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Aberdeen

[ab-er-deen for 1, 2; ab-er-deen for 3–6]
Aberdeen (pronunciation ; , Obar Dheathain) is Scotland's third most populous city and one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. It has an official population estimate of 202,370.

Nicknames include the Granite City and the Silver City with the Golden Sands. During the mid-18th to mid-20th centuries, Aberdeen's buildings incorporated locally quarried grey granite, whose mica deposits sparkle like silver. The city has a long, sandy coastline. Since the discovery of North Sea oil in the 1970s, other nicknames have been the Oil Capital of Europe or the Energy Capital of Europe.

The area around Aberdeen has been settled for at least 8000 years, when prehistoric villages lay around the mouths of the rivers Dee and Don.

In 1319, Aberdeen received Royal Burgh status from Robert the Bruce, transforming the city economically. The city's two universities, the University of Aberdeen, founded in 1495, and the Robert Gordon University, which was awarded university status in 1992, make Aberdeen the educational centre of the north-east. The traditional industries of fishing, paper-making, shipbuilding, and textiles have been overtaken by the oil industry and Aberdeen's seaport. Aberdeen Heliport is one of the busiest commercial heliports in the world and the seaport is the largest in the north-east of Scotland.

Aberdeen has won the Britain in Bloom competition a record breaking ten times, and hosts the Aberdeen International Youth Festival, a major international event which attracts up to 1000 of the most talented young performing arts companies.

History

The Aberdeen area has seen human settlement for at least 8,000 years. The city began as two separate burghs: Old Aberdeen at the mouth of the river Don; and New Aberdeen, a fishing and trading settlement, where the Denburn waterway entered the river Dee estuary. The earliest charter was granted by William the Lion in 1179 and confirmed the corporate rights granted by David I. In 1319, the Great Charter of Robert the Bruce transformed Aberdeen into a property-owning and financially independent community. Granted with it was the nearby Forest of Stocket, whose income formed the basis for the city's Common Good Fund which still benefits Aberdonians.

During the Wars of Scottish Independence, Aberdeen was under English rule, so Robert the Bruce laid siege to Aberdeen Castle before destroying it in 1308 followed by the massacring of the English garrison and the retaking of Aberdeen for the townspeople. The city was burned by Edward III of England in 1336, but was rebuilt and extended, and called New Aberdeen. The city was strongly fortified to prevent attacks by neighbouring lords, but the gates were removed by 1770. During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms of 1644-1647 the city was impartially plundered by both sides. In 1644, it was taken and ransacked by Royalist troops after the Battle of Aberdeen. In 1647 an outbreak of bubonic plague killed a quarter of the population.

In the eighteenth century, a new Town Hall was built and the first social services appeared with the Infirmary at Woolmanhill in 1742 and the Lunatic Asylum in 1779. The council began major road improvements at the end of the century with the main thoroughfares of George Street, King Street and Union Street all completed at the start of the next century.

A century later, the increasing economic importance of Aberdeen and the development of the shipbuilding and fishing industries led to the existing harbour with Victoria Dock, the South Breakwater, and the extension to the North Pier. The expensive infrastructure program had repercussions, and in 1817 the city was bankrupt. However, a recovery was made in the general prosperity which followed the Napoleonic wars. Gas street lighting arrived in 1824 and an enhanced water supply appeared in 1830 when water was pumped from the Dee to a reservoir in Union Place. An underground sewer system replaced open sewers in 1865.

The city was first incorporated in 1891. Although Old Aberdeen still has a separate charter and history, it and New Aberdeen are no longer truly distinct. They are both part of the city, along with Woodside and the Royal Burgh of Torry to the south of the River Dee.

Toponymy

Old Aberdeen is the approximate location of Aberdon the first settlement of Aberdeen; this literally means "at the confluence of the Don [ie. with the sea]" in relation to the local river. The modern name, Aberdeen literally means between the Dee and Don (the other local river) The Celtic prefix; "Aber-" means "the confluence of" in relation to the rivers.

