North-east public asked to suggest ideas for heritage trail around Aberdeenshire town

Lovers of history are being asked to help produce new heritage trails that will show off a community’s proud past.

A number of groups in Inverurie are collaborating on new guide booklets that detail historical hotspots in the Aberdeenshire town.

Inverurie Community Council, Garioch Heritage Society and the Grampian Postcard Club have joined forces for the project.

However, they are still keen for the public to get in touch with any ideas about what should be included in the trails.

The whole purpose of the heritage trail is to recognise the history of the town.

The community council’s Mike Hebenton said: “There will be lots of local history that we don’t know about.”

A fellow community council member Eric Simpson added: “There’s been an interest for some time now to create some kind of heritage trail through Inverurie.

“I think the whole purpose of the heritage trail is to recognise the history of the town.

“It’s preserving the heritage and making people aware of it.

“Garioch goes back almost 1,000 years and the town is steeped in so much history.”

Mr Simpson said they’re on the lookout for fascinating facts linked to the area.

They also want to hear gruesome legends and stories about certain sites that could keep a younger audience happy.

He said: “We’re looking for horrible history and any ideas from people of what should be included.

“There are quite a number of historical and important buildings in the high street.

“But what are we missing? The older generation will know a bit more.

“If need be we can go and meet these people and get the details.”

Alex Malley, of the Postcard Club, said: “We were invited along because a lot of our members have a wide range of postcards of Inverurie.

We’re looking for horrible history and any ideas from people of what should be included.

“I think it’s one of the nicest town centres in the North-east.

“I just like the gardens and the greenery in the town centre that help soften it.

“It’s nice with the grass and the trees – and the floral decorations are fantastic.”

Eric Simpson said: “The town has grown, with new developments, but it’s still a small community with shops and small businesses in the town centre.”

Mike Hebenton said: “We want to incorporate some of the original pictures so people can see how things have changed.

“We’re trying to keep the heritage and not lose it.

“We’ll see what we need to include first, then we’ll start talking to people about a design and get it costed.

“If we could get it out for next year some time we’d be happy with that.”

The groups are planning to produce two booklets outlining a route in the north of Inverurie and one in the south of the town.

Both trails are planned to start out from the town hall.

Inverurie Town Hall, on Market Place, is an instantly recognisable building that would be known to anyone who has visited.

But what people might not know is that the top of the building was badly damaged during a storm back in the 1950s and subsequently had to be replaced.

Mr Hebenton said: “The top blew off. That’s why it looks so different – it’s a fake top.

“The replacement up there now is fibreglass or something.”

The north trail would also take in the former Locomotive Works factory, which was opened in 1902 and finally closed in 1969.

“Folk just thought Inverurie was finished,” he said.

“It was a huge manufacturing site. It was quite a large employer and when it closed folk thought it would devastate the town, but Inverurie has survived quite well.”

The south trail would take in the Bass Cemetery, and the spooky tale of Mary “Eerie Orie” Elphinstone. Legend has it that many years ago Mary passed away due to illness and was then buried in the graveyard.

That same night grave robbers dug her up hoping to steal poor Mary’s jewellery – only for her to wake up from a coma.

With the terrified robbers running off, Mary had little option but to walk all the way back home in her bare feet.

Also of note in the cemetery are the Basses, which are large irregular mounds that originally formed part of a castle built there some 800 years ago.

Anyone who may have suggestions for what they think should be included in the heritage trails can contact Eric at inverurie.secretary@gmail.com by October 29.

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