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The Doric Columns


Rosemount and Westburn were developed from the 1830?s in an area that contained substantial villas and on land which was given over to healthcare purposes. In 1871, the Aberdeen Municipality Extension Act, promoted by Provost Esslemont, extended the City boundary to take in part of Rosemount. A further boundary extension took place in 1883. Development of the area incorporated access improvements to the city from the North West most notably through the construction of Rosemount Viaduct. The associated trades were again heavily involved in city expansion with the Wrights and Coopers laying out Loanhead Terrace and the Incorporated Trades, Thomson Street in 1879. Further detailed analysis of townscape development is incorporated in a Rosemount and Westburn Conservation Area Appraisal.

Rosemount first came into existence in 1829 and was named after a house already in the neighbourhood. In the southwest of the area, between Mid Stocket Road and what is now Whitehall Place, were some single large houses ? for example, Belvidere House, Craigiepark House, and Westfield ? and some groups of cottages and smaller detached houses. The south west of the area was laid out as a market garden and nursery.  James Matthews (Architect) entered the Town Council in 1863, and retired as a councillor in 1871. In November 1883 he was recalled as Lord Provost and held office until November 1886. He was mainly responsible for implementing the City Improvement Act of 1883 which included building Schoolhill and Rosemount Viaduct and giving improved access to the latter area of the city.  The routes connecting the centre with the north-west of the city were, prior to 1883, narrow steep and tortuous, and it was felt that before any development could take place in that quarter, a new and improved access should be made. In 1882, the Town Council laid out Esslemont Avenue, but it was too far west to serve as a suitable direct access to the Rosemount district. The older accesses by Gilcomston Steps and Skene Square or by the Incurable Brae and South Mount Street could never have met the traffic demanded by Rosemount and the new district of the Stockets beyond. A new thoroughfare, Rosemount Viaduct, was therefore projected, starting from the end of Union Terrace, crossing Skene Terrace, Skene Street, and by a viaduct of skew arches, the valley of the Denburn, till it joined the higher ground at South Mount Street. This work was the first undertaken under the powers of the 1883 Act. The cost of the work was very heavy, amounting, between property and works, to almost £81,000.

Rosemount Square
In July 1937, fire broke out in the former C & E Morton's preserved provisions works - in South Mount Street. John Thomas Morton went into business as a provision merchant in Aberdeen in 1849, subsequently building up a large trade in the export of canned and other preserved foods. A Millwall factory was opened about 1872 at the former oil works of Price & Company; later expansion included the opening of a herring cannery at Lowestoft and a depot in Cubitt Town. After Morton's death in 1897, the business was run by his sons. C. & E. Morton Ltd, as the firm became, was for many years among the largest local employers. The company's main trade was overseas. It supplied food to the Polar expeditions led by Shackleton and Scott, and was one of the principal suppliers of canned food to the armed forces during the First World War. After the war Mortons lost ground to foreign and colonial competitors and had to turn to the home market. At the time of the fire it was occupied by Alexander 'Cocky' Hunter, a local celebrity and house clearance specialist with a number of satellite 2nd Hand Shops.  The entire site was demolished for the building of Rosemount Square as a model Tenement block. Cocky Hunter moved his junk furniture business to the old Sick Childrens Hospital in Castle Terrace.  

Rosemount Place at the junction of Mount Street showing the Tram lines and 4 storey Tenements with co-op shops on the Ground Floor.  Delivery boy with Bakers basket and Cyclists and possibly a Scaffie.  Horse and cart transport and plentlful supplies of manure for the garden.  Mount Street led to Westburn Road to left was Esslemont Avenue and Rosemount School.  Street lighting by Gas lamps that were very infrequent.



I dare say that if I was to rack my brain hard enough I could put together a tale of my latter childhood days. I was born into Printfield Terrace, just up from the Fountain at Woodside which I remember very little of other than traipsing across to the wooden sheds next to the Railway line on Elmbank Terrace where some guy had a sort of early Pet Shop with Budgies and Canaries, Rabbits, Dogs and various rodents.  I must have been around five when we moved to the then 'new' Rosemount Square, and yes, I could probably put together something about our playground among the damp, urine and shit smelling, redundant air raid shelters next door or of our death defying 'luge' run down Jack's Brae (Inset) on home made sledges of sheets of corrugated iron, cardboard boxes, any flat bit of wood, even large frying pans or any other material that was durable and of low friction co-efficient and of our ongoing street battles with the Baker Street gang where we stood facing one another at the crossroads of South Mount Street and Baker Street hurling stones at one another hoping for a 'kill' but succeeding only, on one occasion that I remember, in shattering the large plate glass window of the 'chipper' on the corner. - Anon

Turreted Tenements beyond Upper Denburn on the Rosemount Viaduct some 7 storeys high.  Then with shared indoor Toilets on the half landings forming the regular stacks at the rear. Right image is March Lane off Jacks Brae.

March Lane, 1923. This view of a narrow lane in the Rosemount area of Aberdeen shows a number of small houses with slate and pantiled roofs.

The rather rundown nature of the lane hides the fact that it stood on the boundary of the City of Aberdeen. At the end of the lane there was a dressed granite stone with the letters CR incised on it.

These stood for City Royalty and up to the 19th century, the Town Councillors would inspect these boundaries or Marches to check that such landmarks had not been removed. A series of such stones marked what was known as the Inner Marches and another series with the letters ABD marked the Outer Marches which bounded the Freedom Lands, including the lands granted to the City by Robert the Bruce in 1319










Baker Street post war advertising.
Baker Street. From Gilcomston Steps to Rosemount via South Mount Street.

Milburn Grocer's and Provisions, Hill Street off Rosemount Place

Gordon & Sutherlands Sweet Factory Forbes Street

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Last modified: 01/09/2013