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Torry Route

TORRY ROUTE - Bridge Street, Guild Street, Market Street, Victoria Road, and Balnagask Road.

1904 it ran from Guild Street to St Fittick's Road with the Tram Depot at the Victoria Bridge. Eventually the Torry Line was linked up with the main network via Bridge Street, a mirror being provided on the single-track at the foot to enable the driver to see around the sharp corner.

The cars for this route start at the junction of Bridge Street with Union Street, and, crossing the new Steel Bridge over the Railway, pass close to the Joint Railway Station. The station was opened in 1867, and is the Terminus for the 3 Railway systems which connect the City with the South and North, viz., the Caledonian, North British, and Great North of Scotland Railways.  Immediately on crossing the bridge to the left is the head offices of the Great North of Scotland Railway Company.  On the same side further on is Her Majesties Theatre, (Tivoli) erected in 1872, and shortly to be superseded by the new Theatre building nearing completion at Rosemount Viaduct.  Almost opposite the Theatre is the old Station of the Scottish North-Eastern Railway Company, whose enterprise brought the Railway into Aberdeen in 1850. As the car turns into Market Street there will be observed on the left the General Post Office opened in 1875, and soon to be replaced as the chief office by the handsome new buildings, in Crown Street. Further along the quay, easily distinguished by its clock tower, is the Harbour Offices, erected in 1885 on the site of the Weigh-house or Pack house, built in 1634, and removed in 1883 for the offices, then to be built.

In passing along Market Street a good view of the Harbour is obtained with the shipping, the part next Market Street being known as Regent or Upper Dock. Aberdeen has from very early times held a high position as a Commercial Port, for so early as 1294 a dispute regarding Aberdeen Merchants and their goods was the subject of communications between the English and Scottish Courts.  In later times, before the Union, the trade carried on with the continent through the Low Country Ports was, considering the means of transport, very considerable indeed.  The Harbour then, and for long after, was nothing more nor less than a narrow strip of water forming the channel of the Dee, and dredged to an average depth of 10 or 12 feet. Up till 1829. the administration of the Harbour was in the hands of the Town Council, but in that year a Commission was established for the purpose, which now comprises 19 Town Councillors and 12 elected Commissioners, chosen by owners of shipping and Burgesses of Guild and Trade.  In 1843 plans were prepared for new Docks and other works, including the diversion of the River further South, so as to clear it of the new Harbour basin. The works were completed in 1848, and one of the 1st arrivals in the new Docks was the Royal Yacht "Victoria and Albert," with the Queen and Prince Albert, who were then about to make their 1st acquaintance with Balmoral.  Aberdeen is connected by regular lines of Steamers with London, Hull, Newcastle, Leith, Moray Firth Ports, Orkney and Shetland, Glasgow, and Liverpool.  As showing the progress of the Trade, it may be stated that the tonnage of shipping entering the port in 1855 amounted to 283,761 tons, and in 1895 it was stated at 978,231 tons, while the Harbour revenue for the former year was ;£19,628, and for last year; £79,109. The total area of the Harbour Estate is 360 acres, of which 200 acres is in water area, and 160 acres in lands and quays. The length of the Quays is about 3 miles.

