Provost Skene’s House and the Christmas markets


We walked into town to check out the Christmas markets today. It’s nice to see them up and running again after the very quiet Christmas we had last year. Marischal College (the building in this next photo) was as stunning as always in the afternoon sun.

The ice-skating rink is there again but we didn’t skate. Oddly, none of us felt like it. I guess we got spoilt last winter with all the natural ice-skating we did that squashing onto a tiny artificial rink crowded with people suddenly didn’t seem as fun. But we did go into Provost Skene’s House which reopened this year after many years of renovations.

Provost Skene’s House is a gorgeous building, built in 1545, and named after one of its owners, Sir George Skene (1619-1708) who was Provost of Aberdeen (Provost = council leader) from 1676 – 1685. The building has had a colourful and varied history as a grand home, a hostel for the homeless, home to troops during the Jacobite rebellion and now it’s a museum and a terrific museum it is.

There are several floors of exhibits to delight all ages with lots of hands-on activities for children. Lots of local people and their inventions are celebrated like the physicist James Clerk Maxwell, the same Maxwell behind Maxwell’s equations, who spent 5 years as Professor of Natural Philosophy at Marischal College in 1856; Robert Henderson built the UK’s first iron lung at Aberdeen City hospital; A team of medical physicists at the University of Aberdeen built and used the world’s first MRI scanner; Robert Thomson from Stonehaven invented the fountain pen and pneumatic tyre; and so many more. There’s a full list on the council website.

In one room was a camera booth and after taking a photo of yourself it would appear in the gallery on the surrounding walls. We had a lot of fun here. One of Daniel’s photos “glitched” (his word) and appeared in several frames. You can see Daniel posing for one of his photos in the gallery below. Can you guess who is who in these photos?

There was also a room devoted to Doric which is the version of Scots language spoken in the northeast of Scotland. You could stamp a bookmark with phrases to take home.

I can’t remember what all these mean. Maybe someone can help me out here?

Foo’s yer doos? How are you doing?
Fit a scunner
Gads min!
Fit like? How are you?
Gie’s a bosie! Give us a hug

It shuts at 4pm on Sundays and is free to enter. It’s a fantastic addition to Aberdeen.

Ben took this photo of us with the Christmas markets in the background. Beware the woman whose eyes produce lasers whenever she smiles.


11 responses to “Provost Skene’s House and the Christmas markets”

  1. Hi Rachel, Hope everyone is well. As far as I recall, Gads min is uttered when you are met with something disgusting (Gads when it is only mildly disgusting, gads min when fully so). Fit a scunner refers to something which is a real nuisance/a lot of trouble to do. Andrew

  2. Brilliant museum! No idea who the pics were of, but I thought I could pick you in one with a fair amount of certainty 🙂 Very impressed with the laser eyes – your new superpower?

  3. It’s funny that there is a link about ice skating at the bottom of your post, to a 2017 picture of you ice skating with much smaller children. The whole thing looks very beautiful, as opposed to the funny little ice rink here next to Eastbourne station, I think Lightning Fibre has spent the past year digging up the town and felt the need to give something back to the community for all the disruption, but we don’t have any equivalent beautiful spaces to put it.

    • I saw that link to 2017 too and the kids look so little! It’s amazing how quickly they change. Daniel in particular is going through a growth spurt and grows about 1cm each month. It is beautiful and a lovely setting. We’re very lucky to have it. The village you live in is probably much smaller than Aberdeen but haven’t you got a lovely old town centre there?

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