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Flourmill Brae

This commemorates the site of the Royal Burgh of Aberdeen’s Upper Mill.

The Mill, fed by the Mill Burn, stood half way up Flourmill Brae on the left from the 13th century until 1865. The Mill not only provided wheat, rye and malt for the Burgh but also revenue through the lease.  The Burn went on to drive the Mid Mill in Hadden Street area and possible the Lower or Tarnty Mill.  At the rear of the Equitable was Flourmill Lane which ran from the Upperkirkgate Port, past Flourmill Brae to the Netherkirkgate Port.  This map which depict the Mill in an open space between the Dubbie Raw and Flourmill Lane The Dubbie Raw ran from a point near the Dyer's Hall in the Netherkirkgate to Schoolhill at the North Style or Gate of St Nicholas long before St Nicholas Street existed.

Netherkirgate Port
The original course of the Upper Mill Burn after crossing Upperkirkgate had been southward across the top of Flourmill Brae, a little west of Flourmill Lane, and across Netherkirkgate at its lowest part. The point called Wallace Neuk had no existence till Sir Robert Keith of Benholm built his house between Carnegie's Brae and Netherkirkgate about the end of the 17th century. The Netherkirkgate Port was 1 of the town's 6 Ports (lockable gates) in this sense the term port derives from the French 'porte' for door and was located between the 'little' Bow Brig over the Mill Burn and the end of Flourmill Lane.  

The Upper Meal Mill
Before 1394 the Netherkirkgate Mill had given place to another situated in what is now known as Flourmiil Brae, then outside the Town. One reason for transferring the Netherkirkgate Mill to a lower site must have been the possibility of bringing to this new place a supply of water from the Denburn by a Mill Lade or Lead branching off along Leadside Road at the old Gilcomston Dam. The water brought by this lade joined the united Spital Burn and Westburn in Maberly Street, and flowed east along Spring Garden into the long dam at the top of what is now Loch Street.   Emerging from the south end of the dam at
the Loch E'e the Mill burn flowed along Burn Court and across Upperkirkgate to the Upper Mill in Flourmill Brae. Leaving it the water ran across the lowest part of Netherkirkgate, across St Nicholas Street, St Nicholas Lane, Union Street, East Green, and passed under the New Market. Then it crossed Hadden Street diagonally and drove the Nether Mill on the West side of the street, and afterwards entered the Denburn at Trinity Street. Probably there had at 1st been only one mill on the burn, but in 1525, if not before, the Nether Mill had been erected near Hadden Street. Originally the Upper Mill was only a Meal Mill. Latterly mill stones for grinding wheat were added, driven by the same wheel as those of the Meal Mill. The Upper Mill continued to work till 1865.

Flourmill Brae
At its junction with Flourmill Lane.  The description on this photograph appears to be correct with its orientation as the Lane crosses the Brae.  Older buildings running in the direction of Flourmill Lane are being demolished to give access to Provost Skene's House outline stands in the background. 

Workmen employed in digging for the foundations of a new building near the Flour Mill found a large basin full of coins at a depth of 10 feet below road level. They are mostly of the coinage of Edward I of England and Alexander III of Scotland. So ignorant were the persons who found them of their value that they sold a great many of them to the bystanders at a rate of 4 for a penny.  Aberdeen Chronicle 14 November 1807.
 

 

Flour Mill Lane
The Mill, fed by the Mill burn, stood nearby from the 13th century until 1865.

This image shows at the left hand side, a massive stone coffin built into the wall which stood for many years at the back of Tenements in Flourmill Lane. It was brought to the public's attention in 1926 when the area was subject to the Town Council's Slum Clearance scheme. The coffin consisted of granite slabs blackened and cracked through time. It was 5’-6” long, 2 ft wide and 2 ft deep. The sides and ends were held together by iron clamps and the lid was cemented on. The belief was that the coffin contained the remains of Mary Bannerman, one of the Bannermans of Elsick and married to George Leslie, Laird of Findrassie, near Elgin who died in 1692. However when the coffin was eventually opened it was empty apart from black earth. It was suggested that the slabs may have protected her coffin at some time and that the actual coffin and her remains had been removed to 1 of the City's graveyards

St Nicolas Street Resrvoir
Having lost the Denburn supply by removing the connecting water pipe, the only thing the Commissioners could do was to make the best use of the supplies they had. To economise on the low course, which ran to waste during the night, a Reservoir was erected in 1821 at the Police Tax Office, then in St Nicholas Street, north of Flourmill Brae.

 


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Last modified: 01/09/2013