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Putachieside, from Carnegie's Brae to 12 Trinity Corner

Putachieside, so-named because the proprietor of Castle Forbes, then known as Putachie, had his Town House there; it was latterly a particularly miserable street of slum tenements and was obliterated by the construction of Union Street; then of Market Street. and Archibald Simpson’s New Market in 1840.
Castle Forbes, overlooks the River Don at Alford 1815-21, Archibald Simpson, completed John Smith. Originally called Putachie

For six centuries, the Green formed part of the only route into Aberdeen from the South. Visitors, both welcome and unwelcome, had to come over the Brig o’ Dee, up the Hardgate, down Windmill Brae, across the Denburn and through the Green into the old toun. Then as now, the entry to the Green was narrow, but the street then widened out into a triangular shape. It branched off on the left hand into the wynd known as Putachieside and thence to the Netherkirkgate; whilst on the right hand, it led by way of Shiprow round the southern side of St. Katherine’s Hill to the Castlegate – the heart of the Medieval Burgh.  Once Union Street and Holburn Street were laid down, the Green, Hardgate etc. et al ceased to be the main or only route to and from the south, and went into a decline.

From Carnegie's Brae to Maltmill Bridge - Maltmill Bridge, from 1 Putachieside to 1 Fisher Row

Market Street was laid out in 1840 by Archibald Simpson, who had designed many of the classical buildings in the expanding nineteenth century Aberdeen. With John Smith, he was responsible for much of the essential classical character of Aberdeen City. Aberdeen expanded greatly during the 19th century, especially in trade reliant on the Harbour, and this street was built to provide easier access from Union Street to the Harbour. It also cleared a notorious slum area of the City called Putachieside. It took its name from a covered indoor market, designed by Archibald Simpson in 1842, but which subsequently burnt down in 1882. Rebuilt in 1884, the market was replaced by a British Home Stores extension in 1971.

Putachieside - A blended whisky produced by Cadenhead which is labelled as a liqueur whisky (an old term for a blend containing a high percentage of malt). The label depicts the view from old premises at 47 Netherkirkgate, Aberdeen, an area known as Putachieside which, sadly, is no longer in existence. Cadenhead's blend of whiskies known as Putachieside goes back over one hundred years. Unlike many brands which dropped it from their labels Putachieside still retains the 'liqueur' tag. Putachieside the place was to be found in Aberdeen and was later known as Carnegie's Brae. It was partly destroyed by the making of Union Street the city's impressive main street and finally cleared away by the construction of New Market Street in the 1840s.  It has a delightful label which shows the Wallace Tower or Well House Tower, Netherkirkgate and Carnegie's Brae as they were in Victorian Aberdeen.  Before Marks & Spencer's or St Stephens Clouts were worn.

Cadenhead's 12 year old Putachieside whisky blend carries a drawing on the label showing the area around their original premises in Aberdeen (the eponymous 'Putachieside') which no longer exists - now Carnegie Brae the arched cavern under Union Street.  Scotland's oldest independent bottler, established in 1842. .

William Caidenhed - For 130 years prior to this, the firm of William Cadenhead Ltd traded from the same premises in the Netherkirkgate, Aberdeen. It was in what subsequently became No.47 that Mr George Duncan established himself as a vintner and distillery agent. The business prospered and in little over 10 years he was joined by his brother-in-law Mr William Cadenhead. In 1858 Mr Duncan died following a short illness. William Cadenhead acquired the business and changed the Trading name to that of his own. Whilst not much is known of George Duncan, a great deal is on record about his Brother-in-law William.  It must be said that this is not because of his distinction as a Vintner but because he was a local Poet of renown throughout the Victorian era. Born in 1819, he began working at an early age in a small thread factory where he gained a great deal of respect from his Employer. From there he became an overseer in the yarn sorting department of Maberly & Co at their Broadford works, later Richards PLC. About 1853 he left the Company and joined his brother-in-law as traveller for Cadenhead's until Duncan's death in 1858 where he acquired the business. Apart from his enviable reputation as a Poet, he became a prominent citizen taking part in all aspects of local affairs during his long life.