Gaelic scholars believe the name came from the prefix Aber- and da-aevi (variation;Da-abhuin, Da-awin) - which means "the mouth of two rivers". In Gaelic the name is Obar Dheathain (variation; Obairreadhain) and in Latin, the Romans referred to it as Devana. Mediaeval (or ecclesiastical) Latin has it as Aberdonia.

Governance

Aberdeen is locally governed by Aberdeen City Council, which comprises forty-three councillors who represent the city's wards and is headed by the Lord Provost who is currently Provost Peter Stephen.

From May 2003 until May 2007 the council was run with a Liberal Democrat and Conservatives coalition. Following the May 2007 elections the Liberal Democrats formed a new coalition with the Scottish National Party. The council consists of: 15 Liberal Democrat, 13 SNP, 10 Labour, 4 Conservative councillors and a single independent councillor.

Aberdeen is represented in the Parliament of the United Kingdom by three constituencies: Aberdeen North, Aberdeen South and Gordon, of which the first two are wholly within the Aberdeen City council area while the latter also encompasses a large swathe of Aberdeenshire.

In the Scottish Parliament the city is represented again by three constituencies, all of which are solely within the council area: Aberdeen North, Aberdeen Central and Aberdeen South and by a further seven MSPs elected as part of the North East Scotland electoral region.

In the European Union, the city is represented by seven MEPs, as part of the all inclusive Scotland constituency in the European Parliament.

Heraldry

Symbols of the city typically show three castles, such as in the case of the flag and coat of arms. The image has been around since the time of Robert the Bruce and represents the buildings that stood on the three hills of Aberdeen; Aberdeen Castle on Castle Hill (today's castlegate); an unknown building on Windmill Hill and a church on St. Catherine's Hill (now levelled).

Bon Accord, is the motto of the city and is French literally for "Good Agreement". Legend tells that its use dates from the fourteenth century password used by Robert the Bruce during the Wars of Scottish Independence, when he and his men laid siege to Aberdeen Castle before destroying it in 1308.

The leopard has traditionally been associated with the city and its emblem can be seen on the city crest. The local magazine is called the "Leopard" and when Union Bridge was constructed in the nineteenth century small statues of the creature in a sitting position were cast and placed on top of the railing posts.

The city's toast is "Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again", this has been commonly misinterpreted as the translation of Bon Accord.

Geography

The mean temperature is (and it varies between an average low of and (). In summer (June - August) the average high is and average low (). In winter (December - February) the average high is and average low ().

The average yearly precipitation is 753 millimetres (29.7 in), with 64 millimetres (2.5 in) in summer (June - August) and 62 millimetres in winter (December - February). The wettest months are October and November.

Average (unless stated) per Month Average Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
High temperature Celsius (°F) 11 (52) 5 (42) 6 (43) 7 (46) 10 (50) 12 (55) 15 (60) 17 (64) 17 (64) 15 (59) 11 (53) 8 (47) 6 (44)
Low temperature Celsius (°F) 5 (41) 0 (32) 0 (33) 1 (35) 2 (37) 5 (42) 8 (47) 10 (51) 10 (50) 7 (46) 5 (42) 2 (37) 1 (35)
Highest recorded temp. Celsius (°F) Highest ever: 30 (86) 17 (63) 17 (63) 20 (68) 23 (74) 24 (76) 26 (79) 30 (86) 29 (84) 24 (76) 21 (70) 16 (62) 15 (60)
Lowest recorded temp. Celsius (°F) Lowest ever: -18 (-2) -18 (-2) -15 (5) -11 (12) -3 (25) -3 (26) 0 (33) 2 (37) 0 (32) -2 (28) -3 (25) -15 (5) -13 (7)
''Source: Washington Post Weather

