Aberdeen in old picture postcards volume 2

Aberdeen in old picture postcards volume 2

:   John Clark
:   Aberdeen
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-6646-1
:   144
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Aberdeen on the Scottish coast has given its name to several towns in the USA but they are all modest in size compared with the original city. Aberdeen has been a settled area for two millennia and has now grown to about a quarter of a million residents. It is located between the sea and the mountains and has tended to look towards the sea for business opportunities, rather than developing land links. Ihere was a bustling international trade from Aberdeen for centuries before there was a decent road to the city. The variety oflivelihoods followed in the area, from quarrying through agriculture to textiles, has enabled Aberdeen to avoid same of the economie swings experienced elsewhere.

In 1989 I prepared a volume on the old postcards of Aberdeen, which reflected same of the changes that the city had seen in the previous ninety years. After a decade, during which the original volume was reprinted three times, we see more changes, particularly to shops, churches and cinemas. In preparing this volume of postcards of the city I have tried to avoid repeating views from our first volume, not always an easy task as the majority of cards show Union Street, the university, the harbour and the bridges. Since that publication, it has been evident that parts of the city are suffering from the attentions of the

multinational and chain store. This is most regrettable as Union Street represents one of the greatest achievements in urban living in the islands. However, there are still many parts of the city that have scarcely changed in fifty years, the granite defying all attempts to spoil its appearance.

The English travel writer H.V Morton had strong views on Aberdeen, which are worth repeating. 'A city built of the hardest known stone, in a part of the world which must be unfit for human habitation for several months of the year ... this city seems to me like the world's greatest monument to that god who helps those who help themselves'. Aberdeen is a surprise to all people new to the city. It has had many nicknames over the years, including the Hauston ofEurope, but none ofthem prepare you for the scale and monumental nature of the place. The author Leila Abeulela, originally from Sudan, had heard that Aberdeen was the centre of the European oil industry. She says that she imagined 'skyscrapers and bustling streets but found Aberdeen'. This impact has been diminished in recent years by the developments along the main road to the south, but arriving by rail still retains that impact as one sweeps through miles of countryside and then pulls into a major city.

Aberdeen remains one of the most pleasant places to live in the country, with a bracing but healthy climate. It is large enough to have city amenities but still close to the sea and countryside. lts diverse economy, and the good fortune to be in the right place during the oil boom, has created a city that faces the future with confidence. This small volume celebrates the first half of the twentieth century in Aberdeen and provides an opportunity ra note both change and continuity in the Granite City.


I wish ra thank all the people who helped with the preparation of this small volume, particularly Mr. Iohn Linklater and Mrs. Eileen Duncan, who lent cards from their collections. I have received valuable information from the House of Fraser, Marcliffe Hotel, the Convent of the Sacred Heart, the Royal Naval Reserve, Aberdeen Library Service, the National Railway Museum and several members of the family. I have found numerous books useful and have indicated wh ere further information can be found on a coup ie of occasions. All the pictures are postcards over fifty years old as far as I am able to ascertain.

If any errors appear they are the author's responsibility.

1 Union Street

The corner of Nicholas Street showing the Commercial Bank of 1 936, a classical building by Jenkins and Marr. It is now the Royal Bank of Scotland. The Queen Victoria statue was still in place until1964.The card was published in 1938.

2 CastIe Street

Aberdeen Castle gave its name to this spot wh en this was the gate or gait ra the fortifieations. There are several interesting buildings grouped around this transport hub. We ean see trams No. 6 (withdrawn 1926) and 79 and bus No. 8 (delivered 1921). The Thorneroft J bus was originaHy fitted with solid tyres and until 1 925 retained paraffin lighting. A eharabane is nearly fuH of passengers.

3 Union Street

'Hearty Greetings' says the banner to King Edward VII in 1906. We see the top of Union Street on the day that the University extension was opened.

4 Feast

On the evening that the new university building opened in 1906 the Chancellor of the University, Lord Strathcona, gave a banquet in Strathcona Hall, a temporary building put up on Gallowgate. The hall allowed 2500 to dine, cast f,3400 and witnessed the greatest feast that the city has seen. Such was the snobbery of the day that the menu was entirely in French and only foreign alcohol was offered. Clearly a go ad deal of alcohol was consumed because that following day the Rector had same sharp words on the subject.

G. L. )f'K'Ogf., Ab'rl/un,

5 St. Nicholas Street

There are many views of St. Nicholas Street but this one is unusual in that it shows a small hut on the bridge. A notice reads 'Recruiting and enquiry office. Gordon Highlanders, Royal Field Artillery, Royal Engineers, Royal Army Medical Corps'. We can safely date this card to the GreatWar.

6 Old Grey Friars Church The kirk was built in 1530 under the direction of Bishop Gavin Dunbar. It was a modest structure only 118 feet by 26 feet and used sandstone. It was originally occupied by an order of Franciscans. Unfortunately it stood in the way of the expansion of the University and was demolished in 1 903. Same fragments were saved and the east window was built into the new Greyfriars, which stands alongside the university frontage.

Oid Greyfriars Parish Church. ABERDEEN.

7 Union Street

A snow scene in Union Street shows dozens of men digging out the tramway. This is probably the great storm of December 1908, when over seven hundred men were employed to clear snow from the city.

8 Coronation

King George V had his Coronatien on Friday 23 Iune 1911. A Pageant celebrating the Battle of Hawlaw of 1411 was organized in Aberdeen.



C. H. & S. lil..

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