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Beach Fun Fair

Sea Beach
As the Trams Destination stated - as if it were ever found anywhere else?

Aberdeen's best recreation ground, will always remain the Links, a stretch of velvety sward and broken sandhills (the highest, Broad Hill, 94 feet), which, 410 acres in area, extends for 2 miles along the fine level sands. Here are the battery, lifeboat house, bathing station, and golf club house: and here, too, cricket and football are played, cattle shows and wapenshaws held, as well as autumn horse races on Queens Links, revived in 1876.

 

Artistic Licence abounds here in the oldest poster and very poor perspective for the knowing eye. 

The Beach Ballroom stands like a giant Marquee and the artists viewpoint (Peter Simpson?) is from the Broad Hill which then was alive with ascending Larks with nests aside the very path seen here.  the wartime Nissen huts have yet to arrive but sport courts are in use  and the much reduced Beach Shelter and other buildings adorn the upper promenade.  The strange mound is a mystery with a giant python wrapped round it and disappearing towards Constitution Street like the Loch Ness Monster..

The North Pier Lighthouse is accurate as is Girdleness but the seamost navigation light is well out of proportion.  The large central building the Bath House is a fading memory.  The Linkside Road is below the Broad Hill is accurate but never open to through traffic in my day.  The Broad Hill was a grand location for sea breezes and flying paper Kites on a 'pern' of thread with strings of bows for a tail.  Yet the Fairground at the far end of Queens links looks like a small town but was seasonal in its day and always temporary fairground structures.  It later had a permanent enclosure for the equipment and operators caravans.

Such advertising was directed at rail passengers probably from large conurbations like Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh judging by the suggested route and bridges.  The distant hills of Balnagask and Torry are overstated and were known locally as the Gramps where gorse and Blay Berries grew.- the true Grampians were further inland.

Aberdeen Beach

The 'Silver City' is as yet without its couplet 'with the Golden Sands' and this looks to be a bit sparse for population of sun worshipers by the nature of the day portrayed.  

Dingies Bathing Tents and old Victorian bathing machines painted white here but they were always green.  Beach Kiosks parasols and deck chairs and essential wind breaks could be hired for a few pence and the were stacked and distributed all over the beach from strategic locations - none of which are apparent here. 

The Lower and upper proms were separated by grassed areas which were replaced regularly as the surfs salt spray would kill the grass during stormy weather within a season.  They were replaced regularly by turfs which gave a wee lad a nice mat to slide doon the sloping granite sections an dyst intae the sand. 

The arcade structure on the upper prom adjacent to the Beach Shelter is interesting as it seems to be what was the Bathing Station adjacent to the location of the Beach Baths and featured Turkish Baths.  The bathing station, which stood on the esplanade, pre-dated the Ballroom and is depicted but it appears to have been reduced in parts.  The Bandstand on the links is evident as is the Beach Ballroom which was operated by the Council and had many fine bands booked regularly.  Harry Gold and his Pieces of Eight, Joe Daniels Band, Ted Heath, Johnny Dankworth Orchestra but clearly not during this era.  The Distant Hills are again overstated and the Salvation Army Citadel is out of place on this imaginary viewpoint of artist Frank Sherman?

Artist (M A Watson?) C1928  seems to be from the same school of perspective licence in this rendition which announces the Arrival of the Tram Service to the beach, so perhaps that is why it is a little busier with super giants basking on the near shoreline. 

It portrays the chaotic management of personal possessions on a beach.  These had to be guarded by the the oldest member of the the family if you were to indulge in paddling or swimming in the freezing waters of the North Sea. 

A huge block factory like building occupies the Beach Baths site again but I remembered that was a very low profile building set underground with the main Boiler House building above, the swimming bath was below ground under low skylights further to the left.  The Bandstand is in evidence and maybe Punch and Judy performances in front. Added are the Public Recreation Facilities, Bowling Green and Tennis Courts yet the trams came in on tight rail routes and they are scattered regardless of tramlines. 

The diagonal sloping paths to the beach for the prams and infirm are accurate but these were lined with cast iron balustrades.  They led up to the Aluminium Labelling machine which was fun to use for swearing silently. Punching each letter on an arrow dial with a lower Trigger Lever. The Broad Hill is conveniently flattened to give a suggestion of the extent of the city and the continually overstated distant hills are more subdued.  The main entrance to the Beach Ballroom is quite accurate.  Pittodrie Football Ground and its Giant Gasometer are conveniently out of site.

LMS gets a mention so the net was cast wider for holidaymakers..

Mind where ye pit yer feet ma mither’s ashes are ebbing and flowing there!

