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Mearns Street

Mearns Street (formerly a very narrow Pork Lane). was laid down in 1768 on the reclaimed Shorelands, as were Commerce St., Sugarhouse Lane, Water Lane, Virginia St., James St. and the lower end of Marischal St.  Until then, the waters of the harbour had extended to the foot of the Castlehill at high tide.   The naming of Mearns Street may refers to Lord Provost Daniel Mearns (1895-8).

The waterfront developed from a simple shoreline on the approximate line of modern Virginia Street, perhaps in the 12th century, with progressive reclamation of land southwards over the Centuries which followed. The early map of Aberdeen, by Parson James Gordon, dated 1661, may indicate an interim stage in that process: the approximate area which now lies south of Virginia Street is defined at its southern edge by a pier and is described as ‘drye grounde sometyme overflowed by the Tyde befor the Peer was builded’. By the later 18th century, with increasing development of both Aberdeen’s Harbour and its industry, the area which includes this site was beginning to support warehouse buildings, with Virginia Street being laid out in that same century. Regent Quay appears on 18th century maps such as those of George Taylor and Alexander Milne, but was not named as such until the mid 19th Century.

Mearns Street snow clearance with Buyers Ships Chandlers premises on both sides of the street junction then with Regents Quay - Banks of Ythan Pub and Water Lane adjacent thereto.  The Building on the corner was a former pub before Buyers took it over.

Mearns Street was the site of the ineptly named Seaman's Mission a Sailors' Home and Restaurant. 25 Mearns Street. Just round the corner on the left. Architect: James A Souttar. 1895.  The son of William Souttar, of Edenville, Aberdeen, Souttar worked in Gothenburg (1863) and Stockholm (1863-6), in Sweden, and his works there include The English Church at Wallingatan in Stockholm, 1865–66, later moved to Diplomatstaden.  Other buildings that takes place in Souttar's portfolio was the St. Nicholas Congregational Church (1854) in Belmont Street, the Municipal Buildings (1895) and the Salvation Army Citadel (1893).  In 1898, Souttar became the founding president of The Aberdeen Society of Architects

Mearns Street was a wide link road to the Regents Quays from Virginia Street.

The North West corner of the junction between Mearns St and Regent Quay near the old Seaman's Mission. A series of linear trenches covering all parts of the proposed development were excavated down to  natural sand.  One significant archaeological feature was revealed towards the South of the site. The feature was identified near the surface of the demolition level as a number of long granite blocks (lintels) up to 1.5m in length. A number of these lintels were removed to reveal a subterranean channel (0.70m wide) running for 16m East to West across the site. The walls of the channel were of substantial (up to 0.60m thick) dry stone granite construction; these supported the lintels and descended to a depth of 2.05m. The eastern (Mearns St) end of the channel was linked to the main sewer by a series of ceramic outflow pipes of Victorian date. The feature almost certainly dates from this period and would appear to be a robust example of wastewater management.


Buyers - Ships Chandlers on Regents Quay at the corner of Mearns Street formerly a narrow Pork Lane.
Suppliers of all things shipboard and Sheetmetal Fabricators from the turreted shopfront.  The windows heald many artcles useful for the small trawlers and visiting Coasters.
Next door was a pub called the Banks of Ythan after the NE river and Snuffy ivy was a regular customer trapping likely tricks by way of foreign 'seamen' so to speak.
Provided David Fowler a local Torry Lad with a fine apprenticeship in sheetmetal work.  Formerly he was a Mounthooligan from Nelson Street.

Mearns Street formerly Pork Lane - berth of the Seaman's Mission and mony a Backie tae climb o'er ran parallel to James Street.

Note the Water Hydrant or Wallie for dispensing water to thirsty dockers, wee bairns, Shire Horses or dogs.  - the universal fountain of 20th Century Aberdeen Streets.  Most had a ;lions head spout on the front and a central top drinking fountain.  A cast iron obelisk of a substantial strength Round gripper handle each side which operated a cam to release the water flow up or down.  Quarter turn forwards to wash your wellies or fill a bucket from the lions mouth spout   Quarter turn backwards for upward flow to provide the drinking fountain on top, The water drained beck into the perforated head and always a brander in front for drainage. Delightfully functional and sorely missed but may survive in Elgin.

An old tenements existed on the east corner of Mearns Street and Virginia Street and as bairns we were able to hire bicycles from an enterprising Tenant for 3d per hour - these were fabricated from old frames or spares and perhaps stolen bikes.  Fun for those who could not reflect his powers of assembly until much later in life - brother Jack was a kind of apprentice to him for free rides was adept at cycling and the 1st to own a bike in our family.  A tiny cafe in Virginia Street would sell hot Scotch Pie and Beans for 6d in a wee 'sittie doon' and this was a meal fit for a King ,

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Last modified: 01/09/2013