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Investigating the origins of Rosemount, Aberdeen's Victorian suburb and its predecessor, Gilcomston

Ogee Gables in Mackie Place sm


Rosemount was named after a little mansion house on the edge of Gilcomston, the ancient industrial borderlands of the city.  Once home to Gillecoaim, Celtic chief who had his motte and bailey castle in the area of Mount Street, this independent space would finally be bought up by the council in the late 17th century.  The old industries soon disappeared under the Edwardian tenement blocks including the Gilcomston Brewery, Strachan's Mill and the weavers' houses of Northfield Place.  But the landscape forced the developers to get creative!  The watersheds of Denburn and Westburn were employed in driving those mills and their successors, creating the Gilcomston Lade and Dam.  Even before this, 18th century citizens enjoyed the many spring wells of the area including Carden Haugh and St John's.  

Rosemount became home to the Grammar School when it was forced to move out of its original tiny premises in Schoolhill, but before that there were schools in Skene Square and Esslemont Avenue, namely Dr Brown's School (forerunner of Skene Square School) and the Rosemount Parish School, now the community centre.  As the tenements went up, the open landscape disappeared, hiding delights like Mackie Place and the Galleries, a curious cul-de-sac still in existence today. 

Today's colourful shops on Rosemount Place represent the final taming of Gilcomston, which had been improved by far-sighted landowners, the same who built all the mansions, like Cherryvale, Fountainhall, Park House, etc. Ending the tour near Farmers' Hall, a wee reminder of the area's industrial heritage, we reveal the site of the original Rosemount House, now hidden behind a Victorian tenement, but still there, though much changed from its Georgian past.

Start: The Cult of Coffee, Esslemont Avenue
End:  Rosemount Place/Farmers' Hall
Length: TBA
Terrain: pavements and some grassy areas which may be slippy / not suitable for disabled

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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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