Aberdeen City

Footdee, Aberdeen
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Footdee, Aberdeen

A picturesque and characterful former fishing village, within the City of Aberdeen, Footdee (or Fittie) lies on the left bank of the River Dee, at the entrance to Aberdeen Harbour, a half-mile (1 km) east of the city centre. The name derives from St. Fittick (or St. Fotin) rather than the 'foot of the Dee'. Although Footdee dates back at least to Mediaeval times, the present planned settlement was laid out on the instructions of Aberdeen Town Council in 1809 to rehouse fishermen and their families. It comprised twenty-eight single-storey thatched cottages, built around two squares (North Square and South Square) to designs by architect John Smith (1781 - 1852). Further cottages were added as Middle Row, which divided South Square c.1837, and Pilot Square was built for harbour pilots and their families at the southern end of the development around 1855. The houses were sold to their tenants in the 1880s, resulting in higgledy-piggledy development around the four squares. A number of the little houses have been raised by one, two or even three storeys. The squares are now filled with rows of outhouses (or 'tarry sheds') mostly gentrified to form pretty summer houses with small gardens. In the centre of North Square, surrounded by a drying green, is Footdee Mission Hall which dates from 1870 by William Smith (1817-90).The Roundhouse and the Marine Control Centre, associated with Aberdeen Harbour lie to the south, together with a War Memorial on Pocra Quay.

Footdee now represents a Conservation Area, and properties are all individually listed in recognition of their importance as examples of the vernacular architectural style.

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