Work to start on city centre attraction as transformation continues

The redevelopment of the historic Provost Skene’s House (PSH) as a new visitor attraction is to start this summer.

Today Aberdeen City Council leaders heralded 2019 as the year of Aberdeen’s “renaissance” with a series of major capital projects set to come on stream.

The Council’s in-house building team will oversee the renovation of PSH, including re-slating the roof and replacing rotten timbers, ahead of the internal fit-out.

Work on the £3.8 million City Centre Masterplan project is scheduled to start in late July 2019 and be completed by autumn 2020.

The Flourmill Lane building will showcase the talents of local people – from entrepreneurs to entertainers, from sporting champions to scientists and artists – who over the centuries transformed the wider world.

Council Co-Leader Councillor Douglas Lumsden said: “Provost Skene’s House has been enjoying new exposure the heart of Marischal Square and will now undergo its own transformation.

“An essential first step is repairing and upgrading the building’s fabric so that we can secure another jewel in our cultural crown for generations to come.

“Appointing the Council’s team to renovate and revitalise Provost Skene’s House marks another huge step forward for the city.

“The regeneration of Union Terrace Gardens will start this summer, followed in autumn by the reopening of Aberdeen Art Gallery and the launch of the P&J Live event venue.

“Broad Street, offering pedestrian-priority and new event space, is now a destination in its own right and the creation of a new visitor attraction at nearby Provost Skene’s House will add to the momentum.”

Fellow Co-Leader Councillor Jenny Laing added: “The level of investment this Council is making in the city is unprecedented.

“A massively ambitious capital investment programme is supporting a cultural renaissance in addition to delivering hundreds of new council homes, community hubs, school campuses, and digital infrastructure to promote inclusive economic growth.

“It is fitting that Provost Skene’s House will showcase the vision and drive of our people — the very qualities needed as the city embarks on its own transformation journey.”

PSH will feature more than 100 remarkable individuals, ranging from Nobel laureate Lord Boyd Ord (who helped establish the city’s world-renowned Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health) to operatic soprano Mary Garden (one of entertainment’s first superstars) to football legend Denis Law.

Nearly 2,000 people took part in a poll to select a “Hall of Heroes” to serve as a welcome on the ground floor.

Councillor Marie Boulton, convener of the Capital Programme Committee, said: “Provost Skene’s House will serve as both a celebration of the past and an inspiration for the future.

“Those featured saw the world as their stage and that pioneering spirit continues today. The City Region remains a global leader in many different fields.”

The attraction, being developed by Studioarc, will include artefacts and memorabilia as well as bespoke audio-visual displays.

Provost Skene’s House – which dates from 1545 – was named after Sir George Skene, an Aberdeen merchant who pioneered trade with the Baltic nations. Provost Skene will be represented at the new attraction.

Photograph shows Councillor Jenny Laing (left) and Councillor Douglas Lumsden outside Provost Skene's House.