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Newspapers in Aberdeen

Aberdeen had 1 daily and 3 weekly newspapers. The Aberdeen Journal, established in 1748; was the oldest newspapers north of the Forth.

The origin of periodical records of passing events, subsequently known by the general name of Newspapers, is enveloped in much obscurity, any attempt to remove which would involve not a wide departure. The Acta Diurna, said to have been published at Rome in the time of Julius Caesar, may be placed in the same category with the Newspapers of later and present times.  In England, the 1st attempt at the establishment of Newspapers, of which there is undoubted evidence, seems to have been made about the beginning of the 17th century. We hear of "News from Spain," in 1611; "News out of Germany," in 1612, etc. etc. These occasional pamphlets of intelligence soon became regular periodical publications, such as Butler's "Courant, or Weekly News from Foreign Parts," published in 1621. Between this period and 1665, upwards of 350 various publications of this kind are said to have appeared, none of which, however, were long-lived. On the 7th of November of the latter year the present London Gazette was established. Of English provincial newspapers, still existing, the oldest is the Stamford Mercury, established in 1695. The parent of the Irish Press is the Dublin Evening Post, 1st published in 1725. In regard to Scottish Newspapers, we find that the 1st published in this country was, "A Diurnal of some Passages and Affairs," printed in London, and reprinted in Leith in the year 1652. It lived about a year. The 1st newspaper written, printed, and published in Scotland, was the Mercurius Caledonins, edited by Thomas Sydserf, son of the Bishop of Orkney. It appeared weekly, commencing on the 31st of December 1660, and expiring on 22d March 1661. In 1718 appeared the Edinburgh Evening Courant. In 1720 the Caledonian Mercury. The oldest paper published in Glasgow, is the Glasgow Journal, which first appeared in 1713. Since incorporated with the Scotsman.

The 1st Scottish newspaper published beyond the Forth was the Aberdeen Journal, the first number of which appeared on Tuesday, the 5th of January 1748. The paper has since regularly appeared every week, although the day of publication has been occasionally changed to suit the convenience of the time. The original printer, publisher, and proprietor of the Journal was Mr. James Chalmers, father of the late, and great-grandfather of the present, proprietor. Mr. Chalmers was a son of the Rev. James Chalmers, originally minister of Dyke, in Morayshire, and afterwards Professor of Divinity in Marischal College, and one of the Ministers of the City. To these offices he was appointed in the year 1725, and died in 1745. His son, Mr. Chalmers, learned the art of printing under the City and University Printer, Mr. James Nicol, who succeeded his father-in-law, Mr. John Forbes, in these offices, in the year 1710. Between this year and 1705, the period of Mr. Forbes's death, the business was carried on by his widow, Margaret Cuthbeard. Mr. Forbes became printer to the City and University, in the year 1662, on the death of Mr. James Brown, who had held those offices from the year 1649, being the immediate successor of Edward Raban, the 1st printer in Aberdeen, or the North of Scotland.  