Men About Town This image taken in 1898, shows 2 prominent Aberdeen citizens crossing Union Street under the watchful gaze of a statue of the older Queen Victoria. The building behind them was then the Town and County (now Clydesdale) Bank. These 2 individuals were lifelong friends and both came from a poor background, however their industry and intelligence, combined with self education led to their successful careers.  William Cadenhead on the left began work in a thread factory but later became a Traveller for a wine and spirit merchant, eventually succeeding to the business. He died on 11th December 1904 aged 85.  William Carnie on the right was apprenticed as an engraver, but his ambition to write for newspapers was fulfilled when he began on the North of Scotland Gazette. However in 1861, he was appointed as Clerk and Treasurer of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and the Royal Lunatic Asylum. After his retirement he wrote 3 volumes entitled 'Reporting Reminiscenses' covering the period 1850 - 1876, recollecting local events and people he knew. He died on 2nd January 1908 aged 83.

Putachieside was the name of a street which began at the foot of Carnegie's Brae and went south in the line of Market Street, curving to the west. All that remains of it now is the part under Union Street and a part under Market Street. It serves to connect Carnegie's Brae with the Green. When Union Street was planned the first idea was to have the whole length from Castle Street where it began, to Summer Street where it ended, in one uniform slope. Considerations of expense led first to planning it with two slopes meeting at Putachie, and, secondly, to leaving the west end nearly level and making the rest in two slopes. If the original design had been carried out the bridge over Putachieside would have been far loftier than it is, and the retaining walls on both sides of the street between Putachie and the Denburn would have been higher and more costly. As it is, Putachie Bridge cost £3634. There are arched cellars under Union Street at both ends of Putachie Bridge, and there are others under St Nicholas Street. Market Street was not formed till 1842, and there was a direct route from the Shore under Putachie Bridge, but the upper end at Carnegie's Brae was too steep for heavy-laden carts.

Netherkirkgate runs from Broad Street to St Nicholas Street and to the left was Putachieside (Carnegie Brae) leading down towards the Green

Netherkirkgate, or Lower Church Road, is perhaps the oldest street in Aberdeen. A version of the street is mentioned in a charter dated 1212 as the ;Vicus Fraxini', or Way of the Ash Tree. The more modern name emerged in the 14th century. Until the 19th century this was one of the main thoroughfares of Aberdeen providing access to the Burgh Church, St Nicholas. The street was lined with town houses in the medieval period and was the site of one of the town's ports (lockable gates). Today Netherkirkgate extending into Carnegie's Brae runs underneath Union Street to provide access to the Green


Download Wallace-Benholme Tower
The Sworded Knights Effigy set into the east tower was assumed to be a depiction of William Wallace hence the name given to the tower but Historian William Kennedy recorded that the Knight's Templar had property in the Netherkirkgate and therefore the the said effigy may have been the tombstone of a Scottish Crusader complete with faithful dog at his feet. Other theories suggest it was a corruption of 'wellhouse' due to the presence of a local pillar well seen in this etching.

The Ports or Gates The Upper and Netherkirkgate were the roads ‘above’ and ‘below’ the Mither Kirk of St. Nicholas. The narrow street to the west of the Kirk nowadays known as Back Wynd used to be called Westerkirkgate.  The Upperkirkgate Port was the last of the six medieval town gateways to be demolished, sometime after 1794. It stood near the foot of the Upperkirkgate, just beyond No. 42, the gable-ended 17th century house which is still to be seen there now.  The original six ports – solid walls pierced by gateways – had become an obstruction to the flow of traffic, having been in existence from the first half of the 15th century.  The other five ports were the Netherkirkgate Port, controlling movement around the north side of St. Katherine’s Hill; the Shiprow or Trinity Port, (hence Trinity House and Quay) checking entry from the south side of St. Katherine’s Hill and the Harbour; the Justice or Thieves’ Port to the north-east of the Castlegate, demolished 1787; the Futty Port on Futty Wynd (Castle Brae) , to the south-east of the Castlegate, and the Gallowgate Port on Port Hill, controlling movement from Old Aberdeen and the north.  So perhaps it should have been the 'Castlegates'

NetherKirkgate (All one word on the street sign) and the 'Wallace or Benholm Tower' a street so narrow the Gas lamp standard was fixed to the Wall. To the left is Carnegie Brae and straight through is St Nicholas street which led to George Street, Burtons the Tailors is evident as were the function rooms above where my Parents Wedding Reception was held .  Many a Burton shop has snooker or dance halls above their premises which may have been a strange adjunct to tailoring as a way of generating further business.  The doorway extreme right was Barnet's Fruiters shop which did well in this favoured shortcut for pedestrians on their way to a busy shopping Street.  A bold bairn would enter and ask if they had any 'chippet pears'.  He would often be rewarded with 2 or 3 bruised and over ripe pears for his immediate digestion after scooping out the damaged areas with his thumb - all for free if he knew the server or for a proffered Penny.  It is clear the scaffie hasn't reach this area on his rounds - unusual for Aberdeen Streets. 

