When the granite stairs went temporarily missing from the custodianship of Aberdeen City Council and its contractor Balfour Beatty, questions arose over how the city looked after its valuable property. The conclusions are shocking. By Suzanne Kelly
Aberdeen City Council cannot say with certainty where 1,500 valuables in its possession are.
This information was acquired in response to a freedom of information request by Aberdeen Voice following the confusion over the whereabouts of the Victorian granite steps which are part of Union Terrace Gardens.
The request was to cover items in the Aberdeen Art Gallery, Town House including gifts from outside organisations, and in entities such as Provost Skene’s House.
The city responded as follows:
“Although c. 1500 items have a ‘missing’ status, we have assigned around 3100 items with temporary numbers; many of which have become disassociated from their accession number e.g. the label with the number has become separated from the object.
“It is highly likely that there is an overlap between these two categories and we will be able to reconcile in the future by undertaking research in to the extensive paper files pre-computerisation. The remaining temporary numbers are items stored in the buildings but not accessioned into the collections.
“Many of the ‘historical loss pre-TMS’ records refer to a ‘missing’ date of 2020. It is important to note that these items were missing before we began using TMS in 2002, however, their status was confirmed as ‘still missing’ in 2020 as data cleaning work was undertaken.
“A number of items have been recorded as ‘missing’ and requiring further investigation during the decant of the art gallery in 2015. As we were moving thousands of items between buildings we suspected an admin error occurred in the recording of blocks.”
The city is meant to supply, electronically is the preference, an inventory of the valuables in question, but they advise they are having difficulties with the spreadsheet.
The city said no insurance claims have been made in the past 5 years.
The request is on the ‘What Do They Know’ Freedom of Information request website, visible to any other reporters or newspapers that are interested in Aberdeen City Council, where the city’s reply was posted on 29 June.
What Do They Know helps anyone who wants to make FOI requests or look at existing FOI requests. They run on donations and can be found here https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/
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“Crazy how white Republicans got other white Republicans scared of Muslims and Mexicans when all along they needed to be scared of other white Republicans…” – Cyrus McQueen, author, Tweeting Truth To Power: Chronicling Our Caustic Politics, Crazed Times, & The Great Black & White Divide.
“Anti-vax conspiracy theories and COVID-19 denial are gateway drugs that introduce well-meaning people to the far right. Before they know it, large numbers are hooked on QAnon.”
– George Monbiot
Trump spent decades inciting violence, culminating in rioting and deaths in Washington DC on 6 January 2021. Now he says he won’t condone violence (or is that what he’s really saying?)
Suzanne Kelly, Aberdeen Voice contributor and campaigner explains why the leopard has not changed his spots.
Armed, angry white men and women were invited by Trump to a rally in DC. Trump told the mob to march on the capitol and he’d be with them (he wasn’t).
The warning signs were ignored. The violence was pre-planned, orchestrated. The National Guard was held at bay. Five people are dead, more were injured.
Trump watched the violence unfold on TV; he would not speak to aids or answer requests to stop the forces he invoked.
His after-the-fact denunciation of ‘political violence’ is perversely being taken as a call to arms by the extremists – who are openly calling for more such events. His impeachment is essential; he is a danger to us all.
Signs of his disordered mental state, his contempt for people and the environment were visible at Aberdeenshire’s Menie Estate before his election. Aberdeen Voice, Tripping up Trump, Aberdeenshire councillors including Martin Ford, Debra Storr, Paul Johnston and film maker Anthony Baxter all could have attested this man was the last person to be put in charge of a multicultural country.
Aberdeen Journals Ltd told you Trump was going to bring 6,000 permanent jobs and millions into the local economy annually and ‘enhance’ the irreplaceable environment.
Fast forward, and there are less than 93 permanent jobs, the course is permanently in the red, and the unique SSSI areas are destroyed.
Aberdeen Voice’s many calls over the years to local and national officials and official bodies as to where he got the money for the purchase from fell on deaf ears.
Here are some of my thoughts on why Trump is in power, why people still believe him, and what we need to address in order to stop more carnage.
Trump: the most damaging, divisive president ever.
It takes honour and integrity to own mistakes and Trump has neither quality. His youth included allegations of draft-dodging (he was healthy enough despite alleged bone spurs to play collegiate basketball) and sending in ringers to take exams in his stead.
He is credibly accused of preventing non-white people from obtaining leases for his Manhattan properties. He wanted the innocent, framed ‘Central Park Five’ to be executed.
His fondness for capital punishment saw him reinstate the death penalty; as rights watchers will tell you, many US death row inmates were denied due process, have mental health issues, and some have been found to be innocent after their execution. Some were black – convicted on circumstantial evidence by all-white juries.
Trump has invoked violence many times, whatever he may be saying now.
Trump told an assembly of police that it was OK with him if they harmed suspects.
He called for hecklers at his rallies to be ‘roughed up’.
He called journalists – the very people tying to tell the truth about the man –‘enemy of the people’ and said they should be ‘roughed up’.
When I spoke on The O’Reilly Factor about my petition to ban Trump from the UK under our hate speech laws, I was cut off before making many of my points and with no warning: but the last point I got in was that Trump planned to execute terrorists and their relatives. I still can’t believe this didn’t shock more people.