In the year 1621 a patent was obtained from King James, by Bishop Patrick Forbes, and Sir Paul Menzies of Kinmundie, Provost of Aberdeen, for establishing printing in this City.  In consequence of this patent, Mr. Edward Raban quitted St. Andrews, and settled here in 1622, having been appointed printer to the City and University. From the specimens of his works still extant, he appears to have been no mean master of his art, although then in its comparative infancy in this country. Latterly, Raban appears to have opened a shop at the south end of Broad Street, under the quaint designation of the "Laird of Letters." He appears to have established his printing office in what was then a new house, belonging to the Corporation, situated on the north side of what was then Castle Street, its south front being a few feet in rear of the back wall of Archibald Simpson's North of Scotland Bank between King Street and Lodge Walk. The lower part of this building is said to have been originally occupied as a Meat Market, the upper-floor as a dwelling-house for the Printer, while in the attic floor was his Printing Office. In this ancient tenement the Journal was printed. There was "Chalmers' Stair," which the learned and ingenious Skinner celebrates as the means of conducting him to an interview with visitor Robert Burns.  Mr. Chalmers died in 1764, and was succeeded by his son, Mr. James Chalmers, as Printer to the City and University. An excellent scholar and a thorough master of his business, Mr. Chalmers had previously been employed at Cambridge in printing various works for the University there; and, a vacancy occurring in its printership, he was a candidate, and lost the appointment, I believe, by an adverse majority of only 1 vote. On succeeding to his father's business in Aberdeen, Mr. Chalmers continued to publish the Journal, and to print various classical and other works with much approbation and success for many years. He died in 1810.  About the year 1798 the printing office was removed to a building in the rear of the Town House, and which had been originally erected for the purposes of a ribbon manufactory. In 1814 the office was removed to premises in Adelphi Court.  The Journal, was commenced in 1748 ; but it would appear that its Proprietor, who had been in business as City and University printer for some years previously, had published in 1746 a broad-sheet, in some respects claiming the character of a newspaper, as it contained an account of the Battle of Culloden, and other transactions of the day. Mr. Chalmers was a staunch loyalist, and had a commission in the Commissariat Department of the Royal Army.  This employment, so incompatible with his professional pursuits, compelled his temporary absence from Aberdeen, and probably interrupted the publication of a periodical, which he intended to be continuous. His account, however, of the Battle of Culloden, coupled, it maybe presumed, with statements unfavourable to the cause of the Pretender, rendered him so offensive to the adherents of that unfortunate Prince, that a party of them, coming to Aberdeen, beleaguered the worthy Journalist in his own office, whence he was fortunate enough to secure his retreat by a back window, and thus escaped their vengeance!  We may here mention that the success which seems to have attended Mr. Chalmers' paper induced Mr. Francis Douglas and Mr. William Murray to establish a printing office in Aberdeen in 1752, and to publish, on the 3rd of October of that year, a weekly newspaper called the Aberdeen Intelligencer, which ceased on the 22d of February 1757. About the year 1770 a weekly paper was established by Mr. John Boyle, and continued for a year or 2. Other attempts of the same kind seem to have been made last century, but they all failed ; the truth being that the Journal was in pre-occupation of a field where there was then no scope for another Newspaper. It was not until 1806 that the Aberdeen Chronicle was published by a worthy and venerable citizen, Mr. Booth. The increase of population, and various other circumstances, have induced the publication of several local newspapers in this and adjoining counties; proofs of the advancing spirit of enterprise which distinguishes the present times. Among these, are particularly mentioned Aberdeen Observer, as having made much exertion to improve the art of reporting, and to stimulate the literary character of the local press. To the establishment of the other existing newspapers in this quarter, it is unnecessary particularly to advertise.

Nov 1745 Jacobite Rebellion - James Chalmers is fled for it, refusing to print any more of their declarations. I am afraid we shall have no more of his news schedules.  Probably handbills containing the news of the day. They were succeeded in 1748, by the Aberdeen Journal, printed by Mr. Chalmers, being the 1st newspaper in Scotland of the Forth.

Poor Chalmers, the printer, is from home, not yet able to walk on his strained leg he got jumping a window to escape the ruffians, Saturday was 8 days. This last night they have committed great outrages in his house, breaking open an outer door, when not let in, setting fire to an inner door, and, when let in, scattering his types, searching his house, burning papers, and breaking presses and drawers.

The 1st number of the Journal was a small folio of 4 pages, containing in all about 200 square inches of letterpress. The price was 2d for each number. For advertisements the charge was 2s. 6d. for the 1st time, and 2s. for each time afterwards.  It contains no introductory address other than the fashion of our times; but at the end of the paper there is a Nota Bene, requesting those who may be good enough to "encourage" the undertaking, to transmit their names and places of abode. Country subscribers were to receive the paper by the 1st post or carrier. The 1st number is almost entirely occupied with foreign news, without any reference to domestic politics or local occurrences. It contains one advertisement, which is as follows :

"That on the 20th of March last [i.e. in 1747] were amissing 3 promissory notes of the Aberdeen's Company, one for .10, and two for 20s. each; and of the Bank of Scotland, two for 20s. Whoever brings them to the publisher of this paper shall have 2 guineas reward, and no questions asked."

