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Duthie Park Hazlehead Park The Links Westburn Park Seaton Park

Public Parks

The places of out-door recreation and amusement are chiefly the following:-- The Links, a grassy, benty, and sandy tract, 2 miles long and 1/4 to 1/3 mile broad, along the shore between the mouths of the Dee and the Don. It is mostly only a few feet above the sea, but the Broad Hill rises to 94 feet. Cattle shows, reviews, &c., were held on the Links. To the north-west of the town, a Public Recreation Park of 13 acres was laid out in 1872, at the cost of £3000, with walks, grass, trees, shrubs, and flowers.

In the mid-19th Century there were no public parks in the City except the Links.  By 1900 there were 6: Union Terrace Gardens, Duthie Park (which were gifted to the Town), Stewart and Walker Parks (which were purchased) and Westburn and Victoria Parks in the conservation area.   Queens Links served as a Horse Racing Circuit

Situated next to each other, Victoria Park and Westburn Park cover 26 acres (110,000 m2) between them. Victoria Park opened in 1871. There is a conservatory used as a seating area and a fountain made of fourteen different granites, presented to the people by the granite polishers and master builders of Aberdeen. Opposite to the north is Westburn Park opened in 1901. With large grass pitches it is widely used for field sports. There is large tennis centre with indoor and outdoor courts, a children's cycle track, play area and grass Bowling lawn.

Stewart Park (11 acres), called after Sir D. Stewart, Lord Provost in 1893.  The park contains whale jaw bones presented to the park in 1903 by the Captain of the Arctic whaler Benbow.  There is an intricate fountain designed as a replica of an Italian lavabo which was sculptured by Arthur Taylor of Jute Street, Aberdeen.  There are nearby all weather tennis courts and bordered-off cricket and football pitches.








This park opened in 1894 and is named after the then Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Sir David Stewart. Mrs. Taylor of' Woodside had left £800 for a play area and this was used to buy 14 acres close to Hilton House. Within the land acquired from the Hilton estate were 3 disused quarries, which were retained in part to make ponds that were stocked with fish. These have since been filled in but the park still provides opportunities for games and a quiet stroll enjoying the flowers.



Johnston Gardens  (11)Johnstone Gardens

A one-hectare park whose garden, surrounded by private housing, has streams, waterfalls, ponds, rockeries and rustic bridge that help to make this one of the most charming areas in the city. The garden is planted with rhododendrons, spring bulbs, heathers and alpines; the ponds are full of irises, aylesbury, mallard and muscovy ducks.


Victoria Park
The five-hectare Victoria Park was opened to the public in 1871. In addition to an informal layout of flowers, shrubs and trees, there is a conservatory to be used during inclement weather, and a small glasshouse feature.

Peterhead granite is of excellent quality, resembling, perhaps, nearer than any other rock in this country, the Egyptian granite or syenite. It admits of being finely polished, and is now extensively used for that purpose by Mr Alexander Macdonald of Aberdeen, who has erected a steam engine for polishing granite, and has produced very fine specimens of his work, in chimney-pieces, pillars, pedestals, vases, &c. As granite can be polished at less expense and in a more perfect manner, by steam than by manual labour, it is likely to come into general use. The granite of Peterhead is not inferior to that of Stirlinghill, while it is clearer in colour.

Victoria Park - In 1871, Aberdeen Town Council decided to convert nearly 14 acres of Glennie's Parks, which had been used for cattle grazing, into a public recreation ground - Aberdeen's 1st public park. A view, taken around 1900, shows one of the main paths leading to a large granite fountain, which was designed by J.B. Bruce. a Category A listed fountain made of 14 different granites, presented to the public by the granite polishers and master builders of Aberdeen. Since the park is almost in the City centre, it is an oasis of peace with its mature trees and, in spring, there are masses of flowering bulbs scattered through the grass.

Hazlehead Park






The Wallies - Public Drinking Wells or Fountains

They were ubiquitous around the Harbour and the odd one in busy areas of the city centre and may still be seen in Fraserburgh I believe.  Cast Iron Domed Green Stanchions about 750mm high by 450mm diameter at the head with a rotating handle each side which on a quarter turn each way would deliver water for scoofin yer thirst or slooshing yer wellies or filling a horses drinking  bucket.  The top had a grating and there was always a 'Brander' or drain under the Lion Head spout .  You must have passed them many a time but nae doot fair scunnert wi the thocht of takin a scoof.  Also the public fountains in the parks which had button pushes and cast iron cups on chains hanging from grand dressed granite ornaments and the drinking bowls that many a scubbit mooth must have quenched his lips from (Westburn Park and Duthie Park had them).    We used to wash out beer bottles full of muck and piss from the obliging  lions moo and get 3d back from the boozers along the Quayside  for our efforts – hungry loons enterprise!  Screwtops and crown tops were the same price.  The one bottle of lemonade – Hayes – would be purchased with yet another deposit on the bottle and passed roon the circle of ‘enterprise’ for a sweeter carbonated 'scoof' and mutual exchange of bacteria  filled saliva of the day.  Nae winder we dinna fa doon deid now -  regardless what anniversaries may overtake us. - Eddie

Mrs Alexander fell doon a Brander!     
Scoof - onomatopoeic word derived from the noise of released pressure from a lemonade bottle neck after an orra swig.

School Drinking Fountains were like a dental ceramic spitoon with an arching jet flow that drookit yer face if yer pal pushed yer heid doon as you pressed the flow lever.

I remember the 'wallies' or fountains in the Westburn Park, Victoria Park, Union Terrace - the 'Trainny' Park and Duthie Park. As kids we spent a lot more time in the parks than children do these days, given that their hands are constantly engaged with either a mobile phone, ipod, ipad or any number of other gizmos. Kids just do not play kids games any longer so have no need to visit a park. They are totally tied up or perhaps tied down by gadgets and money in their pockets that they have lost the need to 'play' and I reckon that a large percentage of them spend a lot of time on their own, playing with their gadgets away from their pals. I bet that if you were to ask a bunch of 9 year olds what they knew about chalking bedies, rounders, leave ee oh, Jump the Cuddie, Kick the cannie, skipping 2 rope lundies and all the others that I have forgotten about, they would think that you were a druggie or something. I really do believe that the children of today have been deprived of the pleasure, fun and invention of childhood by the wider distribution of wealth, which is of course welcome in itself, but has resulted in both parents working and burying their guilt by substituting gadgets in place of time, affection, attention and even care. Children are missing out on childhood and being fed a diet of adult life earlier. I see it all around and I am concerned that not all children will be equipped to handle it. At least we learned how to communicate with one another on a one to one basis and face to face. Better stop there as I am getting all het up! - Doug P

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Last modified: 01/09/2013