THE

          STORY

                       OF

                           MINERVA

On the site of what is now private houses and now named Union Court, was a parish school of 1833. With additions to the two original classrooms over the years, of a Hall, a Tower, a Rectors room and 14 additional classrooms, the school developed into what was to become known as Keith Grammar School with the statue of Minerva perched on the Tower top, as shown clearly in this picture on the right. A click on the picture will give you a larger image. A further picture of the former Keith Grammar School site as it is now, is available here.  A new Keith Grammar School was built on a site in another part of the town in 1965. There are plans afoot at the moment (2005), to either rebuild a new Grammar School on it's existing site, or enhance the existing building. At the top left of this page is a picture of the moment of lift off for Minerva on the 16th of November 1977 with a helicopter and crew of  the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue from Lossiemouth. Minerva was then transported to Arbroath for a wash and brush up and came back to Keith on the 3rd of December looking resplendent and was eventually placed outside the Community Centre.

A brilliant aerial view of the Old Grammar School is available by clicking here. This photograph was taken in 1973.

Minerva is the Roman Goddess of Wisdom and was perched on the top of the Tower at Keith Grammar School for 78 years. The school was closed in 1965 but before it was finally demolished in 1979, Minerva was removed by a Royal Air Force Search and Rescue helicopter and was deposited near its final resting place outside the Main Door of the Keith Community Centre which is next to the Swimming Pool. The statue, which has a long rod from it's base extending about the same length as the statue, was placed outside the door around late 1977, and would not have been very easy to remove. It was presumed that the plan had been hatched some considerable time before the actual theft took place.

Events around the month of Feb 1999 transpired to the stealing of Minerva and removed, by what  must have been a vehicle, due to its bulk and weight, to a place unknown but not presumed to be local. On the morning of Friday 19th Feb 1999 after Minerva had stood on the School Tower on guard for so long and now in retirement outside the Community Centre for 22 years, it was suddenly not there. Who could have done such a deed after Minerva being in the Community for such a long period of time and was  an established Keith "Quine". This bronze statue is one of very few which were cast around the turn of the 19th century, and is numbered. There would have been no advantage in breaking up the statue, and probably it would have been sold on for financial gain.


Have you seen her ?. Do you know where she might be. 16 years on and no real concrete information has emerged as to where she is. If anybody out there has any information on the possible location of Minerva, if in Scotland, please get in touch on the Confidential phone number of  0800 555 111 . You do not have to give your name or any other personal information, the call is not recorded nor can it be traced. If you are in any other part of the U.K. and have any information, get in touch with your Local Crime Investigation via the same service. Any information as to the whereabouts can be followed up, as all leads already have been over the years, but all turned out to be false. The residents of Keith would like to see Minerva back in the Community, returned to her rightful stance, outside the Community Centre where she belongs.

 

THE GRUFF KIDS MINERVA CHALLENGE

In September 1999 five young lads from Keith, as shown on the plaque, completed the task of replacing  the Statue of "Minerva" with a replica, and created a garden to set up the Statue in, outside the Community Centre where "Minerva" had once stood, before being stolen. From an initial pencil drawing by a local artist, to an engraving mounted on a large piece of yellow sandstone, a replica of what had once stood here was created, and the overall effect is very impressive. The project took around six weeks and most of the materials and labour were donated. The garden was opened and the Statue unveiled at a ceremony attended by contributors to the project, local councillors and interested members of the public. It is sincerely hoped that this "Minerva" will never suffer the same fate as the previous occupant.

 

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REWARD

A  REWARD  will be negotiated with anyone who can lead us to the original Minerva.
Alternatively if anyone knows of a Minerva the same, for sale or being scrapped,
contact can be made through this site, or telephone Keith Community Centre on 01542 882028

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If you have any information on the above theft or any knowledge of where 'Minerva' might be, or any other relevant information, please use the Email 'link below

 

If you are using a Web based E-mail facility such as A.O.L. or Yahoo or are having difficulty using the above "link"
please use your usual method of E-mailing using the alternative address shown below, with the Subject line of - Minerva Information

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All images on these pages, unless otherwise stated or unmarked, are Copyright Webmaster at  www.tourofkeith.co.uk
  and all images are protected with a steganographic message embedded in each picture.

News extract with permission of  Aberdeen "Press and Journal" dated Saturday 20th February 1999. Minerva pictures courtesy D.Reid.

 To obtain information on the Copyright owners contact :-