At what precise period this Bank was established has not been ascertained. The partners seem to have been Provost Mowat, Messrs. Elphinston, Osborne, and Brebner; about the year 1755 these parties are advertising the winding up of the concern.

At the conclusion of the 1st year of the Journal, the proprietor seems to have been very well pleased with its success a feeling to which he gives expression in the following address to his encouragers:- "
My grateful thanks for all your favours past,
Which, pray, continue, this year as the last,
From every post, impartially I'll cull,
Whatever is not trifling, false, or dull;
And tho' no more you must expect to hear
Of Cities stormed, and Castles blown in air
The fruits of peace, of concord, and of joy,
And happier events shall the press employ

Taking a saunter through the columns of the earlier numbers, we discover the following among the most interesting of the notabilia. On the 1st December 1748 we find an advertisement by Mr. David Dalrymple, Sheriff-depute of Aberdeen, and afterwards Lord Westhall, prohibiting the wearing of the Highland Dress, under the penalty of imprisonment for 6 months. Nevertheless, among the domestic occurrences are several, stating that so many parties had been brought from this or that quarter and lodged in gaol for this very offence.

In another part of the volume we find the announcement of the 1st great and beneficial change which was introduced by the Senatus of Marischal College into the curriculum of study in that seminary. In connection with this institution, it is interesting to find the record of the 1st literary triumph of the Author of the Minstrel: " On Tuesday, April 10th, 1750, the Premium given by Principal Blackwell towards the end of the session to the best scholar of his 1st class, was, after a severe trial, adjudged to James Beattie, (1705-1803) from Laurencekirk.* The trial was an analysis of part of the 4th Book of the Odyssey, and the students were close locked up while they wrote it.  There seems to have been at all times a Poets Corner in the Journal. In No.58 is a piece on the death of the famous Lochiel, who, on the defeat of the Pretender, retired to France, accepted a commission in the French Army, but soon died. The poet, after lauding his character, and mildly relating his politics, thus concludes :

Compelled by hard necessity to bear
In Gallia's bands a mercenary spear!
Yet heaven, in pity to his honest heart,
Resolved to snatch him from so poor a part.

To cure, at once, his spirit and his mind,
With exile wretched, and with error blind,
he mighty mandate unto death was given,
And good Lochiel is now a Whig in heaven."

(Beattie must have been then only 14 years old)

Aberdeen Journal newspaper office Aberdeen 1748-82
Over the Flesh-Market Gate, back of the New Inn 1783
Mrs Nelson's Close, East end of the New Inn, Castle Street 1786
Adelphi Court 1813-23
24 Adelphi Court, Union Street 1824-34
25 Adelphi Court, Union Street 1835-
Owned by the Chalmers family until 1876. Aberdeen's first newspaper.

ABERDEEN NEWS ROOMS news room Aberdeen
2 St Catherine’s Wynd 1846-48

Newspapers in Aberdeen.
  Aberdeen Free Press (Daily) 30 Union Street
  Evening Gazette ( do. ) 30 Union Street
  Daily Journal { do. ) 18, 22 & 24| Broad Street
  Evening Express ( do. ) 18, 22 & 24^ Broad Street
  Northern Advertiser (Tuesdays and Fridays) 105 King Street
  People's Journal (Aberdeen Office) (Weekly) 26, 28 & 30 Market street
  Weekly News (Aberdeen Office)       ( do. ) 14 Adelphi
  Aberdeen Catholic Herald (Friday) ( do. ).
  Institute of Journalists.
  Aberdeen and North-East of Scotland District.
  Chairman — Joseph Dunbar, " Huntly Express."
  Vice-chairmen— T. P. Gill, "Free Press." and W. M. Caird,   " People's Journal ".
  Delegate to Council and Orphan Fund — George Hendry, "Free Press".
  Hon. Treasurer — Victor Mitchell, "Aberdeen Journal".
  Hon. Secretary— W . Milne Gibson, "Northern Figaro," 8 Gaelic lane.

