Heritage centre plans developing

THE first vital steps in creating a new heritage centre in Peterhead have been taken.

Buchanhaven Heritage Society has submitted its Stage 1 application to Aberdeenshire Council as part of the Asset Transfer process for the former Buchanhaven School on Ugie Road.

The newly-formed committee is focussed on safeguarding the heritage of Buchanhaven and work is continuing with other projects and initiatives to keep the momentum going and to assist with regeneration of the area.

Planters are expected in May for the harbour area and these will be planted and cared for by members of the community and supported by the Peterhead 5th Girl Guides.

Clear links are already becoming evident between local youth groups and the society and it is hoped this will continue to develop as things progress in the area.

Society chairman Alex Geddes said the committte also appreciated the help it had received to-date from Aberdeenshire Council and the Buchan Development Partnership, adding that there is a clear wish for this partnership to develop to benefit all involved.

Alex told us: “The committee is also about to approach Buchanhaven School to see if pupils will get involved with designing a logo for the society, and again the committee appreciate the support from the school so far after they found papers relating to the former school which are of great value.

“We really appreciate the support from the local school and hope we can develop a strong bond between the old and the new, as today’s work will form tomorrow’s heritage. We want this to be an opportunity for all to learn as part of a living experience and not just in print. We also appreciate the offer of support from the 5th Peterhead Girl Guides and would welcome the chance to work with other local groups who share our vision of making our history and culture a living experience for all to share.”

The chairman added that with so much interest currently being shown in ancestral tourism, the society was very much in touch with that concept.

“Old photographs are a great way to stimulate interest in an area,” he said “but if people can then come and see where their ancestors lived and worked it adds another dimension to the research.

“It also brings added benefit to the local area as the footfall increases and local businesses gain because of this interest. The word ‘tourist’, of course, has to be used wisely by the society, as for many who may come from afar to visit the area they are actually coming home, and they are not an actual tourist in the general sense as it is more than just visiting an attraction for them, it is about them returning to their roots.”

Another unexpected benefit from the formation of the committee is a realisation that there are a number of elderly and infirm in the area, and at times some may need help for various reasons.

Alex said committee members are to pass their names and phone numbers to residents who may benefit from support from a “friendly neighbour” just like all those year’s ago when neighbours looked after each other.

Meanwhile, the committee is appealing to former residents who may have photographs or artifacts relating to the school, the harbour, or just of general interest to the area and who may want to share this as part of an exhibition planned for Scottish Week 2012.

If you do have items of interest to the Buchanhaven area that you would like to share as part of a living experience please get in touch with the Buchan Observer in the first instance and we can assure you that your items will be protected and returned to you after the event.

Alex said: “We are only at the early stage of development, but the early indications are favourable.

“The welcome mat is out for all who share our vision to protect the past, but as part of a living experience and with our eyes firmly on 2014 for the next ‘Homecoming’ our sleeves are rolled up to welcome all back home!”