NEWE

A film about Castle Newe, Strathdon.

This film is dedicated to Bettine Forbes and is given with love by three teddy bears holding paws together: Hale Bopp, Aloysius and Paddington.


In old age Forbes of NEWE developed memory problems [it was likely he had dementia] and began to struggle to find his way home to Castle NEWE. On one occasion he was found wandering on the farm of LOST but was safely returned home by one of my forebears. When he died his nephew donated a large sum of money to build Cornhill Hospital in Aberdeen -which more than 150 years later was the very hospital I trained in.

Castle NEWE was built in 1831 to the design of Archibald Simpson to replace the ancient Castle NEW.

In time this new castle NEWE became old and frail and in 1927, 40 years before my birth, it was blown up.

One of the beautiful daughters of castle NEWE, Bettine Forbes, kept safe a beautiful family album of photographs. These photographs form the basis of this film

Two years before castle NEWE was demolished Evelyn Waugh visited it with his university friend Alistair Graham [Alistair was a cousin of the Forbes of Newe].

By scholars of Waugh it is widely accepted that Alistair Graham was the real-life inspiration for Sebastian Flyte in Brideshead Revisited [you will recall Sebastian as he took his teddy-bear with him wherever he went!

Real-life though can be stranger than fiction, as Alistair Graham, in his later years, lived not far from Dylan Thomas in a mansion that was full of clocks – even in the kitchen! Apparently he was the inspiration for Lord Cut Glass in Under Milk Wood:

Time Passes. Listen. Time passes

Some of the finely dressed stone of Castle Newe was used to build ‘New Elphinstone Hall’ in Old Aberdeen which opened in the summer of 1931.


Image credits: The wonderful GLENBUCHAT HERITAGE ARCHIVE


Thanks also to CANMORE archive and the British Newspaper Archive.


The voice speaking about Photography is William Boyd [BBC archive]


Before we cross the Cock Bridge and arrive at NEWE you hear me read a section from Hilary Mantel’s Reith Lecture 2017: The Day is for Living.


Literary references:
[1] ‘Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder’ – by Evelyn Waugh
[2] ‘Under Milk Wood’ – by Dylan Thomas
[3] ‘Demolition Melancholia’ – British Medical Journal, 15 July 1939


Music credits:
(1) ‘Come wander with me’ – Bonnie Beecher
(2) ‘Johnnie’ – The Lost Prince Soundtrack (Adrian Johnston)
(3) ‘Beyond the Strath’ – by James Ross, from the album ‘Chasing the sun’
(4) ‘So Brand New’ – by Fyfe Dangerfield, from the album ‘Fly Yellow Moon’
(5) ‘Ghosteen’ – by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
(6) ‘Clowns’ [instrumental] – by Goldfrapp
(7) ‘No More I love you’s’ – a beautiful bedroom cover of this Annie Lennox song
(8) Julie Fowlis and the BBC Proms
(9) ‘Intruder’ – by Peter Gabriel
(10) ‘Mid Air’ – by Paul Buchanan

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An old film that is a ‘companion’ to NEWE:

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