Being sited between two river mouths, the city has little natural exposure of bedrock. This leaves local geologists in a slight quandary : despite the high concentration of geoscientists in the area (courtesy of the oil industry), there is only a vague understanding of what underlays the city. To the south side of the city, coastal cliffs expose high-grade metamorphic rocks of the Grampian Group; to the south-west and west are extensive granites intruded into similar high-grade schists; to the north the metamorphics are intruded by gabbroic complexes instead. And under the city itself? The small amount of geophysics done, and occasional building-related exposures, combined with small exposures in the banks of the River Don, suggest that it's actually sited on an inlier of Devonian "Old Red" sandstones and silts. The outskirts of the city spread beyond the (inferred) limits of the outlier onto the surrounding metamorphic/ igneous complexes formed during the Dalradian period (approximately 480-600 million years ago) with sporadic areas of igneous Diorite granites to be found, such as that at the Rubislaw quarry which was used to build much of the Victorian parts of the city.

On the coast, Aberdeen has a long sand beach between the two rivers, the Dee and the Don, which turns into high sand dunes north of the Don stretching as far as Fraserburgh ; to the south of the Dee are steep rocky cliff faces with only minor pebble and shingle beaches in deep inlets. A number of granite outcrops along the south coast have been quarried in the past, making for spectacular scenery and good rock-climbing.

The city extends to 71.22 square miles (184.46 km²), and includes the former burghs of Old Aberdeen, New Aberdeen, Woodside and the Royal Burgh of Torry to the south of River Dee. This gives the city a population density of 2,819 per square mile (1,089 per km²). The city is built on many hills, with the original beginnings of the city growing from Castle Hill, St. Catherine's Hill and Windmill Hill.

Demography

In 1396 the population was about 3,000. By 1801 it had become 26,992; (1901) 153,503; (1941) 182,467. In 2001 the UK census records the Aberdeen City Council area's population at 212,125, but the Aberdeen locality's population at 184,788. The latest official population estimate, published by the General Register for Scotland for 2005, is 202,370. Data from the Aberdeen specific locality of the 2001 UK census shows that the demographics include a median male age of 35 and female age of 38 which are younger than Scotland's average and a 49% to 51% male to female ratio.

The census showed that there are fewer young people in Aberdeen, with 16.4 % under 16, opposed to the national average of 19.2 %. Ethnically, 15.7 % were born outside of Scotland, higher than the national average of 12.9 %. Of this population 8.4 % were born in England. 3 % of Aberdonians stated to be from an ethnic minority (non-white) in the 2001 census, with 0.7% from the Indian-subcontinent and 0.6% Asian, in comparison Scotland's overall population of non-white origin is 2 %. However this is a lower percentage than any of Scotland's other three main cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dundee. However there are large numbers of Poles, Lithuanians and Russians. There is also a growing number of people from Africa, especially from Nigeria. The most multicultural part of the city is George Street, which has many ethnic restaurants, supermarkets and hairdressers

In the household, there were 97,013 individual dwellings recorded in the city of which 61% were privately owned, 9% privately rented and 23% rented from the council. The most popular type of dwellings are apartments which compromise 49% of residences followed by semi-detached at just below 22%. The median income of a household in the city is £16,813 (the mean income is £20,292) (2005) which places approximately 18% households in the city below the poverty line (defined as 60% of the mean income). Conversely, an Aberdeen postcode has the second highest number of millionaires of any postcode in the UK.

Religion

Traditionally Christian, Aberdeen's largest denominations are the Church of Scotland through the Presbytery of Aberdeen and the Roman Catholic Church. The last census revealed that Aberdeen is the least religious city in Scotland, with nearly 43 % of people claiming to have no religion and several former churches in the city have been converted into bars and restaurants.

In the Middle Ages, the Kirk of St Nicholas was the only burgh kirk and one of Scotland's largest parish churches. Like a number of other Scottish kirks, it was subdivided after the Reformation, in this case into the East and West churches. At this time, the city also was home to houses of the Carmelites (Whitefriars) and Franciscans (Greyfriars), the latter of which surviving in modified form as the chapel of Marischal College as late as the early twentieth Century.