This view is now looking towards Footdee and the opposite way from the second poster.  However the non existent hills appear to have been copied but moved to remain centre stage in this one. The purple of the hills meant to suggest Deeside, and the curious tidal area in the foreground are awful.  Presumably it is meant to be wet sand or even rocks, but maybe not the latter as somebody is playing with a ball on them. The poster artist of course may have been required to use bold unreal colours which would fade with time and weather when exposed to sunlight. - R A B Sim donator of the images and collector of these posters.  Department P for Pesh!  Blue remembered hills indeed.

The beach shading may have been meant to reflect the damp strand and the changing colour of the dry sand beneath clouds as the silica fairly shone in full sun and darkened as clouds covered the source of Ultraviolet Rays.  These could fairly burn the unwary freckled faced, ginger heided race that evolved at this latitude (57 Deg North) to extract essential vitamins from the infrequent sunshine impinging on pale skin.  Milk Bottle legs also abound in the community.  Spot the Ba?  Half the size of a Lady!

The orientation of the City outline fairly moved around for the convenience of a nice enticing but inaccurate view that could not possible feature the prominent and ever present Gas & Chemical works that polluted the original ozone laden atmosphere with foul and sulphurous odours.  To say nothing of the racket of riveters on steel hulls in the shipyards on weekdays.  No Breakwaters or Groynes either to clutter up the beach.  These were embellished with shallow pools of sea life for the bairns to catch crabs while their fathers perhaps did the same from other more convenient if discreet sources.  Blue Remembered Hills - my aerse! - Nae Broad Hill either - Ed

57deg 9' North - 54F ambient temperature an we were a’ plottet! (Overheated)

More typical with Aberdeen Smog present in the early 1900's when sea defences were minimal and the Baronial Bathing Station with echoes of the Tower of London is all prominent as are seasonal grass Turfs which never rooted.

 

Sports Area 1937

Beach concrete Tank defences were a feature of the Proms long after the war had ceased.


Beach Groynes

File:AberdeenEsplinade.jpg

A Groyne creates and maintains a wide area of beach or sediment on its updrift side, and reduces erosion on the other. It is a physical barrier to stop ‘sand transport’ in the direction of longshore drift. This causes a build-up, which is often accompanied by accelerated erosion of the downdrift beach, which receives little or no sand from longshore drift (this is known as terminal groyne syndrome, as it occurs after the terminal groyne in a group of groynes). Groynes do not add extra material to a beach, but merely retain some of the existing sediment on the updrift side of the groynes. If a groyne is correctly designed, then the amount of material it can hold will be limited, and excess sand will be free to move on through the system. However, if a groyne is too large it may trap too much sand, which can cause severe beach erosion on the down-drift side.


The Beach Kiosk for sale of transient needs from postcards, sweets, snacks,  and newspapers to Tobacco (Players Please) - it appears the be built onto the Victorian Brick Bath Boiler Room and a Ghost of the previous surface level Turkish Bath House is apparent on the side of the main structure.   These facilities were clearly outdated and in poor demand by the locals or seasonal visitors of the Victorian Ozone and Spa Era.

Motor Bikes, Cars and Telephone Kiosks indicate the later advances in technology between eras.  Kiosk Shutters are stacked adjacent with which to bar the windows from vandals and inclement weather.  baronial Turrets are a tribute to past structural glory of former and some surviving more permanent Aberdeen buildings.


THE MINE
My cousin and I were inseparables and got up to all sorts of adventures . . . all to do with challenging our own defences. Granny lived down by the shore in Fittie (Footdee). The beachfront was lined with ack-ack guns and layer upon layer of barbed wire. On one memorable day we managed to squirm our way through the wire and made our way up the beach. And what did we find? A German sea-mine washed up on the sands.  We'll get rid of it, we decided. We dug a deep trench with our hands, built up a sand wall and then started to lob stones in order to detonate the mine. We'd been trying, unsuccessfully, for about ten minutes when we were grabbed from behind by a couple of khaki-clad figures armed with bayoneted rifles. We were frog-marched up to the Aberdeen Beach Ballroom, which had been requisitioned to house hundreds of troops.  We were given a massive telling off and then served with tea and buns!  But as we were escorted out, I was kicked in the backside and told: "Tell naebody that you got through the wire!"

HOME GUARD
We cycled the 20 miles to Collieston, a wonderful, wee, rock-bound North-east harbour. We were going fishing. But …. barbed wire again. Not to be thwarted, we wriggled yet again through the wire, snagging our jumpers time and again. I was just about to throw my line into the water when …. BANG! BANG! bullets ricocheted and splinters flew off the rocks around us.  We dived for cover.  "Hae you twa!  Fit div yae think ye're dae-in?  Get ye'r han's up!"  There they were, two members of the local Home Guard, armed with bayoneted rifles, and they had fired them!  Hands up, we clambered with great difficulty over the rocks to give ourselves up. I was booted in the backside and was given the message: "Dinna tell onybuddy that you got past us!"

 

Nay wye tae ging so we'll bide here!


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Last modified: 01/09/2013