America is supposed to stand for justice, not ex-judicial execution of innocent people.
Trump is a racist (the KKK endorsement of his 2016 bid for the presidency is a clue); he lacks empathy, and will deceive without remorse. He has no regard for law, fairness or human life. He frequently calls for violence and fails to speak out against it when it comes from the far right and the white supremacist: his lack of condemnation encourages them.
Hate speech, racism, neo-Nazism: how the ignorant, angry and easily-led are funnelled
Claiming Muslims should be banned from air travel ‘until we figure out what the hell is going on’, Trump threw unjust suspicion on Muslims, including the seven to 14 million Muslim Americans.
This was not a dog whistle; this was Trump prejudicially linking all Muslims to terrorism. Those who thought my desire to ban him for hate speech might do well to remember his ban which unfairly harmed many. And as any observer of American terrorism can confirm, most of America’s terrorists have been white males.
Hate crimes are at their highest levels for 16 years according to the FBI.
Responding to Trump’s many calls to hate and violence, people like William Celli decided to build bombs to target Muslims. Trump’s comments about Mexicans and Hispanics have led to many assaults; in one case two suspects told police ‘Trump is right’.
Trump fanatic and would-be bomber Cesar Sayoc targeted Democrats and CNN. His defence lawyers wrote that:
“in this darkness, Mr. Sayoc found light in Donald J. Trump.”
Sayoc ‘Found light’ in Donald; sadly, so do many disaffected people, opportunist evangelical preachers, the NRA, GOP climbers, and racist groups like the KKK.
David Duke is the ridiculously-titled ‘grand wizard’ of the KKK. It endorsed Trump as their presidential candidate, and Duke said the Charlottesville rioting which took Heather Heyer’s life was ‘a turning point’.
From the time Trump said of the white supremacist march ‘there are fine people on both sides’, he’d given a clear signal he would condemn neither violence nor racism. He deliberately fanned those flames, even if he didn’t manage to overthrow the government.
It’s Christianity Jim, but not as we know it.
There is no doubt that MAGA rallies created a community of like-minded Trump followers. These events called together every person who wanted a saviour, and the extremist evangelists used the far-right version of Christianity that these Trump acolytes had been raised on.
Artwork showing Trump as a Christ-like figure (as if); photos showing Trump surrounded by adoring televangelists – all this helped those who were already trained to be obedient to their preachers be obedient to the man their preachers endorsed and called saviour. It made Sayoc a terrorist.
The lunatic hypocrisy of claiming to be a follower of Jesus while simultaneously toting semi-automatic weapons, chanting ‘lock her up’, assaulting rally hecklers, and calling for death to the press doesn’t occur to any of these people. Their preachers are asking for donations, not soul-searching.
Here is a hilarious take on her absolute madness of Paula White
Compliant? The evangelical child in some of these sects grow up believing by constant reinforcement they are the only people who will be saved, that the superior race is white, and the superior sex is male.
Home-schooling is prevalent, and I believe plays more of a part in the radicalisation of people than many will admit.
The girl children? Many are trained to be subservient like our rushed-through newest Supreme Court Justice Coney Barrett. For many extremist evangelists, girls are to get married, be servants and be fruitful and multiply. Sex before marriage is strictly out.
All these QAnon extremists protesting about invented satanic child abuse? They need look no further than child marriage, legal in 46 states. When was the last time a QAnon protestor targeted this abuse?
Do these evangelists and Trump really believe one of their key recruitment planks – that all abortion is wrong? Trump asked his girlfriend to get one. Trump also raped Ivana per her written statement by the way. Very Old Testament.
If I had my say, every school age person would spend at least a few months in a non-home-school setting to mix with children of other backgrounds. Ensuring no one is schooled only in a vacuum might help end the vilification of other religions, other races and nationalities.
If nothing else, the evangelical girl child could be shown it is illegal to be married off against her will, and she can have a career other than as a mother.
And if I ran the world, there would be no marriages in America for anyone under 18, and all parties under age 21 would have to be seen alone before the ceremony to confirm they are not being coerced, and offered support if they are.
Tele-preachers and the NRA also insist an AK is a ‘God-given right.’ The hell it is.
Gun culture: how the NRA fuels paranoia.
A Senate subcommittee declared the National Rifle Association to a Russian asset, awash with Russian money. NRA chiefs gave illegal operative Russian Marina Butina and Putin pal Alexander Torshin access to members of Congress.
What was once an educational tax-exempt organisation now pumps tens of millions of dollars into Congress, some of that from Russia.
It will not brook any changes to US gun law. NRA-funded Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell prevented the Senate from voting on bipartisan gun law bills. Did America’ founders know automatic weapons existed – yes, as the NRA says, claiming all guns should be legal.
Did the founders have weapons that could kill 58 and wound 527 others from a great distance as we tragically saw in Las Vegas? No.
Should every incel, every angry racist own an assault rifle?
The NRA says yes.
The parents and loved ones of the over 40,000 shot in 2019 and 2020 say no.
In terms of ‘cancel culture’ – gun deaths cancel thousands of voices each year, and Mitch McConnell cancelled the Senate’s right to even vote on the matter. If he were confident the American people and the Senate did not want gun laws changed, he would have let the two bills be heard.
