Folklore has it that the headline in a local daily newspaper when reporting the sinking of the Titanic was: “North East Man Drowns at Sea.”
To commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic this month, the Tolbooth Museum in Stonehaven is holding an exhibition about the ship and its connection with the NE of Scotland.
A model maker from Newtonhill, Andy Bain, has kindly loaned his large models of the Titanic, one to the Maritime museum in Aberdeen and one to the Tolbooth.
The emphasis of the Tolbooth display will be on the fact that pehaps the newspaper headline should have been “North East Man Does Not Drown at Sea.”
Part of the exhibit illustrates the controversial story about the rescue of a prominent North East landowner, Sir Cosmos Duff Gordon, his wife Lucie Christiana and her secretary, Miss Laura Mabel Francatelli.
The displays in the Tolbooth have been completely revamped for the coming season and include Law and Order. A jail has been built to replicate the period when the Tolbooth was the County Court and Jail. There are displays about R.W. Thomson, the famous Stonehaven inventor and local geology with the new model of the fossil Pneumodesmus Newmani found at Cowie.
In addition to the many artefacts provided by Aberdeen Museums Service and with thanks to a major local benefactor, Jim Bruce of Bruce Byegones, there is a magnificent display of home and country life throughout the 20th Century.
Fishing, Fireballs and the connection with Dunnottar Castle, churches and Old Stonehaven are all represented.
Opening hours are: April: Friday to Monday inclusive 1.30 - 4.30pm. May - September: Wednesday - Monday inclusive 1.30 - 4.30pm.
From the end of May to the end of December 2011 there were 10,500 visitors. Management committee member George Strang said: “It would be fair to say that 75-80% were tourists. This year we would like to increase significantly the number of local visitors. Hence the revamp and our intention to have rotating displays about schooling, Robert Burns’ father, the Open Air Pool and other aspects of local heritage.”
The Tolbooth group are very keen to have the various groups, societies and clubs in the Mearns visit the Tolbooth and would be prepared to open by arrangement to accommodate interested parties. Contact George through the website at www.stonehaventolbooth.co.uk