Banffshire Coast News

Fordyce Joinery Workshop celebrates its 21st anniversary

Fordyce Joinery Workshop and Visitor Centre, one of the North-east's more unusual historic and cultural visitor attractions, is currently celebrating its 21st anniversary.

A registered museum, it was set up to help visitors "discover the importance of the rural carpenter to the local community in the days before mass-produced goods, with displays of early tools and audio-visual presentations."

With admission free and open to the public all-year round, the centre offers visitors the opportunity to watch craftsmen working with wood using historic workshop machinery and the chance to relax in its Victoria-style garden.

Located in the picturesque village's West Church Street, the complex was taken into local authority control in 1972 and officially opened as a visitor centre in 1993 after it was leased from Aberdeenshire Council by the Fordyce Community Association.

The Community Association decided it would offer the facilities to volunteers with an open bench policy, allowing anybody who wanted to work there to rent workshop space and take on the role of "live" exhibits.  There is currently a team of 15 volunteers who work at the centre; they are in the early stages of developing the "living, working museum" theme, but with public support they intend to introduce new crafts, such as traditional knitting, crochet and patchwork, to add to the woodworkers; they hope to establish a rota to allow more local volunteers to join in the activities.  They also hope to open a tea and coffee area, so the facility can also function as a drop-in centre for the local community.  The focus is to become a crafts hub to encourage the participation of the local community, while developing the facilites for the future.

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