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Group looking at turning Westburn House into Archibald Simpson museum

Gavin Esslemont has launched the Save Westburn House Action Group, designed to take over Westburn House .
Gavin Esslemont has launched the Save Westburn House Action Group, designed to take over Westburn House .

A dilapidated A-listed building in an Aberdeen park could be transformed into a museum honouring its designer and the Granite City’s most famous architect, Archibald Simpson, under ambitious new proposals.

The Save Westburn House group has been preparing a business plan to take over the 1838-built property in Westburn Park and bring it back to its former glory.

In April, council chiefs put the building on the market and it is understood it has attracted attention from several different parties.

But the local group have now announced that they believe the house would be “the ideal location” for a museum celebrating the famous Aberdeen architect.


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It has lain unused for nearly two decades and the building has fallen into serious disrepair.

A significant part of its structure is crumbling and its roof has begun to cave in, while the building has also been repeatedly targeted by vandals.

Plans put forward in recent years for its renovation have all fallen through and council insiders have said the authority is keen to offload the property.

Community takeovers of council sites have become increasingly popular – with a joint housing project by Grampian Housing Assocation and the Torry Development Trust planned for the former Victoria Road school site serving as a local example.

Council bosses have also added emphasis on developing tourist sites around the city to help diversify away from the dominant oil and gas industry.

The 16th century Provost Skene’s House is currently undergoing a £3.8 million revamp into an attraction including a ‘hall of heroes’ honouring the city’s most famous residents.

Posting online, the group have vowed that should they be successful in taking over Westburn House they would be “sympathetically reinstating the original features, including the original glass dome”.

The Archibald Simpson pub in Aberdeen

A statement reads: “The concept of the Archibald Simpson Heritage Centre is a museum facility primarily dedicated to the presentation of historical and cultural information about Aberdeen and its people, featuring a high proportion of ‘hands-on’ exhibitions.

“Westburn house would be the ideal location to highlight Archibald Simpson’s contribution to the city and create a historic platform to display the city’s many treasures and archives.”

Midstocket and Rosemount councillor Bill Cormie said: “There is no question that an attraction like this would draw not just locals with a love of architecture but visitors from outwith the city too.”

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