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The name first appears an official document of 1615, although the lands around were known as the Browster lands in 1376; in 1675 it appeared again as "Kettiebrauster".

It has a Celtic derivation from Cuitan Briste, meaning "broken fold". (Cuitan, dim. of cuit, fold (modern Gaelic (cuidhe); briste, broken.) Usually, folds for cattle had water near them.

Kittybrewster was in the den now called Berryden, which means watery (bùrnach) den.  There is a trading estate in Blyth, Northumberland called Kitty Brewster.



Kittybrewster station opened on 20 September 1854 to serve the Great North of Scotland Railway main line to Keith.  It closed to passengers in 1856 once Aberdeen Waterloo Station opened and Kittybrewster (on the link to the Aberdeen Railway).

The track remains in use as a freight siding for the docks. The station was 19 chains (380m) south of the junction between the main line and the branch line to the docks, near where the A96 Powis Terrace now crosses the line.

Kittybrewster School is in the background.






In 1854 the Great North of Scotland Railway opened a line from Kittybrewster to Huntly. The terminus at Kittybrewster proved inconvenient for the city and for transfers to southbound train services at Guild Street. Therefore the line was extended to Waterloo Quay in 1855, using much of the old Aberdeenshire Canal bed. Once Waterloo Station was opened, Kittybrewster Station was closed in 1856 and was replaced by a station of the same name constructed on the line to Waterloo Station.  In 1864 construction began of a railway line from Kittybrewster through the Denburn valley to a new station at Guild Street. At this time Kittybrewster Station was reconstructed further west on the new line. Locomotive sheds and goods hauling facilities were at this site. This depot became the main workshop of the Great North of Scotland Railway until the works were removed from Kittybrewster to Inverurie in 1898. From 1887 the station was used by the local service of suburban trains that ran to and from Dyce. Trains ran from the Joint Station: as well as calling at Kittybrewster, they stopped at Woodside, Bucksburn, Bankhead and Stoneywood Stations, terminating at Dyce.   In 1923 the Great North of Scotland Railway became absorbed into the Northern Scottish area of London and North Eastern Railway. Little changed on the suburban routes. The development of road traffic saw a decline in railway operations in the 1930's. On the 28th Jan 1937 it was announced in the Press and Journal that after April 1937 the suburban train service was to end. Fourteen stations closed as a result of rivalry from bus services and waning popularity of the train service. Kittybrewster remained open for through traffic and finally closed in May 1968. Current Status: Single railway track. 

Kittybrewster Rail Yard

The Livestock Mart

The roots of ANM Group Ltd trace back to 1870 with the formation of the Aberdeen Cattle and Farm Produce Association Ltd. This organisation differed from other auction companies operating in the area at the time in that it was owned and controlled by farmers.  By a series of judicious takeovers in the early part of the 20th century, the company acquired auction marts throughout Aberdeenshire, Morayshire and Banffshire. In 1931, the company became the Central and Northern Farmers Co-operative Society and extended its range of services to the farming community to include farm auctions and valuations.

Two major acquisitions of rival Aberdeen-based auction companies - Alex Middleton and Sons in 1944 and Reith and Anderson Ltd in 1948 - gave the company control of more than 30 marts throughout the North-east of Scotland and the name was changed again to Aberdeen and Northern Marts.  Further acquisitions included Turriff in 1954, Wick and Thurso in 1962, Elgin in 1968 and Laurencekirk in 1986.  However, with increasing centralisation and better communications, smaller marts gradually became obsolete and today Aberdeen and Northern Marts operate from only 3 major auction centres serving the whole of the North and North-east.  (inset Kittybrewster Toll House)

