Aberdeen City


Principal Town: Aberdeen
Population (1991):
Area (hectares): 18216
Entry Updated: 09-MAY-2022
Local Authority Contact Information

Address: Aberdeen City Council
Town House
Broad Street
AB10 1FY
Aberdeen City lies at a latitude of 57° 9' N, occupying, for the most part, undulating land between the mouths of the River Don to the north and the River Dee to the south. Beyond the outskirts of the city centre are a number of commuter settlements such as Bucksburn, Dyce, Bridge of Don, Cults, Milltimber, and Peterculter whose origins are either agricultural or industrial. While some 50 per cent of Aberdeen city is open countryside, given over to arable farming or grassland, one third of its total land area is urban. The underlying geology is largely metamorphic quartzose mica schist of the Dalradian period with some intrusive igneous granites. The Hill of Rubislaw 2 miles (3 km) northeast of the Bridge of Dee provided the city with grey granite building stone for over 200 years until its closure in 1971, the quarry being described as 'the biggest granite hole in Europe'.
Granted a royal charter by William the Lion in 1179, Aberdeen grew up as two separate burghs - Old Aberdeen at the mouth of the Don and New Aberdeen, a fishing and trading settlement where the Denburn entered the Dee estuary. In 1495 William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen (1483 - 1514), founded King's College to teach theology, medicine and the liberal arts. Named in honour of King James IV, its first principal was the distinguished historian and humanist, Hector Boece.

A century later in 1593 the Protestant George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal, founded the University of Marischal College which boasts the world's second largest granite building. The two universities were eventually united in 1860. Robert Gordon's College, which was founded in 1730 and became a noted centre for the teaching of education, was constituted as a university in 1992.

Dominated by oil and gas-related industries, engineering, fish processing, papermaking, textiles, information technology and construction and transport industries, Aberdeen City has industrial sites to the south of the Dee at West Tullos, East Tullos, Altens, Wellington Road and Lochside; to the south of the Don at Mastrick, St Machar and Mugiemoss Road; and to the north of the Don at Bridge of Don, Denmore and Dyce.

In 1971 there were 94,700 people employed in the city. By 1998 this figure had risen to 150,000, a third of whom worked in oil-related industries. Aberdeen is Scotland's primary fish processing centre and at its Offshore Technology Park and Science and Technology Park innovative research is undertaken by a range of private companies whose work complements the research carried out by Aberdeen's two universities and eight scientific institutes.

References and Further Reading
Brogden, W.A. (1986) Aberdeen: An Illustrated Architectural Guide. Scottish Academic Press and the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, Edinburgh
Keith, Alexander (1987) A Thousand Years of Aberdeen. Aberdeen University Press
Peck, Sir Edward (1981) North-East Scotland. John Bartholomew & Sons Ltd., Edinburgh
Sharples, Joseph, David W. Walker and Matthew Woodworth (2015) The Buildings of Scotland: Aberdeenshire: South and Aberdeen. Yale University Press, New Haven and London
Shepherd, Ian (1996) Exploring Scotland's Heritage: Aberdeen and North East Scotland. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and HMSO, Edinburgh

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