Architectural gems prepare to open their doors as part of annual event

8 September 2014

Doors Open Day in Aberdeen will see a bumper number of buildings open to the public on Saturday 13 September.

This year 40 buildings will take part including five buildings for the first time. Many of these buildings are normally closed to the public so it is a unique chance to explore behind the scenes of the city's iconic structures.

New to Doors Open Day this year will be the newly opened Aquatics Centre, Harlaw Academy, Frederick Street Health Village, the PDSA (People's Dispensary for Sick Animals) on Fraser Place and Aberdeen Art Gallery, which will offer behind the scenes tours.

The PDSA works out of a series of 19th century buildings which have been adapted for their modern purpose and staff there will give tours showing amongst other things their operating facilities and recovery areas.

A vintage 1915 fire appliance will be driven along Union Street with firemen in period uniform, on their way to the opening of the Central Fire Station, in Mounthooly for Doors Open Day and family fun day at 10am.

The Tolbooth Museum, one the best-preserved 17th century gaols in Scotland, will feature the head jailer, a guard a cook and a prisoner from the 17th century, who will be on hand throughout the day to tell visitors tales of this dark and foreboding building. A new exhibition which looks at the changing appearance of Guestrow over the centuries will open on Doors Open Day. This exhibition will feature a number of rare photographs of Guestrow, which were taken in August 1927 just before slum clearance swept most of the street away.

Members of public can telephone 101 to book tours of Police Scotland Aberdeen's Bucksburn Building where there will be displays by police dogs and diving units.

Historian Chris Croly, secretary of Aberdeen Doors Open Day, said: "Doors Open Day is a very popular annual event so it great that so many buildings will take part in this year. We expect to see thousands of visitors take the chance to look inside this varied selection of buildings which are not normally open to them."

Aberdeen's Doors Open Day is sponsored this year by Aberdeen City Council, the Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen, Aberdeen Inspired, Aberdeen Civic Society and Aberdeen City Heritage Trust.

A free bus will be available to take visitors to some of the buildings open as part of this year's event. It will leave Broad Street outside Marischal College every hour (except 1pm) and follow a circular route along Union Street, Albyn Place, Rubislaw Place, Albert Street, Argyll Place, Westburn Road, Foresterhill, Ashgrove Road, Westburn Drive, Leslie Road, St Machar Drive, King Street and Gallowgate.

There will also be a children's competition, open to school age children up to S3, in which they are invited to submit one digital photograph of the exterior of a participating building (taken from a public area).

The full list of buildings open and details of what activities being hosted at participating venues is available to download at:

Doors Open Day is coordinated nationally by the Scottish Civic Trust, and locally by the Aberdeen Doors Open day committee. Along with Scottish Archaeology month it forms Scotland's contribution to European Heritage Days.

Doors Open Day events take place throughout September across the country and are supported nationally by Historic Scotland, Aberdeen Asset Management and this year it forms part of the cultural programme of Homecoming Scotland 2014.

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