To the left, facing the Albert Basin, is the Fish Market, the largest in Scotland, and fast approaching in size to those of Grimsby and Hull. The Market was removed to its present site and opened in 1889, and has been extended on 2 occasions since then, and now measures half a mile in length.  White fish only are sold in the market, and the best time to see the trade in full swing was between 8 and 9 o'clock in the morning,, when the sales take place. As giving some idea of the dimensions of the trade and its rapid progress, it may be remarked that there are at present about 250 steam trawlers, drifters, and line boats engaged, and that while in 1887 the value of white fish landed came to; £86,900.  In addition to the white fish, a considerable trade in salmon, is done, to the extent of about ;£25,000 a year, while at Point Law the value of herrings landed during the season would approximate to ;£75,000.  The Albert Basin, which is wholly given up to the fish trade, was originally the bed of the River Dee, as diverted when the harbour was formed. By an Act obtained in 1868, the struggling courses of the River were collected, and the main stream, diverted further Southwards into its present channel. The expense was very great, but it resulted in the reclaiming of some valuable land, which now produces a good revenue to the Commissioners. Victoria Bridge which spans the river, was opened in 1881, having cost over ;£26,000.  In 1876 an unfortunate accident occurred to the Ferry Boat, which then served as the only means of communication, whereby 32 lives were lost, and the Bridge,  Often spoken about, was by unanimous public opinion projected without further delay.  The district to the south of the Bridge is known as Torry, and although in the County of Kincardine it has formed part of the City since 1891.  The prosperity of this District is intimately bound up with that of the fishing industry, and its growth has been phenomenal. In 1891 the population was about 2,940, and in 1906 it is estimated at 14,000. The old village lies to the east on the low ground close to the river, and is tenanted by fishermen, who maintain a close relationship with their brethren at Footdee.  In the days before the Bishop erected the Bridge of Dee, travellers from the south had sometimes to wait at Torry when the river was swollen before being able to continue their journey northwards. In order, therefore, that suitable accommodation might be provided for travellers in such a plight, James IV., in 1494, erected Torry into a Burgh of Barony, with its Cross and right of Market, but the privilege never seems to have been exercised.  At the Car Terminus in Victoria Road a fine view is obtained of the city, and of the long line of beach curving northwards, while here and there the stations of the coastguards are easily distinguished by the line of whitewashed houses. Directly opposite the terminus will be observed the various Shipbuilding Yards, which form no small part of the Industries of the city, and from these same yards in byegone days were launched the famous Aberdeen Clippers, which before the days of steamships held the record for the fastest passages home with the produce of the Indies, China and Australia.  The building at the Terminus is the Club House of the Balnagask Golf Club - a private course of 12 holes.  

On leaving the car it is advisable that the visitor should turn to the right on St Fitticks Road and proceed down to the Bay of Nigg, passing on he right the ruined Kirk of St. Fittick's, of pre-Reformation date and possessing several features of interest.  Outside in the Churchyard, at the South-east corner of the Church, may be seen a flat gravestone, the inscription of which reads that "William Milne, tenant of Kincorth, slain by his enemies on the l0th July, 1645, for the cause of Christ, here rests in peace from his labours.  This man, who piety, probity, and God's holy covenant made happy, fell by the sword of a savage Irishman."  The vane in the old belfry is dated 1763, while the belfry itself has the date I704 and the initials M. M., referring to Mr. Richard Maitland (1674-1719), the Minister of the Parish, regarding whom some good stories are told.   The Bay of Nigg has always been a favourite resort of the citizens of Aberdeen, in former days by the superstitious, who sought cures at the Well of St Fittick, and in latter times for health and recreation.  At the bay is the Marine Laboratory of the Scottish Fishery Board, on passing which a new marine drive, recently laid out by the Town Council, leads towards the Llighthouse.


Girdleness Lighthouse, which is under the charge of the Northern Lighthouse Commissioners, was 1st light in 1833, and is open to visitors on certain days of the week. The small house on the foreshore is the valve house connected with the City sewage system, the outfall being near this point.  Behind the lighthouse is the Walker Park (85 acres), laid out in 1903.  On leaving the park the small bay to the right has the sinister name of Greyhope Bay, and in justification of the name it may be mentioned that on the 1st April, 1813, the Whaler "Oscar," then setting out for the whaling grounds, was driven on the rocks here during a severe storm, and out of a crew of 43  only 2 were saved.  The car can be rejoined either by following the footpath before coming to the Torry Fort, or by passing the fort and continuing along the road running parallel to the Harbour entrance, passing on the right the South Breakwater, already referred to, and turning to the left at St Fittick's Road

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Last modified: 01/09/2013