Friday 14 September 2012

Elizabeth Duthie and Sir Ian Wood

See this lion in my local park?

He lies, along with his three companions at the foot of a most impressive monument.

Let's have a closer look.

Oh I am so grateful to Elizabeth Crombie Duthie.

Just imagine, without her generous and far-sighted gift, I and so many other local dogs would not be enjoying daily walks Duthie Park, a wonderful green space not far from our home in the city.

What do we know about Miss Duthie? (Quickly consults Wikipedia...)

It seems that she was a member of an affluent local shipbuilding family, yes you've guessed it, the Duthies. She purchased the 42 acre site in 1881 and gave it to the Aberdeen City Council, for the enjoyment of the local people.

I expect you are wondering why I am telling you this.

I am aware that not all of my readers closely follow Aberdeen's politics and affairs.

Well I want you to know that I am not at all against the idea of rich folk using their wealth for the public good.

But for sure I am still bouncing for joy at the news that last month our councillors decided to reject an offer of £50 million from Aberdeen oil billionaire Sir Ian Wood. This money was to part fund a huge vanity project in another part of town, to build a so-called 'City Garden' - actually mostly concrete and totally at odds with the character and heritage of our central Aberdeen - which would have left our local government even further mired in debt than it is already.

Yes you're right, well remembered, I've blogged about this long running controversy before (see 'A visit to Union Terrace Gardens').

Well Sir Ian Wood - who is a bit miffed, to say the least, that his apparently generous donation has been rejected - let me set you a challenge.

You are without doubt a smart and determined chappie, and your entrepreneurial energy has helped bring prosperity to Aberdeen. So I'm sure that if you set your mind to it, you could come up with a plan to spend your money in a way that would bring as much pleasure to as many citizens of Aberdeen (and their dogs) as has Elizabeth Duthie's wonderful Victorian park. And then I promise you I'll be barking my support so loud you'll hear me all the way from Union Terrace Gardens to the Wood Group operations in New Plymouth, New Zealand. (I consulted the company website, and that was the furthest office from the UK shown on their map.)


  1. Hip, hip Arrooooo! We were sure that that park would have been ruined! And you are right, there must be something else he can spend his money on to reach immortality.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  2. That is a very impressive park and thank you for sharing it. I always learn something from you Bertie. Thanks.

    Loveys Sasha

  3. Someone called Ian Wood is building a park with concrete? Then he should consider changing his name to Ian Concrete, or donate his money for a real park with trees in it. Just imagine the possibilities...

    If Sir Ian doesn't come through, there will be an extra reason why it feels great to pee on wood :)

  4. That was interesting Bertie. Lets hope Ian Wood finds something better to do with his money for the peeps of Aberdeen. Have a fabulous Friday.
    Best wishes Molly

  5. Such a beautiful park and statue! What a great place to go for a walk.

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  6. What's the point of a concrete park?? I bet Ian Wood can find a better idea -- just look at his last name for inspiration!

  7. I REALLY DO remember when you talked about this IAN guys... misdirected plans. I am glad that you have the PARK that you DO. What a Visionary She was!!! So Generous... and not self serving. YEA fur you!!!

  8. The 50 million must have been tax deductible. Thank heavens the councillors weren't bribed into passing that proposed architectural monstrosity . Have you ever been into the art gallery to look at the war memorial ? It's really rather unusual .

  9. What good news! I hope Sir Ian Wood listens to you and finds a better use of his millions!

    Your pal, Pip

  10. haha, I often wonder how long it takes to get you into position for those photos bertie, stevie isnt very co-operative with that kind of thing! xxxx

  11. Hello Bertie:

    This was a terrific post. I love Ms. Duthie's memorial and want something similar for my Mum. I think there are 4 lions on this, she won't need the statue and the tall spire, but just flowers growing in the midst of those Lions, and we already have a park for it. It will be lovely although I hope we won't need it right away, maybe a few years. Mr. Wood ought to get some ecologically astute people to help him design a real park, like Ms Duthie's. Good ideas just abound here.


  12. what a cool statue and park. Those lions are something else. Thanks for the info.

    Jazzi and Addi
    Addi sends a wink!!

  13. Howdy Bertie, whew, for a minute there we thought you were in Narnia! What a wonderful person Ms Duthie must have been. Not too sure about the other fella. A concrete park? Doesn't sound like much fun to us! Hope your weekend is a good one Bertie. No worries, and love, Stella and Rory

  14. Tell Sir Ian Wood, that for 50 mil, my mom and dad will come over and build y'all one hellava park! With grass and pretty plants, even sprinklers!


  15. Aww I love Duthie Park! Missing the winter gardens for sure