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New book celebrates life of Fraserburgh’s Thomas Blake Glover

Thomas Blake Glover
Thomas Blake Glover

A new book has been published which commemorates the remarkable life of Fraserburgh-born industrialist Thomas Blake Glover.

Interest in the Scottish Samurai has never been higher, following several high-profile visits by Japanese dignitaries to the north-east in recent months.

Mr Glover was a pivotal figure in the industrialisation of Japan during the mid-19th century and helped establish the Mitsubishi company, whose management regularly make pilgrimages to the region.

Most recently, the firm’s chief executive, Nobuyuki Hirano, flew to Aberdeen and paid a visit the house where Mr Glover grew up.

The Fraserburgh Heritage Society has always promoted Thomas Glover as one of the port’s most influential sons and also succeeded in attracting Japanese tourists to the area.

And now, the group, based at the Fraserburgh Heritage Centre on Quarry Road, have decided to reprint their 1994 tourism publication – Thomas Blake Glover – across the region.

The new version, written by Malcolm Mckillop, was officially launched yesterday and highlights Aberdeenshire sites with connections to the Glover family, which stretch from Portsoy in the north to Muchalls in the south.

The heritage centre itself boasts a unique exhibition and Japanese garden in honour of the renowned industrialist.

Mr Mckillop said: “Over 20 years have passed since the book was published and many efforts have been made to encourage Japanese tourism in the north-east of Scotland.

“During this period, more in-depth information has been discovered about Glover, his relationship with Mitsubishi for whom he became chief advisor, and the role he played in the Imperial Japanese Navy, having ships built at the yard of Alexander Hall.”

Mr Mckillop added that Aberdeen City Council’s drive to develop the Glover family home in the city as a business centre, as well as the Thomas Blake Glover Foundation’s cultural and educational links with Japan, could help boost international tourism.

He said: “These initiatives about the Scottish Samurai can complement each other to achieve this aim.”

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