Jun 052015

With thanks to Rhonda Reekie.

Strathcona House Facebook

“A little like Hogwarts” – Under revised plans, Strathcona will now be demolished.

Strathcona House is the large, red sandstone building sited on the A96 just before the airport roundabout. Recent plans to relocate the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre will see the demolition of the Rowett Institute site at Bucksburn. We were led to believe that Strathcona House would be spared and integrated in to the plans thus leaving us with some history intact, but under the revised plan this is not the case and the building will now be demolished.

The Rowett Institute has a proud history dating back over 90 years the legacy of this history such as devising food rationing in WWII and producing several Nobel prize winners.

No doubt many folks have passed by Strathcona House, some may have even been inside and admired its grand stairwell, 100ft oak clad hall and six large stained glass windows. Folk describe it as ‘a little like Hogwarts’.

The House was built in 1930 as a centre for visiting scientists from the commonwealth and as a dining room for staff. In the war years it was used as a base for serving RAF personnel stationed at Dyce airport. Latterly it is still used as a canteen for Rowett staff but is much appreciated as a function hall, for local pipe band practice and even the sees the odd wedding.

It would be a tragedy to lose such an iconic building and an important piece of our local history forever. With a bit of foresight and imagination Strathcona could provide a wonderful venue for all sorts of events and be the real ‘jewel in the crown’ of any development.

The new plans now require the house it to be flattened to make way for a service yard for the AECC!

If you would like to help persuade the council that this may not be the best course of action please join us on Facebook.

View photos here.

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  9 Responses to “Strathcona House To Be Demolished”

  1. If there is anything more obscene than knocking down buildings with historical significance, it’s knocking those buildings down to make way for a service yard. Who wants to explain to the grandchildren that we levelled yet another completely sound and historically significant building — from the days when architects designed memorable landmarks rather than cash cows — in the name of a glorified, fenced-off square of glistening Tarmac dubbed a “service yard” along with the vague idea of hosting some teenage boybands?

  2. It appears that one of the required qualifications for being an Aberdeen City Councillor (whether on the current council or those in bygone years) is that the candidate must be devoid of any appreciation for history and architectural heritage. There should be a new requirement for all candidates that they are tested for, and possess, such an appreciation – otherwise they can’t be on the council.

  3. A tragedy indeed but it is difficult to imagine who would take on such a structure. The renovation and running costs would be severe and unless the building has unique architectural significance a future role looks dismal. There are many ruined buildings throughout the NE which have merit and this one seems destined for the text-book of history.

    • Agreed Duncan but is there no way, and I concede my naivety in advance here, of allocating the legal responsibility for securing a suitable tenant/ensuring adequate maintenance and protection for the building, to the developer, as a condition of planning permission?

      From the outside, it appears that successive Council Administrations, both City and Shire, and the Scottish Government have been happy to sacrifice our architectural and environmental heritage, for very little in return.

      • Indeed Bruce. It is a sad state of affairs. Our land is littered with such ruins. Missed now perhaps but not valued in the past except in old words. Look at Hallforest, Pitlurg and the ruins of Slains. I see where you are coming from but doubt that the Council Tax funders of the Garioch would be happy paying for the renovation of past disasters.

  4. I’m lucky enough to have seen the inside of Strathcona house on many occasions, it’s a truly beautiful building, to demolish it would be a crying shame. Surely it would be ideal for a high end hotel or at the very least conversion to apartments, regardless the council should not be permitted to destroy it.

  5. I was fortunate enough to spend two years of my life in that stunning building. Though the place was mostly used as offices at the back of the building there were blocks of flats meant for students. My down stairs neighbour was a Belgium living with his grand mum. Like thoes grannies in the movies, kind and always offering food. Life was taking me to new chapter where I was learning to come to terms with the fact that good thing never last and feeling can be very dangerous thing. However, going through the bad patch the house on the other hand offered the cosiness of a home. That gorgeous building with the magnificent garden, lobby, stair cases and stone facing was like a kind parent waiting to refuge me every evening after work.

    I had an occasional visitor in the middle of the night, voice of a lady wiping as if mourning for a loved one, which later I found out I was not the only one hearing it though no one other than the grand mum and I ever claimed to here it. She didnt come back after gran mums prayer though. Guess she was put in peace. Guess these are expected from old and charactered buildings as such.

    I certainly would be sad to see it demolished

  6. How sad! I hope the decision can be reversed and the Strathcona put to good use. It deserves it.
    I spent several happy years in my first job there in the 1960s. I enjoyed the interesting company: Scots of many ilks, Sassenachs such as myself and visiting research workers from all over the world. I learned the basics of several languages there. We had enjoyable trips into the hills climbing and skiing. Some lunch times one could ski just outside the building. Sadly most of my colleagues from then rest in peace.

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