There is supposed to be a well-regulated militia: instead we had teen Kyle Rittenhouse driven to a protest by his mother where he killed.
‘Do you wanna be in my gang?’ Psychological manipulation.
Lonely? Friendless? Not promoted at work? Involuntary celibate? QAnon wants You.
A whole world of similarly-damaged souls awaits and you will be welcome, whether or not you’re a preposterous self-styled shaman who live streams from mom’s basement. If you’re feeling the financial pinch, it can’t be because of people like Trump, paper billionaires whose many bankruptcies have sent small businesses to the wall; it must be because a woman or a non-white person ‘took’ your job.
It is easier and cheaper to get recruited by QAnon than it is to either get mental health help, get involved with making positive change, or make real friends in the real world. The USA needs urgent medical health care reform, the kind Trump has tried to dismantle.
I have done as much of a dive into this culture as I care to. In fringe websites the insurrectionists share whispers of violence to come on Biden’s inauguration day.
Some think Trump is the messiah. They are happy, some of them, to wear Nazi regalia – and in doing so align themselves with the horrors visited on adults and children alike, despite QAnon using the fictitious pizzagate child abuse conspiracy as a recruitment tool.
The message seems to be that Nazi concentration camps were either invented or the children abused and murdered on an industrial scale somehow don’t count (viz the detestable ‘Camp Auschwitz’ shirt and Nazi symbolism worn by the insurrectionists).
However, invent a child abuse scandal now 100% discredited involving Satan and Hilary Clinton, and crying people will take to the streets holding signs about pizza parlours and baby-eaters while sporting a swastika tattoo.
These people don’t seem aware Trump did all he could to catch teen beauty queens naked at his pageants, or that he’s accused of many cases of sexual assault. There is no logic, no joined up thinking.
These echo chambers that sprang up following Q Anon’s overdue defenestration from Twitter, YouTube, Facebook reinforce the camaraderie, the anger of these misfits. They goad each other into more and more extreme views and actions. Something needs to be done.
As I am writing, Reuters confirmed that the mob intended to ‘capture and assassinate’ members of Congress. We must find, arrest, try every single one of these people.
Enacting laws concerning hate speech – like the UN and many countries have will help stop the abuse which has led to violence throughout this country’s history.
This is nothing to do with freedom of speech. The right to free speech has many exemptions. The founding fathers foresaw some of the potential future misuses – but none of them can have dreamed of it being used to remind Jewish people of the horrors of Auschwitz.
Trump spurred me to try to ban him from the UK under our hate speech laws. As a New Yorker living in Aberdeen, watching this man being treated as a star made me feel ill.
I knew of his discriminatory policies, his greed, his xenophobia. I didn’t care if I looked like a fool. Over 586,000 people agreed with me and we got a debate.
Who knows? We might even have got the Home Secretary to apply the law to a billionaire that had already been applied to more than 100 other hatemongers.
In the end, the night before the debate, MP Paul Flynn, slated to chair the debate decided to call the press to slate my petition (without letting me know he was doing so). ‘We might make Trump a martyr’ he told me. Parliament did deliver a good smackdown – but the Home Secretary did not apply the law to Trump.
JK Rowling made a joke about the petition at a New York literary gathering.
I was invited to write a riposte piece, and I did so, even knowing all of Harry Potter fandom would attack me to support her. I wonder if she sees the difference between hate speech and free speech now; I’d like to hope so, having been the target of hate speech herself of late.
What I didn’t get is that in her books the magical government was being taken over and most people were afraid to stand up to the spread of hate speech, but there you go.
Every time someone flies a confederate flag; every town that has a memorial to a civil war figure who tried to preserve slavery is a declaration of hate to black citizens from white supremacists. Every glorification of those who slaughtered Native Americans is a hate crime. I can’t shake the feeling that while all this division rages, the billionaires are laughing at the rest of us.
Billionaires like Trump (wherever his money is actually coming from; happily, there are signs it may be drying up).
If a Native American child or an African American child cannot wear their hair in a way reflective of their culture in school, then why are we letting people wave symbols celebrating slavery or concentration camps in gestures designed to intimidate and provoke fear and anger? I don’t understand.
The speech turns to violence, and these symbols have power.
If anyone wants to cry how unfair it is Trump’s been removed from social media for repeated rule breaking, fake news and hate speech, think again. He’s deliberately gagged people with lawsuits, confidentiality agreements (even extending to cooks in Scotland) and used his massive press connections to mock and ridicule opponents from Biden through to farmer Michael Forbes.
Can we please make Justice blind again?
Some of the argument against doing so aside from Flynn’s Chamberlain-esque appeasement was ‘Trump may be president someday’.
This alarming use of future potential is seen in America, where it gets many privileged white male offenders released from serious charges eg Brock Turner.
What if we had banned him from the UK? Would the GOP still have seen him as being presidential material? Perhaps not. Would things have been worse had the UK banned Trump? Worse how? – I’d like to know.
We’re seeing more flawed illogic applied to the insurrectionists by their sympathisers in the GOP: ‘Don’t impeach Trump, it may make insurrectionists angry’.
They are already angry. And armed. The law is not supposed to care how rich you are or if applying the law equally to all will make white supremacists angry.
The self-styled shaman is being given the organic meals in prion he demanded because of his ‘religion’. Meanwhile, as noted by various Native American groups, when Native people wind up in US jails, they are absolutely laughed at and ignored.
Symbols of hate belong in the trashcan.
The confederate flag shows the bearer approves of slavery, and wants it back.
Statues of confederate generals towering over parks and town centres show deference to the people who tried to preserve slavery and contempt for descendants of slaves.
A swastika patch or tattoo, or a ‘Camp Auschwitz’ shirt shows the world the bearer hates everyone who’s not a Nazi.
A MAGA hat suggests the wearer wants to ‘Make America Great Again’. It shows support for a KKK-endorsed white supremacist who ridicules minorities and incites violence against virtually everyone who is not a white male. It is the symbol of the Trump rally, a sign you would suspend your logic and values (if any) to be part of a mob.
The far right, the conspiracy believer, etc have also commandeered symbols of the crusaders, arcane symbols and invented symbols. This is all part of the ‘I need to be in a crowd and be one of the mob’ mentality we saw running through the Capitol.
Can we chuck these and other such inflammatory, hate-provoking emblems now? Other countries have.
We don’t need miseducation.
If there were a better, balanced system of education that also taught tolerance and life skills (I mean, we even have people who now believe you can fall of the edge of our flat world), we would all be better off.
It would not be so easy to convince people that Bill Gates is a reptile from another dimension who is trying to forcibly inject nanobots and trackers by unleashing a fake virus scare.
When I was in school, I remember ages devoted to names and dates of the Revolutionary War. About a quarter of that amount of time was spent on the history and culture of the rest of the world. Mistake. It was later I learned of the atrocities committed against Native Americans (including by Lincoln) and slavery.
When we studied slavery in school – and this I remember to my dying day: we read two different accounts of women who had been plantation slaves.
One was entitled ‘Lordy Them was Awful Days’ and she told of being whipped and salt being rubbed in her wounds. The other woman said slavery wasn’t so bad: I kid you not. And then we moved on.
It was as if every coin has two sides – a flaw seen in current day news reporting.
Slavery does not have another side. We also had in our textbooks the horrific photos of lynched black Americans, with white people standing under them socializing. Did my teacher explain how horrific this was? If so, their words are lost on me though that photo remains burned in my head.
Do the confederate flag-wavers even know what the reality was for so many? Do they even want to? A better, complete education that shows America’s many flaws could help. Teach logic, how to frame arguments, critical thinking, and how not to be a racist.
What are we going to do today? Pending violence.
As mentioned, I’ve been going on these twisted far-right sites to see what is going on. These people do think, as reported in the news, that Trump wants more violence and has sent secret messages to QAnon in his latest word salad of a speech.
They and others point to his saying ‘I cannot emphasise that there must be no violence…’ as a call to arms.
With Trump having established that he is barely literate, we don’t know what he actually meant. Hilariously, he says he can never condone violence, despite having called for violence on many occasions.
However, the conspiracy theory force is strong with these insurrectionists.
Some claim he tapped out in Morse Code the letter ‘Q’. Really? The man can’t spell ‘coffee’.
These people are looking for signs. If you look for signs, the brain will find them even where they don’t exist. A decent education could have taught the ‘I saw the Virgin Mary in my slice of toast’ brigade how the mind works to create images and patterns, but there you go.
These people want a violent, bloody revolution. They want to take over America. They are using internet sites to make their plans. Many of them are police and/or former armed forces members (we need a Venn diagram of white supremacists who have been in the police and who have needlessly killed non-white suspects).
Some of their helpers are congresspeople. They cannot win, but they can certainly harm and kill.
Ignoring them and hoping they will disappear is not an option. I am not an expert, but I think my suggestions have some merit for the future. The present needs to be the focus now.
In my opinion, we need to: immediately declare QAnon, the KKK, other hate groups terrorist organisations and remove terrorism supporters from Congress. Any congressperson/police officer who gave the insurrectionists help must be removed from office and charged.
No one gets into Congress without going through the metal detector. No guns get into Congress.
Every single insurrectionist from Trump down to the last one needs to be charged with all applicable charge from sedition and insurrection through destroying federal property.
We need to shore up what the 1st and 2nd Amendments mean.
We need to change the laws so there are no more Kyle Rittenhouses.
Anyone who is in QAnon or the KKK is not fit to be in law enforcement or law-making, and needs to be removed from office. We need more scrutiny of how these ideas are getting into the heads of the violent, and address the root causes (extremist evangelism, poverty, poor education etc).
We cannot just forget this happened and heal without cleaning up the source of infection and getting rid of the poison. We need to have Biden and Harris stabilize our country and Make Hate Hateful Again.
Unfortunately, we need to do this about 80 years ago at a minimum. But let’s start today.
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The Scottish Information Commissioner has agreed to investigate Aberdeen Voice’s complaint as Aberdeen City Council claims ‘it doesn’t know’ how much rent Aberdeen Journals Ltd pays for space in controversial Marischal Square.
Several parties have tried to obtain this information; and the information commissioner is investigating Suzanne Kelly’s formal complaint into the city’s recent refusal to disclose details.
According to an article published on Jan 27:
“Marischal Square.. is 75% let [after] just over two years… it is on track to achieve 100% occupancy later this year, defying critics who opposed the scheme and claimed it would become an expensive white elephant…”
Whichever Press & Journal hack wrote this piece praising Aberdeen City Council’s contentious (and ugly) Marischal Square development likely did so from the offices the paper got cheaply from…ACC.
You could be forgiven for thinking a newspaper should not take a free rent deal from a council it should be investigating (and there is plenty to look into), but the P&J and sister paper Evening Express did just that.
The £107 million Marischal project achieved the unthinkable: replacing a hideous 70s building with an even uglier office complex, while managing to immure the 16th c Provost Skene’s House inside a claustrophobic glass tomb. It ruins the setting for Marischal College across the road, as previously reported on by Piloti.
Other businesses thought to be enjoying sweetheart deals and free rent periods include multinationals with Chevron and EY set to move in. Why precisely such firms need to be subsidised is a mystery.
True to form, the city is releasing as little information as possible, however many FOI requests it receives.
It reluctantly admitted:
“Aberdeen Journals have been offered a rent-free period,”
and the current headline rent is £30 per square foot.
What dates the free rent covered, who agreed this deal and other details are ‘confidential’ according to the city. Despite public money being used to create the building and the public purse subsidising multinationals and newspapers, the city has clammed up. The Scottish Information Commissioner’s office is expected to investigate.
ACC insists only management company CBRE knows how much rent each company pays, and that ACC only gets the total figure of rent CBRE collects. CBRE are saying nothing.
We do know that:
“The total rental income received via CBRE for Marischal Square to 30 September 2019 is £849,936.61.”
The start of that time period? ACC aren’t saying.
Exactly how much the building cost to build, how much in debt the cash-strapped city is, and what negative impact Marischal Square has on companies that were already desperate to rent existing office space remains a mystery for now. But, as the P&J reported in January 2020, the building is ‘an award-winning success’.
Things moved on a bit since the paper reported on what it once called a ‘controversial’ and ‘contentious’ project. Councillor Willie Young claimed it would cost millions not to proceed with the project, but the P&J reported on March 5 2015 that there was scope to cancel the plans as some protesters wanted.
What possibly could have changed the paper’s position?
The four-star Maryculter House Hotel was today the venue for the Scottish Samurai Awards. Scotland and Japan have long enjoyed both trade and cultural links – well for just around 150 years in truth.
Japan sent many students to the UK between the late Edo period (1603-1867) and the early Meiji period (1868-1912) in order to explore and import Western technology.
The various international trade exhibitions of the 19th and early 20th Century provided useful platforms for the sharing of both scientific and aesthetic ideas.
Cities such as Glasgow and Aberdeen provided ripe-pickings for the aspiring technologists and alongside acquisition of new skill-sets the two nations exchanged cultural and artistic aesthetics which continue to create broad-ripples to this day.
Japan, of course, had participated in the second Glasgow International Exhibition in 1901.
The Japan Pavilion was located near the main exhibition hall at Kelvingrove and there is a likelihood that Rennie Mackintosh and many other influential Scottish designers of the day would have visited and been influenced by what they saw there.
Some 11.5 million visits were recorded during the eight-month span of the exhibition and surely Mackintosh would have been one of those tempted to return again and again to absorb the sights.
Contemporaries of Mackintosh certainly visited Japan at about this time and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum hold a collection of so-called ‘Industrial Art’ collected by Glasgow born designer Christopher Dresser who visited Japan in 1876 or thereabouts.
Aberdeenshire, of course, has a splendid claim to the forging of the Scottish-Japanese relationship and one man in particular played a pivotal role. Variously known as the Scottish Samurai or The Scot who shaped Japan,
Thomas Blake Glover was probably born in Fraserburgh in 1838. His father worked as a coastguard officer and the family lived at various locations along the Aberdeenshire coastline including Sandend, Collieston and at Bridge of Don.
On leaving school, Glover began work with the trading company Jardine, Matheson & Co and quickly progressed to the Shanghai office before taking up a post in Japan.
His role in Shanghai has often been glossed over in order to present a popular image of Glover as an enlightened trader intent on hauling an impoverished Japan into the industrial age. In truth however, Jardine Matheson & Co were happy to trade in everything from silks and tea to guns and opium.
Glover excelled in his role as trader and alongside making vast amounts of profit for his employer he soon started taking a substantial cut for himself.
His move to Japan, in 1859 age 21, came at a time when various rival clans were warring for control of the country. For more than 200 years, foreign trade with Japan had been permitted to the Dutch and Chinese exclusively.
However, following an episode of gunboat diplomacy in 1853, the US Government had persuaded the Japanese to open trade up with the West.
Glover arrived in good time to use his proven skills to exploit the situation.
Soon he was supplying both sides in the civil war with guns and munitions. Before long he was taking orders for the building of warships, to be built in Scotland, to arm a fledgling Japanese Navy. The market for weaponry however soon became saturated and he turned to mining to maintain his by now dwindling fortune.
Glover is often credited with importing the first steam engine into Japan.
Demand for coal had surged as steamships began to proliferate in Japanese waters. Glover, in partnership with a Japanese clan, invested in developing the Takashima coal mine on an island near Nagasaki in 1868.
