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Looking at the history, sites and stories of Aberdeen's western border  

 UTG Postcard

The "Westerkirkgate" represented the city's western border enclosing the Mither Kirk of St Nicholas from the Denburn Valley.  The kirk was the spiritual heart of Aberdeen's medieval past.  From there we will follow the Netherkirkgate as closely as possible to its ancient route, passing the site of St Thomas's Hospital, the Wallace Tower and turning to Flourmill Lane, which indeed was the site of the Upper Mill, in existence since the 1300s.  

We also pause to look into the history of the Guestrow and its characters, including the many inhabitants of what would later be known as Provost Skene's House, one of only two surviving medieval houses in the city.  On Upperkirkgate we pause at the site of the Jamesones' house, Andrew, George and Mary Jamesone all contributed to Aberdeen's medieval economy, Andrew the master mason, George, the portrait artist and Mary, the tapestry embroiderer.  We take in Little Belmont Street and Gaelic Lane, which includes the famous ancient hostelry now called Ma Cameron's, and the site of the Highland Chapel which looked after the spiritual needs of the city's Gaelic-speaking population.  

Belmont Street is bursting with history including the town house of the Menzies of Pitfodels, the site of the church where young Mary Slessor was inspired to become a missionary, and Archibald Simpson's Triple Kirks aka the Cathedral of the Disruption. Opposite, on Schoolhill of course is the Cowdray Hall, but was the site of the 13th century Dominican Friary, later the home of Robert Gordon's Hospital for Boys - but before the latter even opened it was commandeered by the Duke of Cumberland's troops as they hunted the Jacobite army during the 45 Rebellion.  

Rosemount Viaduct is studded with weel-kent buildings and statues.  Learn the true history of "Education, Salvation & Damnation" which was once accompanied by "Transportation" in the form of Schoolhill Station.  Find out why Wallace's statue ended up here and not Edinburgh, and why Queen Victoria was not exactly amused with the statue of her late husband, Prince Albert.

To round off the tour, we enter Union Terrace Gardens and discover the early history of the Denburn Valley, its transformation with the coming of the railway, and the memories of the original pleasure garden designed by architect James Forbes Beattie in 1853.  Aberdeen's western border has many stories to tell, some you may never have heard before.  First in a series of "Borderlands" tours - LAUNCHING AUGUST 2017

Starts: Starbucks, St Nicholas Street (near lower gate of the Kirk)
Ends: Union Terrace Gardens
Terrain: pavements

 

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Hidden Aberdeen Tours (founded 2011) is wholly owned by Dr Fiona-Jane Brown as a sole-trading operation which occasionally works with contractors.


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Aberdeen 
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