St Machar's Cathedral was formed twenty years after David I (1124-53) transferred the pre-Reformation Diocese from Mortlach in Banffshire to Old Aberdeen in 1137. With the exception of the episcopate of William Elphinstone (1484-1511), building progressed slowly. Gavin Dunbar, who followed him in 1518, completed the structure by adding the two western spires and the southern transept.

St. Mary's Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Gothic style, erected in 1859.

St. Andrew's Cathedral is the Scottish Episcopal Cathedral, constructed in 1817 as Archibald Simpson's first commission. It is notable for having consecrated the first bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America.

The Salvation Army citadel dominates the east end of Union Street.

There is also an Islamic Mosque in Old Aberdeen and an Orthodox Jewish Synagogue established in 1945. There are no formal Buddhist or Hindu buildings. The University of Aberdeen has a small Bahá'í society.

Economy

Traditionally, Aberdeen was home to fishing, textile mills, shipbuilding and paper making. These industries have been largely replaced. High technology developments in the electronics design and development industry, research in agriculture and fishing and the oil industry, which has been largely responsible for Aberdeen's economic boom in the last three decades, are now major parts of Aberdeen's economy.

Until the 1970s, most of Aberdeen's leading industries dated from the eighteenth Century; mainly these were textiles, foundry work, shipbuilding and paper-making, the oldest industry in the city, with paper having been first made there in 1694. Paper-making has reduced in importance since the closures of Donside Paper Mill in 2001 and the Davidson Mill in 2005 leaving the Stoneywood Paper Mill with a workforce of approximately 500. Textile production ended in 2004 when Richards of Aberdeen closed.

Grey granite was quarried at Rubislaw quarry for more than 300 years, and used for paving setts, kerb and building stones, and monumental and other ornamental pieces. Aberdeen granite was used to build the terraces of the Houses of Parliament and Waterloo Bridge in London. Quarrying finally ceased in 1971.

Fishing was once the predominant industry, but was surpassed by deep-sea fisheries, which derived a great impetus from improved technologies throughout the twentieth Century. Catches have fallen due to overfishing and the use of the harbour by oil support vessels, and so although still an important fishing port it is now eclipsed by the more northerly ports of Peterhead and Fraserburgh. The Fisheries Research Services is based in Aberdeen, including its headquarters, and a marine research lab in Torry.

Aberdeen is well regarded for the agricultural and soil research that takes place at The Macaulay Institute, which has close links to the city's two universities. The Rowett Research Institute is a world renowned research centre for studies into food and nutrition located in Aberdeen. It has produced three Nobel laureates and there is a high concentration of life scientists working in the city.

There is also a dynamic and fast growing electronics design and development industry.

With the discovery of significant oil deposits in the North Sea during the late twentieth Century, Aberdeen became the centre of Europe's petroleum industry. With the second largest heliport in the world and an important service ship harbour port serving oil rigs off-shore, Aberdeen is often called the Oil Capital of Europe.

There is now a concerted effort to transform Aberdeen's reputation as the Oil Capital of Europe into the Energy Capital of Europe as oil supplies may start to dwindle in coming years, and there is considerable interest in the development of new energy sources; and technology transfer from oil into renewable energy and other industries is underway. The "Energetica" initiative led by Scottish Enterprise has been designed to accelerate this process.

The city ranks third in Scotland for shopping. The traditional shopping streets are Union Street and George Street which are now complemented by shopping centres, notably the Bon Accord-St Nicholas Centre and the The Mall Trinity. A new retail |£190 million development, Union Square, is nearing completion. Major retail parks away from the city centre include the Berryden Retail Park, the Kittybrewster Retail Park and the Beach Boulevard Retail Park.

Landmarks

Aberdeen's architecture is known for its principal use during the Victorian era of granite, which has led to its local nickname of the Granite City or more romantically the less commonly used name the Silver City, since the quartz in the stone sparkles in the sun.

The hard grey stone is one of the most durable materials available and helps to explain why the city's buildings look brand-new when they have been newly cleaned and the cement has been pointed. Unlike other Scottish cities where sandstone has been used the buildings are not weathering and need very little structural maintenance on their masonry.

