The Doric Columns
The Lands of Ferryhill had belonged to the Trinity Friars, who feued them out to the powerful Menzies dynasty. After the Reformation of 1560, the Lands of Ferryhill became the property of the Crown.
Dr Patrick Dun purchased the Lands of Ferryhill in 1629 for, it would seem, no other purpose than to bequest them, and all property thereon, by his Will, dated 3rd August 1631, to the ‘Toune of Aberdeine’ for the maintenance of 4 masters at the Grammar School. Dr Dun bequeathed the whole of this extensive property to the Provost, Baillies and Council of Aberdeen for this specific purpose. He directed that the rents obtained from these lands should be invested until enough money accumulated to buy another piece of land sufficient to yield, along with the original gift, a yearly revenue of 1,200 merks, this sum being sufficient to pay the basic salaries of the stipulated staff of 4 masters, including the Rector.
T Francis Douglas even as late as 1728 as amounting to ‘little conical hills over-run with heath and furze … the flat bottoms between them drenched with stagnant water’.
Ferryhill was created from the 1st half of the 19th century in an area occupied by grand villas such as Ferryhill House, Devanha House, Ferryhill Lodge, East bank, Maryfield and Fonthill. Ferryhill Place was set out by Archibald Simpson from the 1830s and was well developed with Aberdeen City Heritage Trust 12 Baseline Assessment Consultation Draft terraced properties by 1866.
At the time a small number of plots were set out in Marine Terrace. By the turn of the 20th century the Terrace was complete. Significant further expansion continued following the Extension Act of 1871. Ferryhill could be considered as one of Aberdeen’s 1st historic suburbs and an important historic residential area of the city. The 1871 Act also saw the City boundary extended to take in North Broadford, Fountainhall, Mannofield and Broomhill. 19th century expansion was predominantly a result of private sector speculation by the Trades and through the Land Association, later the City of Aberdeen Land Association.
John McPherson Acknowledges with his most Grateful Thanks, the liberal measure of Patronage so kindly extended to him since he opened the above Gardens, and respectfully invites Inspection of his large Collection of Greenhouse Plants and Florists' Flowers, as well as his extensive Fruit and Vegetable Gardens, which are open to the Public every lawful day, where orders given for Fruit or Flowers will receive prompt attention. Polmuir being situated within a mile of the centre of the town, on a lovely slope facing the River Dee, near the Ferryhill Railway Station, and having beautiful walks all round, is in every way eminently suited for a Summer Fruit and Flower Garden. J. McP. begs to state that all Orders left at his Stall, No. 165 to 167 (inclusive), Hall of New Market Buildings, on the North Side, near the Fountain, for Fruit, Flowers, or Vegetables, will be executed with the greatest dispatch. Polmuir, 1st June, 1861.
Ferryhill, an exclusive development located above Aberdeen Advocate Captain Arthur Dingwall Fordyce’s 1790’s Dee Village (also known as Potters Creek) and to the south of the Holburn stream.
Dee Village was a self contained little Hamlet at the end of Crown Street. It grew up at the end of the 18th century to provide low cost dwellings for many of the workers in the nearby Pottery and Brickworks in the Clayhills area.
This image was taken in 1898 before demolition to make way for a new Corporation Electricity Power Station at Millburn Street.
The village was built mainly from local brick. The photograph shows the back gardens of the properties with their washing greens. In the centre of the image clothes are lying bleaching on the ground. The water supply for the village was via two lion faced pillar pumps located in the back gardens. Note the prominent roofing tiles and chimney pots which had emanated from the Clayhills Potteries. The Clayhill bricks were re-cycled in the construction of the the Triple Kirks at Schoolhill.
By April 1901, the site of the Dee Village had been completely cleared and the foundations laid for the new Electricity Station. By the end of December 1901, the brick chimney which dominated the surrounding area was complete.
The extreme upper end accommodated the Clayhills Brick Works, giving access to ships bringing coals for the kilns and to barges and lighters taking away bricks and drain pipes. The Clayhills were high steep banks of alluvial clay on the site of Wellington Road, between Portland Street and Affleck Street.
Potters’ Creek is indicated in Milne’s map of 1789 where it appears as a group of about 10 buildings close to the mouth of the Ferryhill Burn, a branch of which provided the power for their wheels. There is no indication when these clay seams were first exploited but the name ‘Clayhills’ is mentioned from at least the late 14th century. Near the burn were ‘banks of laminated clay so steep in the face that sand martins tunnelled long holes in them, where they brought out their young in safety’. Evidence of clay beds was found at 104 South College Street approximately 350m north of the site and clay pits were observed on an assessment at the junction of Affleck Street and Crown Street during a development.
The Aberdeen Pottery was first mentioned in the Aberdeen Journal of 3rd October 1749 where it declares that he manufactured ‘pan-tile and brick as well as brown earthenware’. By 1771 it was reported that John Auldjo was making ‘Cream-coloured, Tortoiseshell, Black and Brown Earthen-Ware, Flower-pots, Water-pipes etc. The site also covers part of the area of the Dee Village built in the 18th century and demolished in the 1890s after it developed into a slum and was bought by the Town Council. In the 1920s it was occupied by the Dee Village Works a steam powered generating station and latterly by Hydro-Electric.
Couperstoun or Cuparston was a small hamlet of artisans, approximately one kilometre south-west of the city centre. Fenton Wyness in City by the Grey North Sea attributes the name to ‘cappers toun’ – hamlet of the cappers, or wooden cup-makers. It may more simply have been 'Coopers’ Town, since a brewery sat opposite on the Hardgate for many years in the 18th century. Whichever derivation is preferred, the community was the home of skilled wood workers. Although Cooperstown was a distinct community, it was only a 15-minute walk along the Hardgate, down Windmill Brae and across the Bow Brig to the Green and the heart of the city.
FERRYHILL TRAM ROUTE - Whinhill
Road to Castle Street.
The Original Brewery was near the Craiglug Ferry
Gordon George & Co. Ferryhill Brewery Aberdeen
Village - from Slums to a Dreaming Spire
Dee Village (also known as Potter's Creek - formerly the Holburn stream before it entered the Dee) on the site covered by the Aberdeen Corporation's Electricity Works, Millburn Street. Dee Village was a self contained hamlet located at the bottom of Crown Street. Originally Dee Village had grown up to cater for the workers of the nearby pottery and brick works in the Clayhills. The photograph was taken in 1898 just prior to the demolition of the complete village to make way for the new electricity station at Millburn Street.
The area of this site has
potential archaeological and historical importance because of its association
over a long period with pottery
is known that bricks, tiles and pottery were manufactured in this area, known as
from at least the 18th century.
It was part of the Harbour improvement scheme that the Inches should be made up far enough to be above the level of the highest spring tides, and to shut up all water ways between the Dee and the Harbour. Of these there were two, one coming in about Commerce Street, and another farther west. The former took often a large quantity of the river water when the tide began to ebb, and the salmon fishers had to be compounded with before it could be shut up. The other was valued by the Brickmakers at Clayhill, because by it they could get coals brought to the works either by the Dee, or by the harbour at spring tides. To satisfy them the pier was carried as far as Poynernook, with a channel alongside.
Alexander Brown and James Chalmers, papermakers Aberdeen
Ferryhill Primary School
with questions or comments about the design
of this web site.