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Mitsubishi founder Thomas Blake Glover statue set to be unveiled in Fraserburgh

By David Porter

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Everyone is invited to come to a celebration of the completion of a £6.8 million investment in the built heritage of Fraserburgh, which will take place on Saturday, June 25 in the town centre from 10am to 2pm.

The Fraserburgh 2021 project, part of the Fraserburgh regeneration strategy and action plan, is marking the end of the project with an exhibition of before and after images of the key projects in the Faithlie Centre by Provost of Aberdeenshire Judy Whyte, the switch-on of The Temperance Fountain and the unveiling of the Glover statue in the new Glover Garden.

The Temperance fountain will be switched on.
The Temperance fountain will be switched on.

An exhibition of before and after images of the key projects in The Faithlie Centre will show the work undertaken by the Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (TH/CARS).

Dozens of buildings with the Fraserburgh Conservation area and Commerce Street have been reinvigorated during the project including Anderson House, addresses in Broad Street, Frithside Street, Mid Street and High Street. Grants were also available to businesses to address issues such as replacement windows, new shop fronts and hand-painted signage. Participating shops included Close to Home, Fraxus, Nooks and Crannies, Wholehearted and Lana Lou’s, John Trail, Financial Options, Coutts, Blinx, Mary Bobbins and Airo-tech.

Several shops have been brought back into use
Several shops have been brought back into use

Cllr Doreen Mair, chair of the Banff and Buchan Area Committee, said: “The Fraserburgh 2021 partners have delivered almost £7 million of investment to the built heritage of the town since 2015. "The aim was to transform the core of Fraserburgh, boosting enterprise and improving the economic success and vibrancy of the town and giving the Fraserburgh community pride in this unique and historic place.

" Some of the scheme’s projects such as The Faithlie Centre have already won prestigious national awards, recognising the transformational nature of Fraserburgh2021.”

The Faithlie Cenrre
The Faithlie Cenrre

Paul Macari, Head of Planning and Economy at Aberdeenshire Council, added: “The Fraserburgh 2021 regeneration project has been a shining example of multi-agency partnership working and has been delivered by us with major funding from Historic Environment Scotland, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and the Scottish Town Centre Fund.

“It clearly demonstrates how our Planning Service can facilitate and lead multiple agencies with the same core aim - the regeneration of place. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the project – including the project board comprising officers, local councillors, and community groups.”

Spectators are invited to listen to storytellers, in the character of historical figures from the town, who will bring Fraserburgh’s past to life outside The Faithlie Centre, the Temperance Fountain, Anderson House, the Saltoun Mausoleum and Glover’s Birthplace.

Anyone joining the story telling experience is asked to remain safely on pavements and to avoid standing on the road. In the event of poor weather, the storytelling will take place in The Faithlie Centre.

Provost Whyte will fill the first refillable water bottle from the restored Temperance Fountain and there will be a give-away of free eco Fraserburgh 2021 water bottles to discourage single use plastic bottles in the town. There will be free eco balloons for younger spectators.

She said: “Fraserburgh has unique character and a heritage to be proud of.

"This community-led project has given restored many buildings and brought others which were underutilised or unused back to useful and attractive assets for the whole community to enjoy.

"I hope the people of Fraserburgh will join the celebrations on Saturday 25 June to mark the completion of this project.”

The Glover Birthplace – the site of the house where Thomas Blake Glover was born in 1838 at 15 Commerce Street – will also be officially opened when a statue of Glover as a young boy will be unveiled by Maxine Mennie.

The Mennie family owns the land where the house once stood before being destroyed by a bomb in World War II, they have invested heavily in the project and made it possible.

Thomas Blake Glover is credited with being a founding father of the industrial age in Japan, including playing a role in the beginnings of the Mitsubishi.

Visitors to Glover’s birthplace on 25 June will be regaled with tales from ‘Glovers’ mother’ as she tells stories of the Fraserburgh which Glover would have known as a child.

Other story telling characters will include Baron Baillie Lewis Chalmers in both his Town House role and also as the first owner of the grand Anderson House at 9-11 Frithside Street and women of the Temperance Movement who will weave a picture of why such drinking water fountains were built across the country. The Temperance Fountains has been relocated to its original position in the town square during the project.

The timetable for the day is as follows -

10am Officially opening of the ‘Day of Celebrations’ by Aberdeenshire Council Provost Whyte

10am to 2pm Before and After Exhibition and Fraserburgh’s pupils’ artwork exhibitions in The Faithlie Centre.

10.30am and 12.35pm Storytelling with Baron Baillie Chalmers at The Faithlie Centre

11am First water bottle filled by Provost Whyte at the Temperance Fountain –water bottle give away

11am and 13.05pm Storytelling with women of the temperance movement at the Temperance Fountain.

11.30am Unveiling of the Glover statue at Glover’s Birthplace in Commerce Street.

11.30am and 1.20pm Storytelling with Mrs Blake Glover at Glover’s Birthplace.

12.05pm and 1.25pm Storytelling with Baron Baillie Chalmers at Anderson House.

12.20pm and 1.55pm Storytelling with the wife of Alexander Fraser at The Saltoun Mausoleum.

More about the project can be found at https://fraserburgh2021.org/ and more about the day can be found at https://fraserburgh2021.org/home/celebration/.

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