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The Doric Columns


This is a picture of Mounthooly in 1932.  On the right a wee shoppie there with proprieter called Adam & Craigmile.  They were Rose growers and Florists, and they had horticultural nurseries in other parts of the city.  Mitchell & Muil Bakers are also present.  Bairns and grandfathers abound the streets.

Mounthooly - Causewayend - Gallowgate Junction, Aberdeen, 1958 - Ach its a' awa
Looking up Mounthooly it seems where West North Street, Causewayend and the Gallowgate and Nelson Street all met.  My Cousin David lived in the attics top left above the shops.  A bus crushed my back bicycle  wheel on yonder pavement cutting in to MountHooley.  Nelson Street offpicture to the right was where the Globe Cinema used to be - formerly a church.  No doubt the zebra crossing was a blessing for such a dangerous junction.  Doon the West North St brae to Barry Henry & Cook's works.  Left up the road to Causewayend School.

Beyond the Guest Row, the old Gallowgate (road to the gallows) led North out of the city. 

This cobbled 'causey' road split half a mile further on, the main road thereafter winding West, while a North spur climbed the ridge of Mounthooly ('holy hill') where mediaeval monks had once tended the Leper Hospital) on the way to Old Aberdeen via the Spital road. 

Ah, my Geordie nivver stole nor calf nor cow
He nivver injured ony;
Slew sixteen of the King's royal deer
And selt them on Mounthooly



St. Nicholas or East Poorhouse
The St Nicholas Poorhouse stood at the north side of Nelson Street, Aberdeen. In 1847, the Board of Supervision for Relief of the Poor published a model poorhouse plan "originally prepared for the united Parishes of St Nicholas and Old Machar, Aberdeen, and is now about to be erected with some slight modifications, for the Parish of St Nicholas". A bird's eye view of the model poorhouse, designed by architects Thomas Mackenzie and James Matthews, is shown below.


5a Causeway End John McIntosh shop with Tower Cranes at work in the background

St Nicholas Poorhouse Site, 1890s
Model Poorhouse Plan for Town Parishes, 1847

The location of the St Nicholas poorhouse are shown on the 1890s map near the old Lepers Croft. The layout appears to follow the model plan, with the addition of extensions at the far end of each of the main the main wings.  The Aberdeen Canal and subsequently the Railway were nearby. The buildings were sold in 1908 following the opening of Oldmill Poorhouse. The site was later used for St Peter's Roman Catholic School, now demolished

Mounthooley Small Pox Hospital
1872 - 1875 Mounthooly Smallpox Hospital
was a temporary hospital, opened to deal with the smallpox epidemics that afflicted Aberdeen in the early 1870s.  As the managers of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary could not  provide accommodation for the number of inhabitants infected with the disease in December 1871, responsibility fell to Aberdeen Town Council as the local authority under the Public Health (Scotland) Act 1867.  The Town Council opened the Hospital in January 1872 in adapted premises at Mounthooly formerly occupied by the Bon-Accord Chemical Light Company.  The Hospital was placed under the management of the Medical Officer of Health and initially employed 14 members of staff.  The hospital remained in use only during epidemics: from January to August 1872, April to  October 1874, and December 1874 to 16 June 1875.  By the outbreak of the next smallpox epidemic in July 1877 a permanent hospital for infectious diseases, later known as the City Hospital, had been erected by the Town Council.  The temporary hospital buildings at Mounthooly were sold off in 1882.

Up the brae - doon the brae. Aye its a sair trachle!

The Globe Cinema site in 67 Nelson Street Opened 1912 in a former Church and continued till 1940.  The premises were once occupied by Firestone Tyres

Traipsin' aboot nae wye tae ging.

Geordies merely 'gangin' alang the Scotswood Road - tae see the Bladon Races - they have a lot of words in common with Aberdeen born by the migratory paths of the Herring Fleets with the Fish Wifies following the same path on shore all the way down to Great Yarmouth.  Now who hung the monkey in Hartlepool?  A' freckles and red hair doon the east coast.

