The Doric Columns
Now much truncated and it led from the Castlegate to Park Street/Albion Street and led down to the Harbour and Footdee was the easiest of gradients available for ingress and egress of commercial goods. This street had been initially called Justice Street (Leading to the Justicairy of Heading Hill) then called Park Lane and ran from Albion Street (Bool Road) to Waterloo Quay between Castlehill and Heading Hill.
The inset picture shows clearly the dogleg of the street and the entrance to the Street Market area is just visible on the left and the rear entrance to the Castlehill Barracks and Gymnasium was on the right
In early times the hollow between the Castlehill and the Heading Hill was but slight, and no bridge was necessary to connect the 2 hills. By lowering the south end of Park Lane, the depth of the gap between the hills was increased, and in 1839 the lane was widened and improved and a Cast Iron Bridge was built over it connecting the 2 Hills. From the Bridge, stone stairs at both ends lead down to the street below, which is now called Commerce Street but formerly Justice Street. The latter name was historically the more appropriate because the Bridge is probably on or near the spot where the Justiciar of the North of Scotland held his Courts. They were usually held in the open air near a small hill or artificial hillock. A Court was held near the Castle in 1299 (" Book of Bon-accord," p. 375). It is from being near the site where the Justiciar's Courts were held that Justice Street derived its name.
Judging by the proximity of the Tollbooth the Castlegate area was clearly greatly extended eastwards. Justice Street, Park Lane were the former names of the Commerce Street later formed between the Castle and Heading Hills. Gordon places the Knights Templar Ruins nearer to the Model Home in East North Street than is otherwise claimed for Justice Street. (See No.8 top left of Gordons Map above)
Parson James Gordon says in 1661 : —
Kennedy's " Annals " says that a branch of the Templars was established in Aberdeen and had a Convent and a Church situated at the East end of the Castlegate, in the lane which was formerly called Skipper Scott's Close, and Dr Alexander Walker believed that the Catholic Chapel of Justice Street had been built upon the site of the Templars' Church.
Before the construction of the Salvation Army Citadel, the Old Record Office of 1789 stood on the site (Inset).
The Mauchlin Tower Site of the Red Friars Monastery - Knights Templar is halfway down Justice Street and is recorded on Milnes map of 1789.
1-7 Justice Street
St Peter´s was the 1st permanent Catholic Church to be erected in Aberdeen after the Reformation. The 3 bay Gothic Church was designed by James Massie and built in 1803. The present building was erected on the site of the 1774 Church. In 1860 the Church closed, although No 2 Chapel Court was used as a Boys´ school and the Church was retained as its Chapel. In 1862, a Colony of Sisters arrived from Hammersmith in 1862 to occupy the Presbytery and the building is indicated on the 1st Edition Map of 1866-8 as a Home for the Aged and Infirm. The Church was closed again in 1872 and finally re-opened in 1880.
This picture is taken from the heights of the tenements in Justice Street (Note the wash-houses in the foreground) and to the left of the Bill Boarded House was the remains of Justice Lane leading to the Model Home for 'Down and Outs'. A Shop within this hoarded building had a fine collection of Toby Jugs in the window and it sold VP (Vine Products) Red Ruby Wine - a cheap un-aged product that would serve to give the Feekie Drinkers a buzz. The Feek drinkers would doss in old abandoned properties and drink anything from Surgical Spirit, Methylated Spirit, Wood Alcohol to strained Brasso and they ingeniously bubbled available town gas into a pint of milk with a tube to induce a hallucinatory state from the absorbed compounds when they drank it. Nothing is new eh compared to those more direct chemicals for junkies of today.
This view from the top of Albion Street (now Beach Boulevard) shows the old McGill saucy seaside card shop on the left Just up from a corner shop and on the opposite corner site of Justice Street was Connon's Gents Hairdresser, where men would congregate for a read of old magazines and chat while waiting for an open razor shave (freshly sharpened on a leather strop) or a
On leaving Castle Street we enter Justice Street, a name which recalls that this street was the way the condemned criminal was often taken to the place of public execution. Justice Street leads to 3 such places, the Heading Hill, on the east side of Commerce Street, opposite the Castlehill, and its name explains the nature of the punishment inflicted there. Between the 2 hills, on the site now occupied by Commerce Street, on the right, during the witch mania of the last decade of the 16th century, about 30 individuals were burned alive here. Of these poor people, mostly women, many were condemned on their own confession of unlawful dealings with the powers of evil. Justice Street also led via Park Street to the Gallow Hill, on the east side of King Street, by way of the Thieves Bridge.
James Ogston, grocer and spirit dealer, 30 Justice Street - c.1874
This open site was used for a regular Street Market every Friday with roving crockery salesmen who would attract and entertain the crowds with their Showman's Patter "Not £10, not £5, Not £1---!" and offer to sell sell a full 2nds Dinner Set for 19s 11d 3 farthings - a farthing short of a Quid. The pitches were marked out with paint and the area served as a car park when not in use as a Market. It was approached from the entrances at the top of Justice Street or mid East North Street and the Model Home buildings can be seen in the background above. This was a good pitch for the Organ Grinder and his suited Monkey. Also the site for the Timmer Market
Organ grinder's swing - a hand cart sight often seen at Street Markets. Note the decorative panels and its protective Tarpaulin.
Allan's Public Supply Stores, 17 Justice Street
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