The later image shows the insensitivity of the placing of a Sodium Lamp Standard and no waiting signs for vehicles parking while the structure is badly neglected with failed guttering staining the facade and loosening the rendering. 



The Sword bearing Knight and his faithful dog gaze outwards after having been cleaned it seems.  Recent visits to Aberdeen show even grander structures have guttering problems.  The name of the lesser Church below St Nicholas escapes me but that led to Correction Wynd leading to both Union Street via steps and the Green under the arch bridge.  On the church side of the tower was a Coat of Arms.  Moved to Tillydrone Avenue of all places at M&S expense during redevelopment only to be boarded up to protect it from vandals and the loss of the Knight's Sword.  The effigy was probably recovered from a Kirk burial vault or tomb and used as decoration within a stone frame - nothing to do with Scotland's renegade hero but perhaps more associated with the Knights Templar.

a Knight in armour - Sir Gilbert de Greenlaw, who fell at the Battle of Harlaw (1411) has an incised slab at Kinkell Church nr Inverurie - Donside.




Note the weathervane atop the East Turret.


Benholm’s Lodge was built by Sir Robert Keith of Benholm, a younger brother of the Earl Marischal, who had founded Marischal College. Keith bought the land upon which the house once sat in 1588 and the house was built shortly afterwards. In 1965 its original site in Netherkirkgate was developed. The building was moved and reconstructed in its present location at Tillydrone. A plaque marks its original location in the city centre whilst a second plaque on the building tells the story of the building and its travels.  The house is a fortified Zed Plan town house, with two round towers at the south-west and north east corners of the building. The building features a number of carved heraldic stones of interest. It also features a carved stone figure of a man holding a sword. In the 18th century the building acquired the name of the Wallace Tower and it has been suggested that the figure represents William Wallace. This is unlikely, as the figure is probably a representation of Robert Keith and the name Wallace Tower probably derives from Well-House Tower. Over the centuries the house has had many different and varied occupants and uses. In 1768 it was owned by one John Niven, a snuff and tobacco merchant. Niven extended the front of the building and added a south wing. In 1895 one James Pirie, a spirit dealer, bought the house and it became the Wallace Tower Pub.

'Carnegie's Brae, joins Netherkirkgate to Putachieside

Prior titles for west side of Putachieside. Vendors are Trustees of John Harrow's mortification, 1769 - 1801. 'Cool Business'

Prior titles for west side of Putachieside. Vendor is Anne Michie, wife of Robert Ogg, journeyman wright, 1709 - 1801. (29 items)

Prior titles for east side of Putachieside. Vendor is Patrick Milne Esq. of Crimongate, 1662 - 1801. (14 items)

Prior titles for Green and Putachieside. Vendor is Alexander Chalmers, wright, 1746 - 1801. Formerly the town's Mid Mill, later property of Osnaburgh Company. (11 items)

Prior titles for the Green near Putachieside. Vendor is William Sligo, merchant in Leith, 1759 - 1801. Property late of Osnaburgh Co. (7 items)

Prior titles for west side of Putachieside. Vendor is William Barclay, litster and Euphemia Reid, his spouse, 1769 - 1801. (2 items)

12 Prior titles for Green near Putachieside. Vendor is John Jameson, merchant,

1736 - 1801. House and snuff mill, late wauk mill, formerly property of Osnaburgh Co. 1736 - 1801. (13 items)

Prior titles for west side of Putachieside. Vendor is James Elmslie, mason, 1655 - 1801. (30 items)

14 Prior titles for Green near Putachieside. Vendors are heirs of William Bruce, quarrier, 1759 - 1801. Property late of Osnaburgh Co. (5 items)

Prior titles for east side of Putachieside. Vendor is Isaac Robertson, schoolmaster, 1710 - 1801. Belonged to family of John Carnegie, Town Clerk, 1710 - 1766.

Putachieside - the Putachie Burn ran down the west side of St Katherine's Hill to the Loch.

Maltmill Bridge, from 1 Putachieside to 1 Fisher Row
Fisher Row, from 1 Maltmill Bridge to the Green
Ferguson's Court, 5 Putachieside
Carnegie's Brae, from 51 Netherkirkgate to Putachieside
Trinity Corner, from 102 Shiprow to 2 Putachieside


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Last modified: 01/09/2013