The Canal
From Kittybrewster onwards the course of the canal coincided with the existing Railway-line to the Harbour, and in the section bordering Elmbank Terrace, where the ground falls noticeably, there were several locks and a lockman's cabin, with a bridge at Canal Road. Close by to the east is Canal Street, communicating with Mounthooly, and at the latter were sited a bridge and the wharf that formed the main goods-depot for the town.  Above Mounthooly Bridge was the milestone for the first mile. Below Mounthooly there was a lock, and at Nelson Street, close by, a bridge and a repair-dock for boats, with a passing-place further on. Between Nelson and King Streets there were two locks; at King Street and at Park Street, bridges; at the Powcreek Burn, probably in or near the City Hospital grounds, a culvert; just above Constitution Street, a lock and at Fish Street, near Albion Street, another, with bridges at both of these streets.

Nelson Lane

I went to school at St Peters in Nelson Street from the age of 5 to 15  where I left in 1956 as Dux, as did Ed Fowler from Hilton Secondary. My school lunch times were spent playing on either on the Broad Hill or on the waste ground behind St Peters which is now the First Bus Group HQ. On the few occasions a classmate had  2d or 3d to spend, and that was not often, we would all become his friend for the day and escort him to the Co-op Baker round at Mounthooly at the bottom of the Gallowgate where he was encouraged to buy a crusty loaf or a bag of 'brokeners' for us all to feast on. Just up the road was the sweetie shop run by Ronald's uncle Bertie Grieg where we often ogled at the display of boiling's but rarely entered preferring the much better value, or rather volume!, for money of the baker. Ron of course went on to learn the art and skill of making 'Soor Plooms'  and 'Humbugs' etc from his uncle. For the uninitiated by the way the brokener's referred to were the many broken biscuit pieces present in the cube shaped biscuit tins of old, before biscuits were protected by corrugated paper card and wrapped in colourful plastic. A tin would probably have held the equivalent of 12 to 15 packs of today's Rich Tea or Digestives, so you will understand that with all the handling of the old days breakages were rather high. In fact that whole junction of Mounthooly, Gallowgate, West North Street and Causewayend was profligated by shops of all sorts, due of course to the extremely high population residing there at that time. Very different today, now a rather barren area with dual carriageway, huge roundabout and industrial units. The vibrant life that existed there long gone and lost forever. - Doug P.

John Knox Kirk  was sited in the angle between Mounthooly and Nelson Street. It has been converted for non-ecclesiastical use within the last few years. Note the street lamp serving as a Bus Stop.

John Knox Church was built at Mounthooly, Aberdeen during the church extension movement in the early 19th century, finished in 1835. The first minister was the Reverend Alexander Philip, a native Aberdonian, as was the second minister, the Reverend John Stephen, inducted in 1838. However, he came out with most of his congregation at the Disruption in 1843, to form John Knox Free Church in nearby Gerrard Street. The parish of John Knox was disjoined from those of Greyfriars, St Nicholas and St Machar as a quoad sacra parish in 1880. The minister at the time was Herbert Bell (1842 - 1887), a popular preacher and instrumental in greatly increasing the size of the congregation. The Sunday School grew so large that a new church hall had to be built in 1885. Though Herbert Bell died young (in tragic circumstances at Kittybrewster Station in Aberdeen), his successor, Henry Ranken, was of the same energetic type and the congregation continued to grow. After a few short but successful ministries another powerful preacher, George A Johnston, was appointed in 1905, and the congregation was further augmented. A new church building in local grey granite was built in 1911. In 1987, the former John Knox (Gerrard Street) Free, United Free, Church of Scotland closed and the congregation united with John Knox, Mounthooly. The congregation united again with Greyfriars Church, Broad Street, in 1997. The 1911 building has now been converted into flats.

David Fowler was a Mounthooligan

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Last modified: 01/09/2013