ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting Provost Skene's House, Aberdeen, Scotland: historic, stone property with changing names

Updated on July 8, 2014
Flag of Scotland
Flag of Scotland | Source
Provost Skene's House, Aberdeen
Provost Skene's House, Aberdeen | Source
Doorway of Provost Skene's House, Aberdeen
Doorway of Provost Skene's House, Aberdeen | Source
Map location of Aberdeen, Scotland
Map location of Aberdeen, Scotland | Source

Stones and property names in curious juxtapositions

This historic property is one of the main heritage buildings in Aberdeen, Scotland. Localted on a street known as the Guestrow, it has many interesting associations with notable people down the centuries; some famous, others not so famous.

But one interesting feature of the house is its name, or, rather, the various names by which it has been called or associated over the centuries.

Today, then, its name is Provost Skene's House. So, who was Provost Skene? Well, firstly, it needs to be said that the title 'Provost' refers to the traditional administrative head of certain larger Scottish cities; one of these cities which has had a Provost for centuries is Aberdeen. Sir George Skene served as Provost of Aberdeen from 1676-1685. Provost Skene would have been a prominent figure in his day. But it's maybe fair to say that the house which bears his name is the main reason why he is remembered.

So, Provost Skene built the house, then?

Well, actually, no: he lived there and made improvements to it, but the house itself dates from at least the century prior to the one in which he lived. Historical records first mention the house in 1545. It is an early example of what is known as 'burgh architecture'.

So although it wasn't at first known as Provost Skene's House, this is the name by which it came to be known. So, is this the name that has stuck ever since? Well, actually no: the association with Provost Skene was eclipsed somewhat for centuries, after it started to be called Cumberland House.

So why was it called Cumberland House? The reason for this is that Prince William, Duke of Cumberland is thought to have commandeered the property, when on his way to fight the Battle of Culloden in 1746 against Charles Edward Stuart (1), 'Bonnie Prince Charlie', the Jacobite Pretender to the throne. Bonnie Prince Charlie lost, the Duke of Cumberland won, and earned himself the name 'Butcher Cumberland' in the process.

After this decisive battle, the last to be fought on the soil on the island of Great Britain, the name Cumberland House stuck for a long while; into the 20th century, indeed.

Circumstances changed again in 1953. HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother visited the House, to open it formally after it had been refurbished and turned into a well-appointed, historical museum. Since the 20th century, it has been known as Provost Skene's House (a much 'nicer' name for a museum, in fact, than one which recalls 'Butcher Cumberland'?)

The house has been the constant, for centuries; it is human perceptions which have changed, back and forth.

One of the museum features is a period costume gallery. The totality of the museum and furnishings which have been recreated are described as a 'Period House and Museum of Local History'.

Note

(1) Not to be confused with Charles Edward Stuart, Senator from Maine from 1853 to 1859.

Also worth seeing

In Aberdeen itself, King's and Marischal Colleges are architecturally distinguished, as is the New Town House.

Slains Castle, Cruden Bay (distance: 38 kilometres), now ruined, is reputed to have associations with author Bram Stoker, creator of 'Dracula'.

Balmoral, Royal Deeside (distance: 67 kilometres) is a Scottish residence of HM The Queen.

...

How to get there: United Airlines flies from New York Newark to Glasgow and Edinburgh Airports, where car rental is available. There are air and rail services which connect Glasgow and Edinburgh with Aberdeen. Some facilities mentioned may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


For your visit, these items may also be of interest

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • MJFenn profile imageAUTHOR

      MJFenn 

      7 years ago

      alocsin: It's certainly worth seeing. Thank-you for your comment.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 

      7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Nicely done. I'll have to visit this House when I'm next in Scotland. Voting this Up.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)