The old Aberdeen and Northern Marts building in Alford, Aberdeenshire has been in existence since 1905. As the local auction centre, it was a hub of activity for the village and the surrounding countryside. It was a place to buy, sell, meet people, exchange news and gossip. It was always the centre of comings and goings until 1986, when the Company that owned the building and land – Aberdeen and Northern Marts Ltd. – implemented a process of rationalising their operations.
All local auction centres around the North East of Scotland were to be closed and centralised at a brand new centre in Inverurie. In this planned fate, the Alford Mart was to be sold off like all the others. Allegedly the land was earmarked to be used for a supermarket. Fortunately, a group of local farmers and enthusiasts were determined the Old Mart should survive for the benefit of the local community and after many meetings and fundraising events, the present Museum opened to the public on the 20th March 1991.
The museum aims to preserve and educate people about the traditional way of life that the people of the North East lived for hundreds of years, a way of life that is now dying out due to globalisation.
Of course, such a brief explanation hardly conveys the herculean efforts that were required to bring the museum into its current state. It took seven hard years to bring the old building back to life – and with a fine complement of exhibits. All those involved in the venture were volunteers.
Rome was not built in a day and we continue to update and improve our museum. We welcome any comments or suggestions with regards to safeguarding our museum for future generations and to improve the visitor experience.