: “My dear friends and colleagues, Steve Robertson and George Donald, who sadly are no longer with us, would have been as gratified as I am by this success.

“We had great fun creating and performing the shows, and this vote would suggest that the Fittie folk, Kitty folk, country folk and city folk who came to see them had shared that enjoyment.”

And author Stuart MacBride said: “As someone who tells lies for a living, I’m finding it quite surreal to be part of Aberdeen’s Hall of Heroes. Especially given the calibre of the other candidates.

“But it’s lovely to be in such company as Scotland the What?, Annie Lennox, Denis Law, May and Dugald Baird, Evelyn Glennie… And I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who voted.”

Lyndsey Bowditch, director of Studioarc, the consultancy working on the redevelopment, said: “It is so exciting to see the line-up for the Hall of Heroes which has been selected by the public.

“From Bishop Elphinstone to Annie Lennox, there is so much variety and a great opportunity to visually represent these people, drawing on the characteristics and achievements which make them truly remarkable.

“It’s a really wonderful project and our creative team will be pulling out all the stops to interpret these Heroes in an exciting and imaginative way.”

The ground floor will house an Access Gallery for use by visitors with mobility issues, which will enable visitors to virtually explore the content presented on the upper levels.

A number of additional names were suggested by the public during the poll and these will be considered by the project team in due course. The plan is to refresh the attraction in the years ahead and to give visitors the chance to input to that.

Provost Skene’s House – which dates from 1545 – previously housed a series of period rooms, furnished to show how people lived in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries.