At the meeting of Ellon Probus Club on July 26, President Alistair Sinclair introduced Mike Stephen as the guest speaker. Mike, a retired quantity surveyor and life-long photographer with a passion for Aberdeen gave an illustrated talk on how the face of the city has changed over the last 50 years.
Mike’s view is that the grandeur of Aberdeen lies in its granite buildings, exquisitely grafted and hand carved by dedicated workmen in the years pre-WWII. Sadly, since then few buildings of any great note have been built and many outstanding granite buildings have been demolished. In most cases it appears that little long-term thought has been applied by planners or developers as to the role many of these buildings would have played in Aberdeen’s heritage. Members whole-heartedly agreed with Mike’s viewpoint and the subject of Union Terrace Gardens re-development was discussed as a prime example of potentially destroying an established landmark and replacing it with something of contemporary design and contemporary material.
To appreciate Aberdeen’s granite buildings Mike’s advice was to ‘look up’ because it is there that you see the many intricate designs, sculptures and logos whose presence the general public is seldom aware of. Mike’s photographs graphically demonstrated how true this is.
In a vote of thanks Tony Lebroy thanked Mike for taking members on a most enjoyable journey down nostalgia lane and suggested that, in Aberdeen, members ‘look up’ to appreciate the architectural beauty that survives. The next meeting is on August 9 when Charles Reid will speak on ‘The Gordon Highlanders’.