An elaborate statue, which has been a landmark along Aberdeen’s Granite Mile for decades, has been hoisted off its pedestal in preparation for multi-million-pound works in the city centre.
A crane hoisted the Category B listed figure, first unveiled at the end of Union Bridge in 1914, for it to be stored safely while the Union Terrace Gardens overhaul is carried out.
Part of the first phase of work includes a new, permanent safety structure on the bridge, while one of three new pavilions will be built at the Union Street end of the park.
The Kemnay granite statue of Queen Victoria’s son, and Queen Elizabeth II’s great-grandfather, will be reinstated on the corner once work is completed.
It was carved in tremendous detail by Woodside granite mason James Philip, renowned as one of the greatest stone carvers ever to have worked in Aberdeen.
Philip, who worked in a yard in Jute Street, also sculpted the war memorial lion at the city’s Cowdray Hall, Inverurie’s war memorial and the Titanic memorial in Liverpool.
Designed by Alfred Drury, the Edward VII statue was initially intended placed where the war memorial lion is, outside Aberdeen Art Gallery.
An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: “The Edward VII statue has been temporarily moved as part of the Union Terrace Gardens project.
“This was carried out as per requirements and methods described within the Listed Building Consent process.
“The statue will remain in secure storage off site and will be reinstated at the appropriate time.”
In November, council chiefs revealed the Union Terrace Gardens restoration project, which had been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, might not now be completed until February 2022.
At that time, it was revealed the cost of the delay was still be thrashed out in talks with contractor Balfour Beatty – though it was thought to still be coming in within budget.
Officials had hoped their plans, including new accessible routes, refurbishment of the arches and the reinstatement of a ‘grand staircase’ in from Rosemount Viaduct, would be completed by this summer.