The mine was the first in the country to employ Western methods. Mitsubishi acquired the Takashima mine in 1881 in the organization’s first main diversification beyond shipping.
Glover is often credited with importing the first steam engine into Japan and being instrumental in the formation of the Mitsubishi conglomerate. Japan also lacked modern facilities for repairing ships. So, Glover imported the necessary equipment for a dry dock in Nagasaki in 1868.
He later sold his share to the government, which leased the dock to Mitsubishi as part of the shipyard in 1884. By 1905 Japan had, according to many accounts, become the 3rd largest naval power in the world.
There are many enduring myths surrounding the life and career of Thomas Blake Glover.
One involves the notion that his Japanese wife Tsuru was somehow the inspiration for Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly”.
There appears to be little substance to this idea. A booklet produced by Aberdeen City Council to publicise the areas links with Glover asserts that:
“the association of Glover Garden in Nagasaki and Madame Butterfly no doubt relates to the fact that American soldiers after the Second World War dubbed the house Madame Butterfly House.”
Thomas Glover eventually became famous in Japan and was the first non-Japanese to be awarded the Order of the Rising Sun.
today’s event saw some 23 or so Samurai and Shogun awards made to a broad range of recipients
When he died in Tokyo in 1911 age 73, his ashes were interred in Nagasaki’s Sakamoto International Cemetery. Fraserburgh Heritage Centre host a permanent exhibition celebrating his North-east links and his former house in Nagasaki attracts two million visitors each year.
Founded and overseen by Aberdonian and OBE Ronnie Watt, the Order of the Scottish Samurai is an award inspired by Blake Glover and those admitted to the Order are encouraged to use the letters OSS after their name.
While Ronnie actively heads the Order, he is supported by patrons, members and recipients – many of whom, such as Lord Bruce and Joanna Lumley take an active interest in the progression of the historic relationship between the two nations.
Opened by Ms Masami Fujimoto, Deputy Consul General at Consulate-General of Japan in Edinburgh, today’s event saw some 23 or so Samurai and Shogun awards made to a broad range of recipients.
Two previous Lord Provosts, Margaret Smith and Margaret Farquhar received Shogun awards for services to Aberdeen while Duncan McPherson and Robert Boyd received Legendary Samurai Awards for services to the Japanese Martial Arts.
Terry Boyle and Tyrone Smith were awarded OSS Shogun and Becca Hobart – alongside delivering a splendid display of Highland Sword Dance – collected up a well-earned OSS Hatamoto for services to the Order of the Scottish Samurai.
Previous recipients of the various Scottish Samurai Awards have included Ian Wood, Alex Salmond, Charlie Abel, Len Ironside (for services to wrestling) and film producer Compton Ross. So it looks likely that Becca Hobart is in fairly good company.
With thanks to Yvette Rayner, PR Account Manager, Frasermedia.
Aberdeen’s premier ice hockey team has pledged to support a local children’s charity during its upcoming season.
The Aberdeen Lynx Ice Hockey Team, the second most supported sports team in the city, will be fundraising for Charlie House throughout the 2017/2018 season.
Charlie House is an Aberdeen-based charity that engages in activities and projects to support children with complex disabilities and life-limiting conditions.
It also provides practical and emotional support to families from diagnosis onwards, helping the transition home after a long stay in hospital and onwards through their life journey.
Players and committee members of the Aberdeen Lynx, which is a not-for-profit organisation, plan to organise fundraising events for Charlie House throughout the season, this will include a charity ice hockey game, plus various raffles and competitions.
Charlie House will also have an article in the Lynx programme, whilst its logo will feature prominently on all players’ and supporters’ replica tops for the season.
Chairperson of Aberdeen Lynx Ice Hockey Club, Martin Hill, said:
“The Lynx are very proud to be partnering with Charlie House, as this will enable the charity to continue providing vital support for local children and their families affected by life-limiting conditions.
“We have been busy thinking up new and exciting ways for the Lynx to raise as much money as possible for Charlie House, as we are extremely passionate about getting behind worthy causes.”
Dr. Sorcha Hume, general manager of Charlie House, said:
“We are delighted to be selected as the charity partner for the Aberdeen Lynx Ice Hockey Club. A number of our families attended matches last season, after the team donated tickets, and had a fabulous time. As many of our families’ children have complex needs, it can be very difficult for them to enjoy a day out as a sporting event, as the access, equipment, and support they require can be substantial and sometimes it is just not possible.
“The Lynx team and management ensured everything was in place for our families to have the best possible time and for that we are very grateful. As a charity we depend on fundraising and partnerships to enable us to deliver the best possible support to our families. These funds will go towards the support of our everyday activities, such as our clubs and days out, so this new partnership is invaluable. We are very much looking forward to welcoming the Aberdeen Lynx to the Charlie House family.”
With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.
A private clinic in Aberdeen is supporting a local duo with a challenge that will take them around the moon.
Temple Medical, a private aesthetic clinic, is providing professional medical support as two businessmen take on a gruelling fitness challenge to complete the circumference of the moon in six months.
Chris Robinson, 38, and Sean Gordon, 25, are cycling, running and rowing the circumference of the moon during 2017 – a total of 10,921km, in aid of local charity, Charlie House.
