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Home of the 'Scottish samurai' set to get £2m revamp

Industrialist Thomas Blake Glover is regarded as one of the founders of modern Japan.

Thomas Blake Glover: Statue of the 'Scottish samurai'.
Thomas Blake Glover: Statue of the 'Scottish samurai'. FG2/Wikimedia/Creative Commons

The home of the "Scottish samurai" who revolutionised Japan is to be turned into a £2m research hub.

Industrialist Thomas Blake Glover set up the car manufacturer Mitsubishi and is regarded as one of the founders of modern Japan.

Despite this, his family home in Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, has been allowed to fall into disrepair since it closed to the public in 2012.

Under new plans to be decided by city councillors on Tuesday, Glover House could be transformed.

Council leader Jenny Laing said: "By transforming his family home in the Bridge of Don area into a facility for future industries and technologies, we are potentially developing ideas which will help us diversify our own economy and attract inward investment. It will also help us cement partnerships with Japanese companies.

"Our aim is to use the home of the Scottish Samurai as a springboard to widen our skills base and to encourage innovation as we look to the years beyond North Sea oil and gas."

Mitsubishi gifted Glover House to Grampian Regional Council in 1996 and a trust was created to run the attraction.

Glover's former home in Japan attracts an average of two million visitors every year, but the Grampian-Japan Trust's attempts to turn Glover House into a successful museum failed and it was shuttered in 2012.

It is now being taken back into the hands of the council ahead of the planned redevelopment.

Japanese consul general Daisuke Matsunaga added: "Thomas Blake Glover is an important figure in creating modern Japan. 

"He said that Glover House being turned into the new research and development facility is a fitting tribute to a man who did so much to industrialise Japan. 

"He said that it will strengthen further the bonds of co-operation and friendship between Japan and Scotland."

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