The Gordon Highlanders Museum is a 5-star Visit Scotland Attraction based in the west end of Aberdeen, Scotland. It is committed to preserving and sharing the legacy of the world-famous Gordon Highlanders regiment for future generations to enjoy. The regiment was formed on 1 July 1881 instigated under the Childers Reforms. The new two-battalion regiment was formed out of the 75th (Stirlingshire) Regiment of Foot - which became the 1st Battalion of the new regiment - and the 92nd (Gordon Highlanders) Regiment of Foot, which became the 2nd. The 75th Highlanders were raised in 1787 by Colonel Robert Abercromby of Tullibody for service in India, where they saw a great deal of action. They went on to serve in South Africa, the Indian Mutiny, Egypt and on the North-West Frontier. The 92nd were raised as the 100th Highlanders by the Duke of Gordon in 1794 being renumbered 92nd in 1798. Their early service included the Low Countries and Egypt, followed by Corunna, the Peninsula, Waterloo, Afghanistan and South Africa. The 92nd (2nd Bn Gordon Highlanders) served throughout the Second Afghan War culminating in the march from Kabul to Kandahar. Bound for return to England after years overseas, they were re-routed to South Africa to fight in the disastrous First Boer War.
It was during operations on the North West Frontier in October 1897, during the storming of the Dargai Heights, that one of the regiment's most famous Victoria Crosses was earned. Piper George Findlater, despite being wounded in both legs, continued to play the bagpipes during the assault. Another of the heroes involved in the charge of the Gordon Highlanders at Dargai Heights, was Piper John Kidd. Before the memorable charge was made the commander of the battalion said that the heights had to be taken, and the Gordon regiment was the one capable of taking them. Piper Kidd was with Piper Findlater when, half-way up the heights, both pipers were shot down. Piper Kidd was wounded in the ankle, and later lost his foot. Unmindful of his injuries, Piper Kidd sat up and continued to play "The Cock o' the North" as the troops advanced up the heights. Following the engagement, the pipers were offered the Victorian Cross for being on the front line. Piper Kidd said the VC should go to the soldiers so the pipers had a gentleman's agreement that they would turn it down. While Piper Kidd chose to continue to honor that agreement, Piper Findlater eventually changed his mind and received the award. Queen Victoria visited the two pipers while they were in hospital in England,and one of Mr. Kidd's treasures was a case of bagpipes presented to him by Her Majesty.
The main gallery, called The Grant Room, houses the permanent exhibition and explores the dramatic 200-year history of the Regiment from the Napoleonic Wars, India, Afghanistan and South Africa, through to both World Wars and the Cold War. 11 of the 19 Victoria Crosses (VC’s) won by the Gordon Highlanders are also on display in the main exhibition. Interactive maps, original film footage, scale reproductions, life-size models, touch screens, regimental colours, uniforms, medals and weapons are all featured to bring the unique history of The Gordon Highlanders to life. The Armoury features a wide range of weapons dating from the late 18th Century through to the modern day rifles used by the British Military. It has an array of armaments including swords, bayonets, knives, pistols and rifles from many of the conflicts that the Gordon Highlanders were engaged in, including many of the arms used against them by the opposing forces. The Museum holds a large amount of the regimental silver in the Silver Room. Silver played a large part in the British Military and the Gordon Highlanders were no exception. The stunning pieces in the silver room are well worth a look.
Laid out as the Officers Mess, the Lakin Room is a wonderful part of the exhibition. It shows visitors how the officers would have dined, the colours of the regiment as well as an array of silver and original portraiture. However, not only is it part of the exhibition but it can also be hired out for corporate functions, birthdays and other special occasions providing first-hand experience of the wonderful traditions of the regiment and the fine dining that went with it. Named for the 4th Duke of Gordon’s wife Duchess Jean, the recently redeveloped the tea room offers a full lunch time menu including amazing cakes and pastry’s. The museum is wheelchair accessible and has disabled toilet facilities. The Curator, when interpreting the collection will ensure wide accessibility taking into account the visitors differing requirements and learning styles. There are a number of interactive displays and items that the visually impaired may touch. Assistance Dogs are welcome.
Location : St. Luke’s, Viewfield Rd, Aberdeen AB15 7XH
Transport: Aberdeen (National Rail) then bus. Bus Routes : 11 and X17 stop close by.
Opening Times : Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 to 16:30
Tickets : Adults £6.65; Seniors/Students £4.75; Children (5 - 16) £3.33.
Tel: 01224 311200