We find some intimation of the sort of education young ladies used to receive, in an advertisement from Miss Isobel Garioch, in which she announces her having opened a boarding school for young ladies, "where they are to be trained to all accomplishments, including the first principles of genteel behaviour and good address, white and coloured seam, and washing and dressing after the best manner." Some of these accomplishments would be reckoned rather homely now-a-days, but they seem not in the least to have impaired the charms of the young ladies some 2 centuries ago, repeated proof of which is seen in the announcements of their marriages. Thus we find that such a one married

"a young lady of great beauty, and possessed of all the amiable virtues that can render happy the nuptial state." Another gentleman is fortunate enough to make himself the husband of " a young lady of distinguished beauty, virtue, and merit."  Even of old folks entering the married state most honourable mention is made. Thus, " a venerable couple were married at Old Deer ; the man was 76 and the woman 73, having only five teeth betwixt them both, yet they re-entered the connubial state with as much vigour and warmth as the decline of life could possibly admit of." Moreover, " a venerable, well-meaning couple in the Parish of Bellie, warmed with a feeble ray of their declining sun, in spite of old age and its attendants, boldly ventured on lawful wedlock the man 96, and the woman 70, years of age. The same week the contagion spread to the neighbourhood, where a man and woman, each aged 89, followed the laudable and pious example."   It would appear that the art of matrimonial advertising was not unknown in old times. In the 28th number of the Journal we find that " any well-behaved young woman, between 30 and 50 years of age, and having .100 at her own disposal, may hear of an affable and agreeable husband, aged 33," provided she will only name where she is to be " spoken with." Well, a reply appears from Ketty Willing, Nairn, to the effect that said Ketty is a young unmarried woman, 18 years of age, fit to be a wife, of good complexion, for a nurse, and not deformed in any part,  and having also in her custody £2000 - 41 Scots. But she demurs as to further negotiation until she shall obtain the male advertiser's real address, that she may send a friend to commune with him.  

In the times to which we refer, the principles of religious toleration were not much understood, for we find that William Grant was arranged before the Aberdeen Circuit Court in September 1750 " as being habit and repute a priest, Jesuit, or trafficing papist." He pled guilty, and was sentenced to banishment from Scotland, under pain of death in case of his return.  The soldier who apprehended him having been allowed a reward of 500 merks according to Act of Parliament. But while our fellow-creatures were thus badly dealt with, the canine race seem to have been held in high consideration. Thus, we read that " a favourite dog belonging to a lady near Grosvenor Square was put into a coffin, and, being carried by her 2 chairmen on a horse, was interred behind Primrose Hill and Hampstead. The footmen walked before, and the dog-doctor, who had attended him all night, behind." This leads us to notice another story about a dog which belonged to Mr. James Rait, tanner, brother of Professor Rait of King's College. Rait had a farm at Hilton, where he was much annoyed by a fox. He contrived to set the fox and his watch-dog Tyger by the ears, about a leg of mutton, when Tyger proved too many for the fox.  It is particularly mentioned that this dog Tyger was nephew to the famous Tyger given by Mr. Rait (in testimony of his loyalty) to the Duke of Cumberland in a present, in the year 1747, and the son of Old Dublin, the Irish bitch who fought an Irish Grenadier of Fleming's Regiment in 1747.  But, to come to serious matters, we find that, in 1751, a proposal was in agitation, which we would specially recommend to the notice of our temperance societies. " We hear that a learned argument is preparing, and will shortly be exhibited, to show that the only effectual means of preventing the pernicious use of distilled spirituous liquors will be to inflict a corporal punishment, instead of a fine, upon the retailers and vendors of them. Some are of the opinion that the most certain way to prevent the decrease of his Majesty's subjects, so much and so justly complained of, will be to hang, or transport for life, any one who shall be found guilty of serving his neighbour with a quarterin. Others think that perpetual imprisonment, and a public whipping once a quarter, may be sufficient punishment in this case."  The political articles in the Journal, as in other provincial papers of the time, are all extracts from the London Evening Post, and some of them are great curiosities in their way perfect riddles, which could not, as they were perhaps never meant to be solved. Here is a specimen in 1750 "Our correspondent at Paris assures us that something of very great importance is upon the carpet there, and that, notwithstanding the greatest secrecy is observed at Court, yet some of the members have intimated that it will not be long before a great event will happen, extremely acceptable to the nation but of what nature is entirely left to conjecture!"  Strange notions seem to have prevailed on the subjects of political economy. We find a fierce argument against the transportation of corn to starving France, thus put forward. " Whether, as Providence has thought fit to afflict the French with so dreadful a scourge, the running counter to this benevolent dispensation with regard to this island, may not turn that blessing into a curse upon ourselves?"  In 1752 we have the first report from the Infirmary. It appears that for the year ending August 1743, the number of patients admitted was 21; cured, 9; dismissed, 10; dead, 2.  We suppose there were not 8 doctors. In 1745 -'46 the house was filled with sick and wounded soldiers.  So early as the beginning of 1749 we find a society of honest farmers in Aberdeen and Banffshires, established for the purpose of taking into consideration the proper methods for improving difficult soils. The 1st Whale Fishing Company signed their contract of co-partnership on 27th June 1751, the subscribed capital being then nearly £7000.  Boy hurt by falling from the joggs in Castle Street (Petty Vault), Woman had her eye severely injured by the creels of a man riding on horseback, William Wast accommodated with a neat suit of irons, etc. etc.