They aim to complete 27km per day between June and December 2017.
Temple Medical, owned and managed by respected GP, Dr Sam Robson, will monitor the pair throughout the challenge using the company’s in-house state-of-the-art body composition analysis equipment, the InBody770.
Temple uses the InBody 770 to help monitor progress on its Alevere weight loss programme, It provides essential feedback on fat % and guides the clinical staff when advising on nutritional changes required to keep patients healthy and on track with their weight loss journey
This machine provides medical grade analysis of their body composition, and is also commonly used to support world-class athletes.
The InBody 770 analyses the body’s water, body fat, bone minerals and muscle mass. The detailed biometric results will be reviewed every six weeks by Temple’s Dr Jo Green. She provides guidance and advice on an ongoing nutritional plan with an aim to ensure the men are eating appropriately to manage the Moon Challenge. Her goal is to keep them in the best physical shape to avoid injury and excessive fatigue.
Dr Green said:
“27km per day will undoubtedly be an enormous challenge for their bodies, so our main goal is to keep them healthy and ensure that they are able to reach the end of the challenge in full fitness.
“Monitoring them regularly will allow us to keep a close eye on their metabolic rate and ensure that they understand what changes to make to their diet and exercise regime so that they don’t lose muscle.
“Throughout the challenge, they will be doing plenty of cardio exercise but also need to incorporate some resistance exercise in order to build muscle. Their nutritional requirements involve good hydration, good protein and good carbs – if they struggle physically, they will struggle psychologically.”
Chris Robinson said:
“I knew the challenge would be tough on my body and I wanted to make sure I could do the miles without any lasting damage. The In-Body analysis is fascinating. The first report told me I was in better shape than I had thought and gave me a real insight into my current levels of fat and muscle. Temple Medical gave me a nutritional plan and the team is working with my personal trainer to help me get through the long distances that I must cover.
“When the challenge finishes, we will work together to develop a maintenance plan so that I can sustain my fitness levels and improved body composition. The body analysis and nutritional advice has been essential in helping me achieve the miles every day, and I can already see real benefits in terms of my body shape and energy.”
The inbody machine is instrumental in helping people to reach their fitness goals as part of the Kick Start programme. This entails providing the biometric analysis as described alongside nutritional advice and exercise guidance to help improve their body composition.
Dr Sam Robson, owner of Temple Medical, added:
“Our Kick Start programme gives a real in-depth look at what’s going on inside your body, and how to make improvements for long term health.
“Technology can play a huge part in helping people make changes for the better, and can enable ordinary people like Chris and Sean to take on a huge challenge in a safe manner.
“The reports we provide are very detailed, and at each review session we can see in detail the benefits our nutritional advice and training has had. We’re delighted to be part of the support team for the challenge and we wish Chris and Sean good luck as they set off around the moon.”
Temple Medical is a private medical clinic, concentrating on non-surgical or minimally-invasive procedures addressing problem skin and the effects of ageing. The clinic also offers Alevere weight management and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.
Dr Sam Robson is a member of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine, and a fully qualified GP, who has over 13 years’ experience of aesthetic medicine. Temple Medical clinic has been recognised nationally and internationally with several industry awards, including Best Cosmetic Doctor, 2017 and 2015, in the Scottish Medical Cosmetic Awards; What Clinic customer service award 2016, and My Face My Body Best Non-surgical Makeover (2014) and Best Customer Experience (2012).
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With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.
Celebrate summer at The National Trust for Scotland’s Haddo House with a day packed with fun for children of all ages.
Kids can let off energy on the bouncy castles, enter Gladiator duels and be challenged on an obstacle course.
Florence The Confused Frog author Cat Taylor will lead storytelling workshops and caricaturist Lyn Elrick will be penning portraits. There will be face painting and a toddler area for soft play and ball pool.
For grown ups there’s an adult bouncy castle or book a flea market table and sell any unwanted toys or children’s clothes.
Refreshments will be on sale in the castle shop, and visitors can bring a picnic if they wish. Haddo House is an elegant mansion house with stunning late Victorian interiors.
Noted for its fine furniture and paintings, Haddo also has a terraced garden leading to the Country Park with lakes, walks and monuments.
For more information about summer events at Haddo House – and other National Trust for Scotland properties – visit www.nts.org.uk
There are few people taking to social media to profess love for Muse’s Marischal Square development which is growing up and around – and now under Provost Skene House. Photographs from the site show that far from respecting the house, it is not only surrounded by this oversized new office structure, but also digging works are also taking place which certainly seem less than safe for the Provost Skene House. Article by Jon Symons, Photographs by Suzanne Kelly of the Provost’s House as it now sits, and from Writing from Scotland – by Christine Laennec.
Photographs which have appeared on social media make it look as if the fabric of Lord Provost Skene House is not being respected by the builders. Aberdeen Voice has been promised access to the site and a statement from the builders.
This will be published in due course.
So what is it about Provost Skene House (PSH) that inspires an abiding affinity with most Aberdonians?
Is it the fact it was initially built in 1545 and is 471 years old?
Is it the fact Mary the First was on the Scottish throne when the foundation stones were laid?
Perhaps it’s because PSH is the oldest surviving house in Aberdeen and one of the few remaining examples of early burgh architecture in the city.