Amongst the notable buildings in the city's main street, Union Street, are the Town and County Bank, the Music Hall, the Trinity Hall of the incorporated trades (originating between 1398 and 1527), now a shopping mall; the former office of the Northern Assurance Company, and the National Bank of Scotland. In Castle Street, a continuation eastwards of Union Street, is the Town House, built in 1873 by Peddie and Kinnear.

Marischal College on Broad Street, opened by King Edward VII in 1906, is the second largest granite building in the world (after the Escorial, Madrid).

Transport

Aberdeen Airport (ABZ), at Dyce in the north of the city, serves a number of domestic and international destinations including France, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Ireland and Scandinavian countries. The heliport which serves the oil industry and rescue services is one of the busiest commercial heliports in the world.

Aberdeen railway station is on the main UK rail network and connects directly to major cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. The station is currently being updated to bring it into the modern age. In 2007 additions were made and a new ticket office was built in the building.

Until 2007, a 1950s style concrete bus station at Guild Street served out of the city locations; it has since transferred to a new and well presented bus station just 100 metres to the East off Market Street as part of the Union Square development.

There are six major roads in and out of the city. The A90 is the main arterial route into the city from the north and south, linking Aberdeen to Edinburgh, Dundee and Perth in the south and Ellon, Peterhead and Fraserburgh in the north. The A96 links to Elgin and Inverness and the north west. The A93 is the main route to the west, heading towards Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms. After Braemar, it turns south, providing an alternative tourist route to Perth. The A944 also heads west, through Westhill and onto Alford. The A92 was the original southerly road to Aberdeen prior to the building of the A90, and is now used as a tourist route, connecting the towns of Montrose, Arbroath and Brechin on the east coast. The A947 exits the city at Dyce and goes on to Newmachar, Oldmeldrum and Turriff finally ending at Banff and Macduff.

Aberdeen Harbour is important as the largest in the north of Scotland and as a ferry route to Orkney and Shetland. Established in 1136, it has been referred to as the oldest business in Britain.

FirstGroup operate the city buses in the city under the name First Aberdeen, as the successor of Grampian Regional Transport (GRT) and Aberdeen Corporation Tramways. Aberdeen is the global headquarters of FirstGroup plc, having grown from the GRT Group. First is still based at the former Aberdeen Tramways depot on King Street, soon to be redeveloped into a new Global Headquarters and Aberdeen bus depot.

Stagecoach Group also run buses in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, under the Stagecoach Bluebird name. Also, other bus companies (e.g. Megabus) run buses from the bus station to places North and South of the city.

Aberdeen is connected to the UK National Cycle Network, and has a track to the south connecting to cities such as Dundee and Edinburgh and one to the north that forks about from the city into two different tracks heading to Inverness and Fraserburgh respectively. Two particularly popular footpaths along old railway tracks are the Deeside Way to Banchory (which will eventually connect to Ballater) and the Formartine and Buchan Way to Ellon, both are used by a mixture of cyclists, walkers and occasionally horses. It has four Park and Ride sites which service the city, Stonehaven and Ellon (approx 12-17miles out from city centre) and Kingswells and Bridge of Don (approx 3-4miles out from city centre).

Education

Universities and colleges

Aberdeen has two universities, the University of Aberdeen and The Robert Gordon University. Aberdeen's student rate of 11.5% is higher than the national average of 7%.

The University of Aberdeen began life as King's College, Aberdeen, which was founded in 1495 by William Elphinstone (1431-1514), Bishop of Aberdeen and Chancellor of Scotland. Marischal College, a separate institution, was founded in "New" Aberdeen by George Keith, fifth Earl Marischal of Scotland in 1593. These institutions were amalgamated to form the present University of Aberdeen in 1860. The university is the fifth oldest in the English speaking world.