James Chalmers, Printer, Aberdeen, Scotland, 1740-1783.  Apprentice Robert Forbes, £20/00/00. IR/1/50, fo. 010. 1741: Apprentice Archer, Thomas, £8/10/00. IR/1/50, fo. 086. 1751: Apprentice Francis Mowatt, £6/12/01 IR/1/51, fo. 092. 1761: Apprentice George Ogilvie,  £5/00/00. IR/1/56, fo. 026. 1763: Apprentice Thomas Brand, £5/00/00. IR/1/55, fo. 018. 1763: Apprentice John Lumsden, £5/00/00. IR/1/54, fo. 182. 1763: Apprentice John Mence, £5/00/00. IR/1/55, fo. 016. James Chalmers, & Co. 1770: Apprentice Joseph Cavendish, £6/12/00. IR/1/26, fo. 208. Sun Policy 478012, £400, 1783. J Chalmers, & Co., Printers of Aberdeen Journal, Aberdeen, Scotland, 1785.

Reverend John Bisset's Diary 1745

The Aberdeen Journal, 29 December 1747: was founded in 1747 as Aberdeen's Journal, changing its name in 1748. Throughout the 19th century, control lay with successive generations of the original owners, the Chalmers family. Until 1849, the paper was also edited by the Chalmers family: James until 1810, then David. D. Chalmers & Co., printers & publishers of Aberdeen Journal, Aberdeen, Scotland, 1811

William Forsyth, the 1st Journal Editor who was not a Chalmers, held the position until 1878, followed by Archibald Gillies (1879-1884 and 1890-1894) and Charles MacCaskie (1887-1889). David Pressley became Editor in 1894 and served beyond 1900.

The Journal appeared only once a week until 1876, one reason being that: 'the proverbial frugality, amounting almost to parsimony, of the inhabitants of this part of the kingdom, prevents any paper published more frequently than once a week, from obtaining a circulation of any considerable extent.' In the 1st half of the 19th century, the paper comfortably saw off several challengers, and its 1832 circulation of 2,231 copies a week was well above both the Scotsman (1,914) and the Glasgow Herald (1,615). Its major long-term rival was the Liberal Aberdeen Free Press, launched in 1853. The Journal's circulation then stalled: from 3,500 weekly sales in 1855, it only reached about 4,000 in 1870.

