Both have been demolished in the name of progress and few could argue against the good sense in doing so. In both these cases, Leitch’s creations had more than served their purpose.
So it is particularly pleasing to be able to report that, despite the anniversary of his death being 80 years ago yesterday, another grandstand has recently been added to the extensive list of those the Glasgow-born architect, pictured, helped build. While we’ve recently lost a couple, another has been “found” – the main stand at Pittodrie.
The painstaking research conducted by Aberdeen fan Gio Vasari has been chronicled in a blog posted this week on his DevanaHistoria site.
Records relating to the Pittodrie main stand were lost in a fire in 1971 meaning proof the master builder was involved has been hard to locate. In Simon Inglis’ superb book The Football Grounds of Great Britain, the author states that the main stand once had a central gable “in the manner of Leitch” but there were only hints of his fingerprints.
Vasari reveals his eureka moment as arriving on a visit to Aberdeen City Council archives and the discovery of rolled up scrolls wrapped with ribbon: the original architectural plans of Pittodrie Stadium, dated 1921-1922. “Crucially,” he writes, “every single plan had the name of Archibald Leitch and his company along the bottom”.
Of course, the tragedy is that no sooner has Leitch’s involvement been verified than we are set to lose this regal building. The construction of Aberdeen’s new stadium in Kingsford has already begun.