Saturday, 7 June 2014

Aberdeen - the dour city

Scotland's third city - Britain's 38th. Aberdeen is a strange place, granite-grey and gloomy; and rich. It is the capital of the North Sea oil and gas industry. I visited Aberdeen this week while Warsaw sweltered in late-spring sunshine - in north-eastern Scotland it was heavy rain and a mere 11C. Still, an interesting place to visit. First impressions - vast numbers of immigrants - from America, France, Portugal, Lithuania - and of course, Poland. Second impressions - the unremitting gloom. Let me share some of it with you...

Aberdeen, granite city, is a city of turrets. The Scottish Baronial style, harking back romantically to the Mediaeval era, with battlements, crenellations and corbelled turrets aplenty, is to be seen everywhere. Stone dominates - hardly any Bricktorian architecture to be seen anywhere.

A busy, wealthy city, driven by the economy's desire to extract more oil and gas from the North Sea, despite falling reserves. The second-fastest growing house prices in the UK after London, lots of young men driving too fast in expensive cars.

Local HQ of transport company First Group, on King St.

Erroll St Cemetary gatehouse

Looking south along King St towards the city centre. Greyness abounds.

East North St becomes West North St. Grim edifices project respectability.

Castlegate, and in the middle of the photo, the mercat (market) cross.

Putting out the flags of the world's nations to relieve the gloom on Union St.

The former Kingsway Cinema, with Art Deco entrance; now a bingo hall

The Bridge of Don; looking across the Don Estuary towards the North Sea

Marischal St. In the distance, Aberdeen Harbour.

The Tivoli Variety Theatre, Guild St, restored to glory, venue to plays once again.

Urquhart Rd. The walls adorned not by hanging baskets but satellite dishes.

To the left, the 1898 headquarters of the Shore Porters Society, set up in 1497;

The Station Hotel, very Baronial.

Aberdeen Station - platform 7N for north.

Aberdeen Harbour, like the airport, extremely busy thanks to oil and gas.
A fascinating and very different city to visit, quite a contrast with genteel Edinburgh or rough-and-ready Glasgow.

This time two years ago:
Fans fly in for the football

This time three years ago:
Cara al Sol - part II

This time four years ago:
Still struggling with the floodwaters

This time five years ago:
European elections - and I buy used D40

The time six years ago:
To the Vistula, by bike

This time seven years ago:
Poppy profusion

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

if you think Aberdeen is dour just wait till you visit Dundee - most gloomy city in the first world