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

 Gallowgate park

Gallowgate is first mentioned in 1350, making it one of our oldest streets.  The road to the early medieval gallows which stood on the highest point of the city, Gallowgate was the old road north to Aberdon and the Brig o' Balgownie.

Not one single building from those early times survives, but this tour aims to bring them back into focus from Mar's Castle, built for John Erskine, 2nd Earl of Mar in 1565, to the grand mansion of Professor Gilbert Gerard which stood on Seamount Place from 1787 to 1905.  Dominating the Porthill was the factory of the same name, established in 1750 as one of the city's earliest manufacturers of fine linen thread, serving later as a china works, last owned by William Kitson and demolished in 1960.

The Territorial Free Church was the first "planting" of a new kirk in the area, it would later become the Porthill United Free church, standing opposite Innes Street.  The hidden gem that is St Margaret of Scotland Episcopal Church was built in 1870 by the priest's son, Ninan Comper.  The old Middle School and its playground would replace much of the earlier tenements at the junction with Littlejohn Street, which was home to Blaikie's Plumbing Works. 

On the Loch Street side, stood McKinnon's Ironworks and Soapy Ogston's Candle & Soap Factory long before Aberdeen College appeared in the early 1960s.  The Blue Lamp was once the Shepherd's Rest, providing refreshment for the factory workers.  The seediest slum in Aberdeen, the Vennel marked the top end of Littlejohn Street and the way to the Tannery, which stood on the site of an even earlier medieval tanning works.  St Paul's Episcopal Church and School and the Norco HQ filled the bottom end of the street with Henry Gray's drapery marking the corner with Schoolhill and Broad Street, which later became the university union.  A fascinating insight into a truly lost part of the city.

Starts: Outside NESCol Gallowgate
Ends:   Marischal Square
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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