A major milestone was the opening of the flagship Thainstone Centre in 1990. Widely recognised as the most modern auction complex in Europe, Thainstone Centre was built at a cost of £6 million that was financed from the sale of valuable auction mart sites in the city of Aberdeen and a 30% EEC (now EU) grant.  Thainstone Centre has evolved as the agricultural centre of the North-east and in addition to its extensive auction business - both agricultural and commercial - is home to a range of businesses serving the North-east farming community. banks, accountancy and legal practices and animal feed and agricultural machinery supply companies. The rationalisation of the auction mart business continued through the 1990s with the construction of Caithness Livestock Centre in 1992 and the redevelopment of Elgin Auction Centre in 1995.  (inset laying Tram-lines Kittybrewster)

Aberdeen and Northern (Estates) Ltd, which is now one of the largest land and property agencies in the North-east, and meat processing through Aberdeen Meat Marketing Company Ltd (now Scotch Premier Meat Ltd) which built a new abattoir in Banchory in the mid-1960s. The auction business has also diversified into the vehicle, furniture and antiques markets and pioneered the concept of the electronic auction with the formation of a new subsidiary, Electronic Auction Systems Europe Ltd (EASE) in 1989.  The increasing diversification of the business led to another name change in 1991 when the company became ANM Group Ltd, with Aberdeen and Northern Marts remaining as the core operating division.

The Mart Action in full swing with the Northern Hotel and Astoria Cinema rear in the background adjacent to Central Park - the location for Buffalo Bills Wild West Show

Cattofield Reservoir was constructed in the late 19th century and during the 20th century the site and the surrounding area was developed. The majority of development occurred during the post-war construction boom in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Following a period of stabilisation a modern housing development was constructed during the ‘90s to the south of the site.  The reservoir is now surplus to requirements.


Astoria Cinema with the Mart beyond and Site of the Woodside Fountain now conveniently displaced to Duthie Park

Pig Stampede in Great Northern Road - fine fatted variety run amok causing a fine spectacle and inhibiting the flow of traffic. near Bedford Road.  The No.7 Woodside Tram waits patiently for the Herdsman to regain control.

Origins of Kittybrewster

The name “Kittybrewster “ goes as far back as a document dated 1597. Some have suggested that grain for brewing was grown here in medieval times, accounting for the “brewster” part of the name. Another, more likely explanation, is that it is from a Gaelic name meaning  “stepping stones over a bog” A local poet, William Cadenhead, believed it had been name after a real person, of whom he wrote:-

William Cadenhead (1819–1904), "Kittybrewster"

She sell’t a dram – I kent her fine –
Out on the road to Hilton;
Afore the door there stood a sign,
A hint a lairack beltin’.

The sign to mak’ it bright and gay
Taxed Tinto’s best resources,
An ale-stoup and a wisp o’ hay –
“Farin’ for men and horses.”

Her dram was good, but O, her ale!
“Twas it that did her credit,
Aboon a’ brewsts it bore the bell,
And ‘twas hersel’ that made it;

Just twa-three waughts o’t wi’ a frien’,
Out ower a bargain makin’,
Wad cheer your heart and light your een,
And set your lugs a-cracklin’.

Her yaird had midden-cocks and game,
And mony a cacklin’ rooster;
She was a canty, kindly dame,
They ca’d her Kitty Brewster.

Alas, the change! Houses, like men,
Have just their life to live it;
Kind Kitty’s canty but-and-ben
Is levelled with the divot.

Kate’s brewin’ craft and spotless fame –
For name had e’er traduced her –
We own that Lily Bank we name
Conjoined wi’ Kitty Brewster.

The site of Kittybrewster School stands just outside the ancient town boundary.  Even 50 years before the school was built, Kittybrewster was still largely farm land. It was only in the 2nd half of the 19th Century that Kittybrewster started to grow into the area we know today. Horse Trams meant that people could live further from their work. One tram route ran along Great Northern Road to Woodside.  Work was also available locally with the Railway yard. As people started to live in the area, so new needs were created for shops, such as grocers, shoe menders and chemists.  This in turn created employment  within the area.  By the end of the 19th Century Kittybrewster had grown to a population of 5,000 with neither a church nor a school of its own.  Powis Church at the top of George Street at a junction with Causwayend also known locally as 'Split the Winds' was built to serve Kittybrewster.

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Last modified: 01/09/2013