Robert Gordon's College (originally Robert Gordon's Hospital) was founded in 1729 by the merchant Robert Gordon, grandson of the map maker Robert Gordon of Straloch, and was further endowed in 1816 by Alexander Simpson of Collyhill. Originally devoted to the instruction and maintenance of the sons of poor burgesses of guild and trade in the city, it was reorganised in 1881 as a day and night school for secondary and technical education. In 1903, the vocational education component of the college was designated a Central Institution and was renamed as the Robert Gordon Institute of Technology in 1965. In 1992, university status was gained and it became the Robert Gordon University.

Aberdeen is also home to two artistic schools: Gray's School of Art, founded in 1886, which is one of the oldest established colleges of art in the UK, and is now incorporated into Robert Gordon University; and The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and The Built Environment, which is situated on the Garthdee Campus of the Robert Gordon University, next to Gray's School of Art.

Aberdeen College has several campuses in the city and offers a wide variety of part-time and full-time courses leading to several different qualifications. It is the largest further education institution in Scotland.

The Scottish Agricultural College is based just outside Aberdeen, on the Craibstone Estate, which is situated on the A90 roundabout for the Dyce Airport. They provide three services - Learning, Research and Consultancy. The college provides many land based courses such as Agriculture, Countryside Management, Sustainable Environmental Management and Rural Business Management which are proving to be the most popular. There are a variety of courses from diplomas through to masters degrees.

Schools

There are currently 12 secondary schools and 54 primary schools which are run by the city council. The most notable are Aberdeen Grammar School (founded in 1257), Harlaw Academy, Cults Academy, and Oldmachar Academy which were all rated in the top 50 Scottish secondary schools league tables published by The Times in 2005.

There are a number of private schools in Aberdeen; Robert Gordon's College, Albyn School for Girls (co-educational as of 2005), St Margaret's School for Girls, the Hamilton School (a Montessori school), the Total French School (for French oil industry families), the International School of Aberdeen and a Waldorf/Steiner School.

Culture

The city has a wide range of cultural activities, amenities and museums. The city is regularly visited by Scotland's National Arts Companies. The Aberdeen Art Gallery houses a collection of Impressionist, Victorian, Scottish and twentieth Century British paintings as well as collections of silver and glass. It also includes The Alexander Macdonald Bequest, a collection of late nineteenth century works donated by the museum's first benefactor and a constantly changing collection of contemporary work and regular visiting exhibitions.

Museums and galleries

The Aberdeen Maritime Museum, located in Shiprow, tells the story of Aberdeen's links with the sea from the days of sail and clipper ships to the latest oil and gas exploration technology. It includes an high model of the Murchison oil production platform and a nineteenth century assembly taken from Rattray Headlighthouse.

Provost Ross' House is the second oldest dwelling house in the city. It was built in 1593 and became the residence of Provost John Ross of Arnage in 1702. The house retains some original medieval features, including a kitchen, fire places and beam-and-board ceilings. The Gordon Highlanders Museum tells the story of one of Scotland's best known regiments.

Marischal Museum holds the principal collections of the University of Aberdeen, comprising some 80,000 items in the areas of fine art, Scottish history and archaeology, and European, Mediterranean & Near Eastern archaeology. The permanent displays and reference collections are augmented by regular temporary exhibitions.

Performing arts

Aberdeen is home to a host of events and festivals including the Aberdeen International Youth Festival (the world's largest arts festival for young performers), Aberdeen Jazz Festival, Rootin' Aboot (folk and roots music event based at the Lemon Tree), Triptych, and the University of Aberdeen's literature festival Word.

In 2006 Simon Farquhar's play Rainbow Kiss was staged at London's Royal Court Theatre. Directed by Richard Wilson and starring Joe McFadden and Dawn Steele, the play was an uncompromising depiction of Aberdeen life which, despite its strong sexual and violent content, won rave reviews from the liberal press and was applauded by MP for Aberdeen South Anne Begg.

Music and film

Aberdeen's music scene includes a variety of live music venues including pubs, clubs, and church choirs. The bars of Belmont Street are particularly known for featuring live music. Cèilidhs are also common in the city's halls. The many popular venues include The Moorings, The Lemon Tree, Drummonds, Moshulu (now owned by Barfly), Snafu, The Tunnels, the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, and Aberdeen Music Hall.

