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Treasure 74: Kelly's Cats
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Treasure 74: Kelly's Cats

Historic Documents
Léa Moreau
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Treasure 74: Kelly's Cats
Historic Documents
Treasure 74: Kelly's Cats
One of this month's treasures showcases some of the most famous felines in the Silver City. Cast-iron and proud in their stance, despite their small stature, the cats silently stand watch over the citizens of Aberdeen as they sit atop the parapet of Union Bridge. These silent sentinels are known as 'Kelly's Cats', named after noted Aberdeen architect William Kelly (1861-1944).

Although some cats remain at their post on Union Bridge, others were removed in the 1960s when shops were added to one side of the bridge (where the Trinity Centre stands). Today, some of the cats can be found in Duthie Park and three were gifted to Aberdeen City Libraries where they have spent many years watching over the staff of the Central Library.

This September sees the launch of The Cat Parade in Aberdeen, a civic art project centred around our Union Bridge cats.

Up to 100 concrete replicas of 'Kelly's Cats' have been decorated by sponsoring organisations, and are being exhibited in the window of Waterstones throughout the month. At Aberdeen City Libraries, we have sponsored our very own cat - decorated by three of our talented members of staff, Meghan, Sarah, and Rhys.

The design of the cat is inspired by the history of Aberdeen Central Library ahead of its 125th Anniversary in July 2017 and is named Valentine after one of our most influential past employees, Miss Emma Valentine, who became the first female Assistant in Charge of the Reference Department between 1892 and 1915. You can view Valentine in Waterstones this month and in the Central Library from October.

Find out more about the history of the cats and the mystery surrounding their true designer in the Treasures from our Collections exhibition on the touchscreen in Central, Airyhall, Tillydrone and Mastrick libraries.
Aberdeen Local Studies
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