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Friday, 16 July 2010

World HQ

This was a special week as HRH Princess Anne formally opened our sparkling new Aberdeen Headquarters in which we have been resident for the past few weeks.

It was originally built in 1862 as the home for the Royal Aberdeen Highlanders. In 1912 the War Office released it for use as a bus and tram overhaul facility but when war was declared in 1914 it resumed its role as a barracks. Once the war was over the tram sheds were built but for a while the building was also used for residential accommodation.

Further extensions met the needs for increased bus and tram overhauls but in 1958 Aberdeen said goodbye to its trams and the entire site was used for the 230 buses of Aberdeen Corporation.

In due course Scottish local government reorganisation created the Grampian region and with it Grampian Regional Transport which in 1989 was privatised and evolved into FirstGroup plc.

The new development all took place on site whilst administration and operations continued. The bus company has a wonderful new traffic and maintenance facility, the admin staff of FirstGroup has a splendid new building grafted onto the original 1862 building which has been refurbished inside.

Difficult weather brought Princes Anne's helicopter in over an hour early and during the visit Sir Moir Lockhead introduced her to key staff in both the office buildings and workshops. She saw the assembled historic vehicle collection and unveiled a plaque to commemorate the event.

Her Royal Highness is of course also Patron of the Save the Children Fund, a charity supported for many years by First and she acknowledged the huge fundraising achievements of our staff and organisation over that time.

And here I am clearly enjoying my chat, whilst across the site VIPs enjoy the vintage vehicle line-up, especially the 78-year old Albion.


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