Notable Aberdonian musicians include Evelyn Glennie and Annie Lennox. Contemporary composers John McLeod and Martin Dalby also hail from Aberdeen.

Cultural cinema, educational work and local film events are provided by The Belmont Picturehouse on Belmont Street, Peacock Visual Arts and The Foyer.

Open spaces

Aberdeen has long been famous for its 45 outstanding parks and gardens, and citywide floral displays which include two million roses, eleven million daffodils and three million crocuses. The city has won the Royal Horticultural Society's Britain in Bloom 'Best City' award ten times, the overall Scotland in Bloom competition twenty times and the large city category every year since 1968. At one point after winning a period of nine years straight, Aberdeen was banned from the Britain in Bloom competition to give another city a chance. The city won the 2006 Scotland in Bloom "Best City" award along with the International Cities in Bloom award. The suburb of Dyce also won the Small Towns award.

Duthie Park opened in 1899 on the north bank of the river Dee. It was named after and gifted to the city by Miss Elizabeth Crombie Duthie of Ruthrieston in 1881. It has extensive gardens, a rose hill, boating pond, bandstand, and play area as well as Europe's second largest enclosed gardens the David Welch Winter Gardens. Hazlehead Park, is large and forested, located on the outskirts of the city, it is popular with walkers in the forests, sports enthusiasts, naturalists and picnickers. There are football pitches, two golf courses, a pitch and putt course and a horse riding school.

Aberdeen's success in the Britain in Bloom competitions is often attributed to Johnston Gardens, a small park of one hectare in the west end of the city containing many different flowers and plants which have been renowned for their beauty. The garden was in 2002, named the best garden in Britain.

Seaton Park, formerly the grounds of a private house, is on the edge of the grounds of St Machar's Cathedral. The Cathedral Walk is maintained in a formal style with a great variety of plants providing a popular display. The park includes several other areas with contrasting styles to this.

Union Terrace Gardens opened in 1879 and is situated in the centre of the city. It is a popular rendezvous location in the heart of the city and is filled with trees of over 200 years old and flowers arranged in the city's coat of arms in summer.

Situated next to each other, Victoria Park and Westburn Park cover 26 acres 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 a grass boules lawn.

Dialect

Listen to recordings of a speaker of Scots from Aberdeen The local dialect of Lowland Scots is often known as the Doric, and is spoken not just in the city, but across the north-east of Scotland. It differs somewhat from other Scots dialects most noticeable are the pronunciation f for what is normally written wh and ee for what in standard English would usually be written oo (Scots ui). Every year the annual Doric Festival takes place in Aberdeenshire to celebrate the history of the north-east's language. As with all Scots dialects in urban areas, it is not spoken as widely as it used to be in Aberdeen.

Media

Aberdeen is home to Scotland's oldest newspaper the Press and Journal, first published in 1747. The Press and Journal and its sister paper the Evening Express are printed six days a week by Aberdeen Journals. There are three free newspapers: Aberdeen Record PM, Aberdeen Citizen and Aberdeen Independent.

BBC Scotland has a small building in Aberdeen's Beechgrove area, and BBC Aberdeen produces the Beechgrove Garden television and radio programmes. The city is home for the STV headquarters alongside Glasgow, which has replaced Grampian Television and Scottish Television. The local news programme North Tonight is produced from the STV Aberdeen headquarters and broadcasted to northern Scotland.

There are three commercial radio stations operating within the city, Northsound Radio, which runs Northsound One and Northsound Two, and independent station Original 106. Other radio stations include NECR FM (North-East Community Radio FM) DAB station and shmu FM , managed by Station House Media Unit which supports community members to run Aberdeen's first (and only) full-time community radio station, broadcasting on FM.

Sport

Football

The Scottish Premier League football club, Aberdeen F.C. play at Pittodrie. The club won the European Cup Winners Cup and the European Super Cup in 1983 and the Scottish Premier League Championship four times (1955, 1980, 1984 and 1985), the Scottish Cup seven times (1947, 1970, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986 and 1990).