It has an exceptional interior with outstanding examples of 17th century plasterwork and a painted gallery with an unusual cycle of religious tempera paintings.
The first records of the house date back to 1545 and the vaulted basement is likely to be from this period.
In 1622 this former three storey house was bought by Matthew Lumsden who added a two storey and attic gabled section to the south west side. His Coat-of-Arms, dated 1626 is clearly visible in one of the dormer gables.
The house was then bought in 1669 by the wealthy merchant and later Provost of Aberdeen, George Skene of Rubislaw and he reconstructed the original house and built the square tower on the north west side.
The house is steeped in history and was used by the marauding Duke of Cumberland’s troops in 1746 and for a long time after was known as ‘Cumberland’s House’.
In 1732, the house was divided into two separate tenements but was then brought together again in the mid 19th century and later used as a lodging house (Victoria Lodging House) but thereafter it slowly fell into disrepair.
Many of the slum buildings surrounding it were demolished in the 1930s but a public campaign (purportedly supported by the Queen Mother) saved Provost Skene House from Council vandalism.
The painted gallery is important and unusual.
Originally depicting The Life of Christ in 10 panels the ceiling is by an unknown artist although it does show Flemish and Germanic influences.
Some of the armorial devices included in the paintings may be those of previous owner Matthew Lumsden and this suggests the ceiling may have been painted between 1622-44.
The smaller painted room depicts landscapes with figures all done in a Classical style.
The archway, now removed at Muse’s instigation, was transported from Union Terrace Gardens and rebuilt at the house in 1931.
In the sixties the then Council decided to erect the monstrosity known as St Nicholas House and PSH was virtually hidden from public view from 1968 until 2013 when the Council’s carbuncle was finally demolished.
You could be forgiven for thinking Aberdonians had forgotten about their historical city centre jewel but that was not the case. During the limited (some might say derisory) consultation with the public on what should be done with the site it became obvious that Aberdeen’s residents had rediscovered their love for PSH.
Even the present Council realised this and determined, in recognition of the importance of the Broad Street site to the future of the city centre, officers should explore the options open to the council to ensure any development was of the highest quality and sympathetic to Provost Skene House and Marischal College and ruled that should include consideration of the council developing the site through a joint venture and the possibility of a design competition tender exercise.
Of course, saying one thing and doing something completely different would seem to be the hallmark of the current Council administration and it appears they have put money and potential profit ahead of all other considerations.
The final design (Muse Developments) was supposedly chosen by an unbiased and independently minded ten person working group based on Urban Design, Culture and Heritage but only five of the group were Councillors. The other five were Council Officers and an employee of Ryden, the site selling agent and later the company Muse chose to market the property.
More recently photographs have shown the apparent disregard the contractor has shown for PSH as they appear to dig under the south west gable end foundations with no obvious support for the four hundred and seventy one year old building.
When completed the Council seems determined to dumb down the house and use some of the rooms to showcase the likes of Joey Harper, Annie Lennox and other lesser known Aberdeen celebrities.
They have also decided not to reopen the once popular PSH tea room and this may well be because they hope to rent the ground floor retail units of Marischal Square to fast food outlets.
Provost Skene House is a national, never mind a city, treasure and most Aberdonians hoped and thought it would finally be showcased in the green grassed and tree lined surroundings it deserved.
Unfortunately it seems this Council, just like the one in the nineteen thirties, has little if any regard for the needs and wants of Aberdeen’s long suffering citizens but then again, why on earth should we be surprised?
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The date for lodging any comments/objections to the Marischal Square and/or Provost Skene Developments has now passed with 146 formal comments/objections having been received by Aberdeen City Planning Dept.
The Council are now considering whether to have a public hearing regarding this development.
The Planning Committee will meet next Thursday 24th July to decide.
Unfortunately it appears that leading councillors are confident they can push this present development plans through WITHOUT a public hearing. If we can get enough councillors to understand that they should be voting to support the wishes of the people that put them in power we can achieve a public hearing to get the developers to think again.
The developers can surely produce a far more innovative design that will open the magnificent view of the shining granite of Marischal College and the historic frontage of Provost Skene’s House for generations of Aberdonians and tourists to the city.
To condemn the centre of Aberdeen (the silver city) to a series of boring square boxes which hide the beauty of Marischal College and Provost Skene’s House is a terrible act of vandalism by our council.
Anyone who is understandably concerned regarding this development should email the Councillors for their area to suggest they vote to hold a public hearing. Over 1100 Aberdeen citizens stated at the exhibitions of this development they do not want these plans to go ahead.
The Marischal Square Development objections closing date may be gone, but MUSE developers have further plans in mind.
Proposals to remove the historic archway, stairs and wall in front of Provost Skene’s House are being considered. The plans can be viewed here.
“Provost Skene’s House will be at the heart of the Marischal Square project……. The role and setting of Provost Skene’s House will be given special consideration in the new development. It will be protected from the demolition then re-opened at an appropriate time.
“Money is being set aside for conservation work.”
There is also a picture of Provost Skene House as it is now, complete with arch and surrounding wall, on that page. Presumably the money that is being set aside is for the removal of part of the frontage of Provost Skene’s House.