Top 21 Quirky & Secret Facts about Aberdeen – We can’t explore Aberdeen, but Skene House has been based here for over forty years welcoming guests, so we know this city pretty well. Think you know Aberdeen? Here are 21 top facts that may surprise you.
1 Firstly, we’re so grateful to the work being done at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. We just discovered that it was opened in 1936 by the Duke and Duchess of York, who went onto inherit the crown after the abdication of Edward VIII.
2 Lord Byron, the romantic devil, known for his poetry and travels across Europe, was actually schooled and brought up in Aberdeen. A statue of him stands proud in the grounds of Aberdeen Grammar School.
3 Aberdeen is home to the oldest company in Britain. Aberdeen Harbour Board was established in 1136 and, according to the Guinness book of records, is the oldest company in Britain.
4 Aberdeen is a wonderfully green city with over 40 parks and gardens. It has won the prestigious Britain in Bloom title so many times, we’ve virtually lost count. The city’s head gardener David Welch, was headhunted by the Royal Gardens no less!
5 It’s said that Madame Butterfly is based upon the Aberdeen businessman Thomas Glover, who lived and worked in Japan and was instrumental in the success of Mitsubishi.
6 Aberdeen is the only international arm of the Nuart street art festival that originated in Stavanger, Norway. The festival usually runs in April, and street art is now peppered around the city, including this Falling Man piece, just metres down the road from Skene House Rosemount. The building is part of the Skene Group, and we love what’s been done with it.
7 Aberdeen has an unexpected and shameful story dating back to the 18th century. Children were kidnapped off the streets, then transported and sold as servants/slaves overseas. The only reason the truth came out was the fact that one such child, Peter Williamson, miraculously made his way back to Scotland as an adult and told his story. When it’s open, it’s possible to discover more at the Tolbooth museum in the Castlegate.
8 The famous ditty, the Northern Lights of Aberdeen, was written relatively recently, in the 1950s. The composer was an Englishwoman named Mary Webb.
9 Scotland’s oldest maze can be found at Hazlehead Park in Aberdeen. It was opened in 1935, and it’s still popular with adults and children alike.
10 Tessa Jowell, the politician, was schooled in Aberdeen, attending St Margaret’s. Michael Gove was also born in Aberdeen and currently serves prominently in the Conservative Government. And the new Shadow Chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, is an Aberdonian.
11 Aberdeen Central Library was opened as far back as 1892. Andrew Carnegie was a donor, and he attended the opening in person. Skene House Rosemount is just up the road.
12 Two globally renowned opera singers come from Aberdeen. The glamorous Mary Garden and the talented Lisa Milne.
13 The University of Aberdeen predates Edinburgh’s uni. It was the fifth university to be established in the UK, and Scotland’s third university, opened after St Andrew’s and Glasgow.
14 Aberdeen won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1983, beating Real Madrid – go on you Reds!!
15 Aberdeen has sadly been in lockdown before. In 1964 a bout of Typhoid struck the city. The outbreak was said to have originated from a tin of corned beef.
16 The elegant His Majesty’s Theatre opened in December 1906. It’s just metres down the road from Skene House Rosemount, and we were surprised to hear that the very first show was Little Red Riding Hood.
17 Aberdeen Journal (now the Press and Journal) is one of the oldest newspapers going, dating back to 1748. Read all about it…
18 The Beatles visited Aberdeen in 1963, playing the Beach Ballroom. Very rock n roll!
19 You may expect Scotland’s capital or perhaps Glasgow to have felt the brunt of the air raids during WW2. In fact Aberdeen experienced the most raids in Scotland with 34 attacks, followed by Fraserburgh/Peterhead, and Edinburgh was next in line, with 23 terrifying raids.
20 A strange claim to fame – until relatively recently, Rubislaw Quarry was the deepest manmade hole in Europe. Roughly six million tonnes of granite were excavated from the quarry. Who knew?
21 For state architectural beauty take a walk to Rosemount Square. This curvaceous council creation features bas-reliefs of the Spirit of the Wind and the Spirit of Rain. Situated just up the road from Skene House Rosemount, externally it reveals that the council can create things of eye-catching beauty.
If you’d like to discover more quirky facts about the Granite City from your armchair, then we’d recommend you dip into ‘Hidden Aberdeen’ by Dr Fiona-Jane Brown, and ‘Jack Webster’s Aberdeen’. For now, stay at home, and stay safe.
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