The other senior team is Cove Rangers F.C. of the Highland Football League (HFL), who play at Allan Park in the suburb of Cove Bay, although they will be moving to Calder Park once it is built to boost their chances of getting into the Scottish Football League. Cove won the HFL championship in 2001 and 2008. There was also a historic senior team Bon Accord F.C. who no longer play. Local junior teams include Banks O' Dee F.C., Culter F.C., F.C. Stoneywood, Glentanar F.C. and Hermes F.C..

Rugby

Aberdeen hosted Caledonia Reds a Scottish rugby franchise, before they merged with the Glasgow Warriors in 1998. The city is also home to the BT Premiership Division Two rugby club Aberdeen GSFP RFC who play at Rubislaw Playing Fields, and Aberdeenshire RFC which was founded in 1875 and runs Junior, Senior Mens, Senior Landies and Touch sections from the Woodside Sports Complex and also Aberdeen Wanderers RFC. Former Wanderers' player Jason White was captain of the Scotland national rugby union team.

Golf

The Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, founded in 1780 and the oldest golf club in Aberdeen, hosted the Senior British Open in 2005. The club has a second course, and there are public golf courses at Auchmill, Balnagask, Hazlehead and King's Links. The 1999 winner of the The Open Championship, Paul Lawrie, hails from the city.

Swimming

The City of Aberdeen Swim Team (COAST) is based in Northfield swimming pool and has been in operation since 1996. The team comprises several smaller swimming clubs, and has enjoyed success throughout Scotland and in international competitions. Three of the team's swimmers qualified for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Other sports

The city council operates public tennis courts in various parks including an indoor tennis centre at Westburn Park. The Beach Leisure Centre is home to a climbing wall and gymnasium and there are numerous swimming pools dotted around the city notably the largest, the Bon-Accord Baths.

Public services

Aberdeen's health is provided for most people by NHS Scotland through the NHS Grampian health board. Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is the main hospital in the city, with the Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital for children, the Royal Cornhill Hospital for mental health and the Woodend Hospital and Woolmanhill Hospitals.

Privately there is the Albyn Hospital on Albyn Place which is owned and operated by BMI Healthcare.

Aberdeen City Council is responsible for city owned infrastructure which is paid for by a mixture of council tax and income from HM Treasury. Infrastructure and services run by the council include: clearing snow in winter, maintaining parks, refuse collection, sewage, street cleaning and street lighting. Infrastructure in private hands includes electricity, gas and telecoms. Water supplies are provided by Scottish Water.

Twin Towns

- Regensburg, Germany (1955)
- Clermont-Ferrand, France (1983)
- Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (1986)
- Stavanger, Norway (1990)
- Gomel, Belarus (1990)

Notable people

Fictional references

  • Stuart MacBride's crime novels, Cold Granite, Dying Light, Broken Skin and Flesh House (a series with main protagonist, DS Logan MacRae) are all set in Aberdeen. DS Logan MacRae is a Grampian Police officer and locations found in the books can be found in Aberdeen and the surrounding countryside.
  • A large part of the plot of the World War II spy thriller Eye of the Needle takes place in wartime Aberdeen, from which a German spy is trying to escape to a submarine waiting offshore.
  • Stuart Home's sex and literary obsessed contemporary novel 69 Things to Do with a Dead Princess is set in Aberdeen

See also

References

Further reading

  • Brown, Chris (2002). The Battle of Aberdeen 1644. Tempus Publishing.
  • Carter, Jennifer (1994). Crown and Gown: Illustrated History of the University of Aberdeen, 1495-1995. Aberdeen University Press.
  • Fraser, W. Hamish (2000). Aberdeen, 1800 to 2000: A New History. Tuckwell Press.
  • A Thousand Years of Aberdeen. Aberdeen University Press.

Peter Innes - Fit Like New York? An Irreverent History of Rock and Pop Music in Aberdeen and North East Scotland. Publisher The Evening Express, 1998

External links

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