The paper was consistently pro-Conservative throughout the 19th century, although it did not give prominence to political issues until the 1830s, when its Toryism became more explicit: for example, it defended the Corn Laws. In religious matters, it was a consistent supporter of the Church of Scotland.  Technical and journalistic innovations contributed to the paper's success. In 1830, it became the 1st Scottish paper to use steam for printing, and in 1896 linotyping replaced hand typesetting. From the 1840s, specialist leader writers were employed, most notably William Forsyth, who during his editorship much improved the literary contents of the paper.

Publication History: Variant Titles-

Aberdeen's Journal (29 December 1747/5 January 1748-16/23 February 1748)
The Aberdeen Journal (23 Feb./1 March-26 April/3 May 1748)

The Aberdeen's Journal (10 May 1748-26 December 1749)

The Aberdeen Journal  (2 January 1750-29 August 1768)

The Aberdeen Journal and North-British Magazine (5 September 1768-31 December 1781)

The Aberdeen Journal (7 January 1782-22 August 1797)

The Aberdeen Journal and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland (29 August 1797-23 August 1876)

The Aberdeen Weekly Journal & General Advertiser for the North of Scotland (30 Aug 1876 -16 Dec 1903)

The Aberdeen Weekly Journal (23 December 1903-23 September 1952)

The Weekly Journal (30 September 1952-1 August 1957)

James Chalmers, Jr, had died in 1810 and was succeeded at The Aberdeen Journal by his 2nd son David who lived at the Westburn House Estate. That the newspaper prospered under his guardianship is evidenced by the circulation figures of the Journal in the 1830s which, it claimed, exceeded those of National rivals such as The Scotsman and Glasgow Herald. On the production side he is credited with the conversion about 1830 of the Journal’s Press to steam, the 1st Scottish newspaper to do so. When he retired in 1853 he handed over the management of the business to his sons James and John.

Chalmers, D. & Co., printers & publishers of Aberdeen Journal, Scotland, 1811

Over the years the success of The Aberdeen Journal and the increasing politicisation of the newspaper press, nationally, had encouraged a number of other publishers to launch their own publications. Among those was The North of Scotland Gazette, which first appeared in 1847. Whereas other publications such as The Aberdeen Observer (1829) and The Aberdeen Shaver (1833) were short-lived, the Gazette soon became established and in 1853 was transformed into The Aberdeen Free Press. A full account of the keen rivalry between the Journal and the Free Press is contained in Norman Harper’s official history of The Press and Journal: The First 250 Years, 1748-1998, published in 1997.

Aberdeen Free Press, launched in 1853

William Alexander (1826 - 1894), the author, comes from an etching by Sir George Reid (1831 - 1913). William Alexander was the editor of the Aberdeen Free Press and his novels, all serialised in the paper, deal with political issues.

Frederick Martin CBE (23 October 1882 – 18 January 1950) was a Scottish Liberal later Labour politician and journalist.  Martin was born in Peterhead became a journalist, working on the Aberdeen Free Press and Morning Post. In 1914 he joined the 5th Battalion, the Gordon Highlanders and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. He served until 1915 but became blind during his period of training and was hospitalised in St Dunstan's Hostel for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors.

Edward W. Watt, 1877-1955, who was Lord Provost of Aberdeen between 1935 and 1938. He was also an editor of the Evening Gazette (published 1881-1911 and incorporated in the Evening Express) and in 1922 became a joint manager of Aberdeen Newspapers Limited.

The Evening Express is a tabloid newspaper sold from Mondays to Saturdays in the City of Aberdeen and more widely through Aberdeenshire (including Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Ellon, Inverurie and Stonehaven) and parts of neighbouring Moray (Elgin, Fochabers) and Angus (Montrose).  It was founded in 1879. It was initially a broadsheet, but switched to tabloid format in the 1930s before, unusually, switching back to broadsheet in 1958. The Saturday edition went back again to tabloid in 1989, followed by the other editions in 1995.  It’s published by Aberdeen Journals Ltd, who also publish the Press & Journal daily broadsheet. Aberdeen Journals is a subsidiary of D C Thomson, who bought the company and its newspapers from the Daily Mail & General Trust in 2006.

