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Long Acre

Long Acre, from 56 Broad Street to West North Street
Long  Acre
is one of Aberdeen's vanished streets along with Jopps Court, and in fact existed only for around 100 years. It formerly ran from a pend in Broad Street to North Street, parallel to and a little further north than Queen Street and close to the old Greyfriar's Church.  It came into existence (apparently as a bit of private enterprise - the Council was not convinced such a street was needed) in the 1780s and it was built over when the Marischal College was extended and the "new" Greyfriars Church built around 1900.

 You will find it on  Aberdeen Survey 1865-7

Sick Childrens Hospitals -
Long Acre (1877 - 1924)
6-8 Castle Terrace (1877 - 1924)
Westburn Drive (1924 -

Bishop Samuel Seabury (1729-1795) was in fact consecrated to the American Episcopate in "an upper room" of a house in Long Acre, on November 14th 1784 by the Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church approx 500 metres from St Andrews Cathedral in Kings Street. The approximate site of the house used to be marked by a polished granite tablet. This has, in recent years, been moved up the Quadrangle of the former Marischal College.

Former St Andrews Chapel became a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Long Acre
John Skinner built his house in Long Acre in 1776, the 'upper room' of which was used as a Chapel.  A Chapel was built next to Bishop Skinner's house, Saint Andrew's Chapel, where the congregation worshipped for 25 years.  The upper floor of Reverend John Skinner's new dwelling-house in Long Acre was fitted up as a meeting-house. St Andrew's Chapel was opened next to Skinner's house in Long Acre on 13 Sept 1792. This was replaced by a new church in King Street in 1817.

The initiative in forming the Methodist Society in Aberdeen is commonly ascribed to  a Dr. Memyss who, after coming into contact with Methodists in Wales, had settled in  Aberdeen about 1747. It is related that when on a visit to London between 1756 and 1759, Memyss called on John Wesley, requesting that a Methodist preacher should be sent to Aberdeen. In response Wesley sent Christopher Hopper to the City in 1759, and it was there – that the Methodist Society of Aberdeen was formed. Christopher Hopper preached during 1759-60 every morning at five o’clock on the Castle Hill where “often amid stones and dead animals flying around him he invited his persecutors to "flee from the wrath to come”. Support for taking the year 1759 is found in the fact that the Steward’s book shows a special collection to have been mentioned that this collection was handed over to the Magistrates, for what purpose we are not told.) However, whether the Society was, or was not, formed in 1759, it was certainly in existence 2 years later, for on the occasion of his 1st visit to Aberdeen in 1761 Wesley records that he “added about 20 to the little Society”, and that on the following day “20 more came to me, desiring to cast in their lot with us and appearing to be cut to the heart”. Three days later Wesley went on his way, “leaving near 90 members in the Society”. Wesley himself reports preaching “in the Castlegate on the Pavement Stones” one Sunday morning when he was struck by a potato. “I never saw such brutes in Scotland before,” he wrote.  Altogether Wesley visited Aberdeen in 14 different years, on the 1st occasion in 1761, as just mentioned, and on the last in 1790 when he was 86 years of age. The vigorous growth of the Society in these early years no doubt owes much to Wesley’s personal inspiration and by 1770 the membership in Aberdeen was the highest in Scotland.

The 1st meeting place of the Aberdeen Society was in Barnett’s Close, connecting Flour Mill Brae and Guestrow. As most of the property in Barnett’s Close was demolished before the war, it has not been possible to trace this first home of Aberdeen Methodism. In quick succession the Barnett’s Close room was exchanged for a house on the north side of Queen Street and that for one in Lodge Walk.  These all proved too small for the virile Society and in 1764 the erection of a chapel in Queen Street was commenced. Wesley records having preached in the shell of the building in June 1764 before it was completed, and he frequently preached here on subsequent visits. This Queen Street Chapel remained the home of Aberdeen Methodism until 1818. The Aberdeen Public Library possesses a splendid series of three maps of Aberdeen in the 18th century, on 2 of which the Methodist Meeting House (as the Queen Street Chapel is described) is shown very clearly. It stood back from the footpath at the North Street end of Queen Street and was midway between Queen Street and Shoe Lane.  The Chapel appears to have been octagonal. The feu was owned by the Shoemaker Trade.

What more natural, then, than that the Methodists should cast a covetous eye on the vacant St. Andrew’s (1795) in Long Acre. The outcome was that St. Andrew’s was bought, payment of the purchase price of £680 being authorised by the Trustees in Dec. 1818. A condition of the sale was that the Methodists should not use the name “St. Andrew’s”. This is the chapel of which a picture hangs in the minister’s vestry at Crown Terrace. The Methodists had no use for the organ (indeed it was not before the Crown Terrace days that they aspired even to a harmonium!) which was taken out and sold to Gordon’s Hospital. In passing it may be mentioned that Wesley had written of his visit to Gordon’s Hospital in his Journal:–
25th May 1763. “About noon I went to Gordon's Hospital, built near the town for poor children. It is an exceeding handsome building, and (what is not common) kept exceeding clean. The gardens are pleasant, well laid out, and in extremely good order; but the old bachelor who founded it, has expressly provided that no woman should ever be there.”  But the acquisition of the Long Acre chapel was not enough for the doughty Valentine Ward. Although the seating capacity of the old St. Andrew’s was some1000 souls, Ward planned to built an even larger chapel in King Street, near where Summerfield Terrace was later opened up. The acquisition of the Long Acre chapel was looked upon merely as a temporary expedient. Even before the Society had moved into the Long Acre chapel, Ward had already attended a public roup on 31st January 1818 to acquire the King Street feu. which he later renounced

Demolition of Long Acre

Atlas Fire Office - James Blaikie, Advocate, Agent,' 1, Long-acre
Blaikie & Bannerman, Advocates, 1, Long-acre
Thomas Baird, coppersmith, H. 37, Long-acre
John Berry, Mealseller, 10, Long-acre
Misses Gibson, boarding-school, 38, Long-acre
Misses Gray, dressmakers, 31, Long-acre
Alex Imlay, printer, 20, H. 22, Long-acre
John Irvine, shoemaker, 21, Long-acre
James Jamieson, Surgeon, 2, Long-acre
Miss Lumsden, 34, Long-acre
John Mann, Boot and Shoemaker, 12, Long-acre


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Last modified: 01/09/2013