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Pitstone GreenWindmill Brae

Visitors, welcome and unwelcome, had to come over the auld 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 Exchequer Row, Broadgate and the Castlegate – the heart of the Medieval Burgh.

There is evidence of there having been 3 Windmills for making meal in or near Aberdeen. One is shown in Gordon's 1661 plan of the town on the west side of the Denburn and the north side of the Windmill Brae
Riddle's Court, 40, Windmill Brae

Windmill 3 shown on this map is the location of the Tower Mill in Windmill Lane
James Gordon - Map of Aberdeen 

Windmill 1
Its site was probably on Union Street near the head of Bridge Street  and it may have been the source of the name of the Windmill Brae. Little, if anything, is recorded regarding this mill except that in 1501 the Windmill was let to William Buchan.

Windmill 2
In 1602 the Town Council ordered the erection of a Windmill for making meal at the Gallowgate Head. This was completed in 1605, and Gordon's plan (1661) shows the sails of a Windmill on the Back Butts area near Mounthooley side of Seamount Place above West North Street.

Windmill 3
In 1678 another Mill was ordered to be erected. Its site is shown in Taylor's Plan, 1773, as being 86 yards south of Windmill Brae, and it was on the east side of Windmill Lane near what was to become the Palace Circus/Theatre.  The site of the early or mid 17th-century Tower Mill, near Windmill Brae, on what was then known as Windmill Hill.  It appears on a plan of the city by James Gordon - Map of Aberdeen 1661.  The Mill had 4 sails and probably stood on an artificial mound.  This windmill was erected c1678; the remains were still in existence until the mid 19th century but are no longer to be seen.  Traces of the Windmill were still to be seen about the middle of the 18th Century. This Windmill has been removed and its site lies in a redeveloped part of the City. (Aye - Jist Knocket Doon)

As with Tide Mills, the operating power of Windmills varies greatly in force and still more in direction; but nevertheless windmills can be worked profitably.

As there was a steep and dangerous descent at the Windmill Brae and a steep ascent of the Shiprow or Netherkirkgate for horse drawn vehicles, several small bridges were built across the valley of the Denburn and the main one was the Bow Brig which was built twice.   The old travellers route was maintained by a footbridge over Railway affectionately known as the Puffing Briggie in the days of Steam Engines.  The steep hill in later years made it a good location for practicing hill starts for learner drivers with the very slippery cassies of my day.










Bath Street is just off to the left in this Picture and was the site of the Bath Hotel now renamed The Royal Hotel with its splendid architecture.  It was once a Turkish Bath Emporium.






Prior titles for Windmill Brae. Vendor is George Bartlet of Springfield, 1717 -1802. Involves croftland
Prior titles for Windmill Brae. Vendor is John Gordon, wright, 1783 - 1801. Involves part of Crabstone  Croft

The Puffing Briggie was an elevated  high sided Steel and Wooden footbridge link between the steps at low end of Windmill Brae and the Green steps roughly in line with the old Bow Brig location - A culvert now contains the Denburn upon which the trains now ran.  The rear of the old suburban train ticket office can be seen Centre Right on the service road to the Palace HotelGuild Street Bridge spans the railways to link with Bridge Street.  Joint Station vaulted roof and the suburban platforms dominate the area

Close up of the Puffing Briggie showing its Cast Iron Stanchion supports on the suburban platforms and the gas lamped Arches to the high braced sides with the Bridge Street Viaduct in the background which has corner gussets to the wider pavements on the east side.  The age of Diesel Engines has arrived so no more soot laden smoke from steam engines to blacken the Architecture - only the more toxic particulates from diesel oil combustion.  The Trainie Park was nivver the same in the absence of the old steam shunting spectacle.

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Last modified: 01/09/2013