The Green Final and Wee Alicky - Nae Maer.  The end of an era for the Green Final in Aberdeen, the Evening Express's sports paper, with its famous Dons loving laddie, Wee Alicky, which was also buried on June 29, 2002 after running since the 1920s. The Sporting Post, sold in Aberdeen Streets an hour later on Saturday's with the call - "Dundee Post!" - produced in Dundee by D C Thomson, was also sent off after the Scottish Cup Final in May 2000.

The Evening Express's sports editor Jim Strachan, said: "We reckoned that 100,000 read the paper but only about 10,000 bought it because it was passed around the pubs. It's a shame to see them go because they were all part of the local sporting culture in Scotland, but that's them all gone now." - A direct result of 'Aberdonian Thrift' in handing round the Football Fixture results in the pubs for all to read - followed by the ubiquitous TV Sport in Pubs.

Wee Alicky was the topical cartoon supporter of Aberdeen Football Club - the 'Don's' and he would reflect the current result in his own way.  A skinny wee loon with spiky hair, with spicky quiff, roll neck sweater, short troosers and boots with rolled down socks to reveal his spindly legs and knobbly knees. The caption would indicate his elation, despondency or hopes for the next gamey. Can anyone provide and Image of "Wee Alicky"!

Evening Express

Aberdeen Journals Ltd
Lang Stracht
AB15 6DF
01224 69022

The Long Hard Road to Easy Street

Joe Baxi was a black and white cartoon strip George 'Dod' Dow devised which appeared in the Evening Express website in 2009. It reflected the local news, and what’s planned for the city of 'Abermean' (sorry Aberdeen) combined with general comic taxi situations. Suitable captions and Doric verse add to the artwork. The ‘Cooncil’ and Aberdeen Football Club, of course, came under fire now and again.  Ony weel kent fowk in Abermean - or whoever is in the spotlight could also be in the cab plus any visitors to the granite city. Gags are topical and seasonal with lots of local references and city backdrops.  Storylines followed the annual timetable of local events, the weather and generally dealt with the human condition as Joe encountered an endless series of characters.  Humour, artwork, Doric verse and life in Aberdeen all wrapped up in one cartoon strip!  Dod had the beginnings of the idea more than 20 years ago when he drove a taxi to supplement his income until he became more established as an serious Artist. When it was quiet in the rank he used to doodle ideas based on my last fares and any recent comic experiences. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I finally decided in 2009 to develop the ideas and make the cartoon a reality.

Dod Dow Website

The Roundhouse

Cos - Cartoonist (Cosimo P's) first effort was merely as a reaction to some local controversy about the Trams and he decided to submit his version of a 'letter to the editor' by way of a cartoon. It appeared that a week or so later the Editor of the day one Ken Peters contacted him to ask if he would be interested in doing some more for the paper and so it took off.  The subject was always as a response to some local crisis or controversy and always coming from a humorous angle. For example, one dealt with the public outcry when Aberdeen Corporation Transport announced it intention to raise the fare levels. Cos's solution was a cartoon depicting a tram with 3 or 4 decks each overfull with people hanging out of the windows and falling off the top deck with a caption stating that the answer was 'Higher Trams and Lower Fares!' all his work was in a sort of 'Giles' cartoon style.

Local Aberdeen Newspapers were supplemented at the week end by the Sunday Post - Oor Wullie and the Broons

Oor Wullie 1936 -
An almost legendary cartoon character appearing weekly in the almost as legendary "Sunday Post" newspaper, published by Dundee company of D.C. Thomson. This mischievous dungaree-wearing boy is known for uttering "Jings! Crivvens! Help ma Boab!". He was created by
Dudley Dexter Watkins 
(Dudley D. Watkins)-
1907 - 1969-
Cartoonist and Illustrator. Born in Manchester, Dudley D. Watkins drew cartoon strips for the Dundee publishing firm of D C Thompson, which he joined in 1925. He produced a range of characters for their newspapers and comics, including Oor Wullie and The Broons for the Sunday Post (1936), Desperate Dan (1937) and Korky the Cat for the Dandy and Lord Snooty (1938) and Biffo the Bear (1948) for the Beano.

