Scaffolding around Aberdeen’s oldest surviving house is to come down “over the coming weeks”.
Council chiefs have revealed builders last month finished the £3.8 million restoration of Provost Skene’s House, with only the fitting out of the inside left to do.
The 16th century home in Guestrow will soon become home to a Hall Of Heroes celebrating the achievements of people from the city and the wider north-east, including the likes of musician Annie Lennox and Europe-conquering former Aberdeen FC manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Dependent on coronavirus restrictions, it is hoped remaining work to fit out the inside of the A-listed building can be finished by late spring or early summer.
An opening date is yet to be set, again depending on Covid rules.
Another chapter in the history of Provost Skene’s House
Sir George Skene, who served as Provost of Aberdeen from 1676 to 1685 and who lent the building his name, is thought to have commissioned its ornate carved plaster ceilings, while the decorated ceilings and walls of its painted gallery are thought to have been added in the 17th Century.
It was known as Cumberland House for 200 years after it was occupied by the Duke of Cumberland on the march to the Battle of Culloden.
Having fallen into disrepair, it was saved by the Queen Mother, then the Queen, while the slums around it were demolished in the late 1930s.
She cut the ribbon as it reopened as a museum in 1953.
A ‘necessary’ facelift for Provost Skene’s House nearly completed
The latest building work began in July 2019 on the multi-million-pound project but was halted by last March’s lockdown until the end of June.
Chief capital officer John Wilson said the “necessary refurbishment” had been progressing “extremely well” until then.
It has included making the building wind and watertight once again, repairing the roof and overall structure and installing new electrics for the Hall Of Heroes.
Nearly £2.5m of the budgeted £3.8m has been spent.
Mr Wilson added: “Due to the necessity for additional cleansing and social distancing caused by the pandemic the site is currently running at reduced productivity but despite these challenges the council’s building services will have completed the majority of the building works by the end of February 2021.
“There are still some outstanding additional external drainage works which will
be carried out following removal of the scaffolding, beginning to be taken down over the coming weeks.
“Having the internal and external main building works virtually complete the internal Hall for Heroes fit-out commenced on February 15, and depending on Covid-19 restrictions related to working in restricted space for physical distancing, it is expected that these works will be complete by late spring/early summer.”