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Cultural significance of Aberdeenshire museum recognised with top award

The museum was once Alford Auction Mart.

A north-east museum that celebrates the area’s agricultural heritage has been awarded top recognition.

Alford Heritage Museum has been given A-listed status by Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

The building was once Alford Auction Mart, which was established in 1905 and operated by Aberdeen cattle salesmen Reith and Anderson.

It is one of few early 20th-century livestock auction marts that still stands, making it of special historic interest.

Today, it is open to the public as a museum which aims to preserve the rural heritage of the north-east of Scotland.

‘Appreciation of agricultural life’

Dara Parsons, head of designations at HES, explained the building was awarded the status in recognition of its work in keeping the history and traditions of agriculture in Aberdeenshire alive.

He said: “Scotland has an incredibly rich and diverse built heritage, and listing is an important way of celebrating this history and ensuring that its value is recognised by future generations.

“The Alford Heritage Museum is a welcome addition to the list. Only the most outstanding examples are given a category A listing, and in this case, we have recognised the important contribution the former mart makes to our understanding and appreciation of agricultural life, economy and society in this part of Scotland during the 19th and 20th centuries.”

History of Alford Auction Mart

When it opened at the beginning of the 20th century, Alford Auction Mart was the largest cattle firm in Aberdeenshire.

Rural livestock marts were used less as regulations changed and livestock sales centralised in the years following World War II, forcing them to close.

Alford Auction Mart ran almost continuously for 80 years before closing in 1986.

The building itself is well preserved and is a very rare example of a pre-1914 livestock mart of timber construction in Scotland.

The museum is currently closed for winter but will reopen in April 2022.

For anyone who missed our spinning demonstrations on Saturday here's a method you can try at home while you enjoy the rest of the tattie holidays! All you need is a potato, a stick, and something to spin! 🥔

Posted by Alford Heritage Museum on Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Local history

Alison Kennedy, a trustee of Alford Heritage Museum., said the team at the museum were “thrilled” with the recognition.

She explained: “While trustees, volunteers and members of Alford Heritage Museum realised the importance of the former Alford Auction Mart building to the local community, the national significance has come as a huge surprise and we are overwhelmed and thrilled with the category A listing awarded.

“We would like to thank all at HES for their help in the listed building application and look forward to working with them in the future.”

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