Because of his loyalty to D C Thompson and his success he was their only artist permitted to sign his work and was paid handsomely, well enough to be able to build a large house in Broughty Ferry, which he named Winsterley.  Following his death, his characters and style were faithfully maintained.

The Broons and Oor Wullie are famous for their limited range of memorable exclamations. Back in the dusty past (and in Kelvinside to this day) it was considered uncouth to swear or take the lord's name in vain. But then, as now, people liked to have exclamations for their exasperations. I don't want to state the obvious but in case you don't already know - the ones used by our characters are basically corruptions of religious terms. - Jings, Crivvens, Ma Help Ma Boab, Michty Me

Interesting Leggings - anyone know what they are for - sheep shearing?


ABERDEEN OBSERVER newspaper office Aberdeen
68 Broad Street
1828-37 - A Commercial and Political Journal.  John Davidson & Co printers.

ABERDEEN BANNER newspaper office Aberdeen
Victoria Court 54 Castle Street 1840-51
George Cornwall printer

ABERDEEN CHRONICLE newspaper office Aberdeen
Alexander Aberdein
printer Netherkirkgate 1806
John Booth
printer Chronicle Street 1818
Chronicle Lane 1823
Chronicle Court, 10 Queen Street 1824
Sometimes & Co. Publisher of the Aberdeen Chronicle..

ABERDEEN ADVERTISER newspaper office Aberdeen
Lamond's Court, 49 Upperkirkgate 1835
William Bennett printer.

ABERDEEN CONSTITUTIONAL newspaper office Aberdeen
John Davidson printer 68 Broad Street 1837
George Cornwall
printer Constitutional Office, 42 Castle Street 1838
National Bank Court, 42 Castle Street 1839-40
William Bennett printer same address 1841-42
Aberdeen 1844

Aberdeen Donatus, Printer of 1507 See Printer of...
newspaper office 43 Union Street 1846

ABERDEEN HERALD, Proprietors of printers Aberdeen
22 Broad Street 1832
George Cornwall
printer Cruden's Court Broad Street 1837
7 Queen Street 1838
John Finlayson
printer The Aberdeen Herald Office, 3 Jopp's Court, 40 Broad Street
In 1876 it was united with the Weekly Free Press to become the Herald and Weekly Free Press

ABERDEEN INDEPENDENT newspaper office Aberdeen
Aberdeen August 1830-July 1831

Aberdeen New Independent Aberdeen October to December 1831

ABERDEEN NEW SHAVER newspaper office Aberdeen
3 Back Wynd 1837-38
5 Back Wynd 1838
5 Flourmill Brae 1838
Printed by Robert Edward & Co. Continuation of Aberdeen Shaver

ABERDEEN NEWS ROOMS news room Aberdeen
2 St Katherine’s Wynd 1846-48

ABERDEEN OBSERVER newspaper office Aberdeen
68 Broad Street 1828-37
John Davidson & Co printers.

George Street 1819
William Wood manager.

ABERDEEN READING CLUB circulating library Aberdeen

ABERDEEN SHAVER newspaper office Aberdeen
5 Long Acre 1836
Published by John Anderson & Co. Continued as Aberdeen New Shaver.
Indicted for libel at Autumn Circuit by Alexander Milne, lime and coal merchant.
Did not appear in own defence and damages of £150 were awarded by the jury.

ABERDEEN STAR newspaper office
Duthie's Court, 35 Guestrow
Robert Cobban & Co printers.

ABERDEEN, Alexander printer Aberdeen
Netherkirkgate 1806
67 Queen Street 1824
46 Broad Street 1829
Sometimes & Co. Publisher
of the Aberdeen Chronicle.

The Aberdeen Bestiary

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Last modified: 01/09/2013