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Rubislaw Quarry

Lying to the west of Aberdeen is Rubislaw Quarry, an immense void which once provided the building material for the 'Granite City', but also supplied its stone much further afield to be used, for example, in the old Waterloo Bridge in London, the Titanic Memorial in Liverpool, docks at Sebastopol, the New York Opera House and even a temple in Japan. The quarry represents a 142m (465 feet)-deep chasm, which closed in 1971. It is 120m (394 feet) in width and extends to 2.95 ha (7.3 acres). Opened in 1740, it is said to have produced some six million tonnes of grey muscovite-biotite granite during its 230 years of operation. Yet, in 1741, the quarry was sold by its owners, the city fathers of Aberdeen, for the princely sum of only £13 because it was not thought to be a good source of building stone. However, architects John Smith (1781 - 1852) and Archibald Simpson (1790 - 1847) were able to use the stone to great effect in their creation of the fine buildings of Aberdeen from the early 19th Century. Mineralogist Matthew Forster Heddle (1828-97) noted the quarry as a locality for fine specimens of the minerals tourmaline and beryl, crystals of the latter exceeding 0.3m (one foot) in length.

Today, the quarry is fenced in, hidden by a crown of trees and flooded to a depth of 55m (180 feet). In 2010 it was put on the market with a price tag of £30,000.


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