Aberdeen - The City
Aberdeen is the third largest city in Scotland with a thriving cosmopolitan atmosphere and a diverse range of culture, history and leisure activities. Aberdeen, also known as the Granite City, is home to around 215,000 people, with 15,000 students - providing an excellent student lifestyle and workplace.
Aberdeen at Night
The city has a variety of bars and clubs to suit all tastes. On any day of the week you are guaranteed a great night out and are likely to pick up some student deals. Eating out is not a problem with over 300 restaurants to choose from. If you enjoy movies, Aberdeen has three multi-screen cinemas. For lovers of music and the arts, visit His Majesty´s Theatre, the Music Hall, Aberdeen Arts Centre, Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre (AECC) or the Lemon Tree – all catering for different tastes.
For the more energetic, there´s a large range of leisure centres, gyms and swimming pools, and if you enjoy the outdoors, Aberdeen offers the best of both worlds with the coast and mountains on its doorstep. You could be windsurfing or sailing in the morning and skiing or hill-climbing in the afternoon!
Aberdeen is home to major retail outlets, department stores and supermarkets. In addition to the main shopping area, Union Street, there are four large shopping centres in the city. You don't need to break the bank, as there are always bargains on offer!
Value for Money
Aberdeen is cheaper to live in than Edinburgh and Glasgow and if you need to top up your finances there is plenty part-time and holiday work to be had. For further information visit: www.agtb.org or www.thisisnorthscotland.co.uk.
FASCINATING FACTS FROM ABERDEEN CITY AND SHIRE
NOTABLE FIRSTS AND GREATS
The Kirk of St Nicholas houses the largest carillon in Britain, consisting of 48 bells.
Rubislaw Quarry is one of the largest man-made holes in Europe.
Robert Davidson of Aberdeen is recognised for his pioneering work in developing electric motors in the early 19th Century.
A pit uncovered in Ship Row, under the modern extension to the Maritime Museum, has been dated to the first century AD.
The Cutty Sark, the famous clipper ship now berthed in London, was designed by Hercules Linton, who was born in Inverbervie in 1834.
The fastest sailing boat ever, the Thermopylae, was built in Aberdeen in 1868.
The first stern trawler “Fairtry” was built in Aberdeen in 1954.
The Scottish Samurai, Thomas Blake Glover (1838 – 1911) was born in Fraserburgh and moved to the Bridge of Don area on Aberdeen as a child. One of the founders of Japan’s industrial revolution, which has led to the country’s present-day prosperity, he is a national hero in Japan, and was the first non-Japanese to be awarded the Order of the Rising Sun. One of his many affairs inspired Puccini’s opera, Madame Butterfly.
Patrick Gordon from Aberdeen was the principal military instructor of Peter the Great of Russia. Patrick was born at Auchleuchries and attended school in Ellon and Cruden before emigrating.
Sir David Gill, who took the first photograph of the moon in 1868, was born in Aberdeen.
George Washington Wilson, one of the pioneers of Victorian photography, was born in the North-East of Scotland.
Bertie Forbes, founder of the Forbes publishing empire, was born in New Deer Aberdeenshire in 1880
Union Street is named to commemorate the Union of Britain and Ireland.
More medieval coin hoards have been found in Aberdeen than anywhere else in Britain.
Aberdeen’s burgh records are the oldest in Scotland, dating back to 1398.
In 1807, the Reverend Alexander Forsyth, a Presbyterian Minister from Belhelvie, was at the forefront of weapons technology – he patented a new more reliable detonation system to ignite loose gun powder – until then gunpowder had been lit by a shower of sparks.
Sir Winston Churchill, recently voted the Greatest Briton of all time, was granted the Freedom of the City of Aberdeen in 1946. He also served as Lord Rector of the University of Aberdeen, and was an honorary graduate.
Joseph Rank, the founder of the Rank Milling empire, learnt the milling trade in Aberdeen.
The Scottish hosiery trade began in Aberdeen in the 17th century.
Coats made from Crombie cloth, the Aberdeen mills, have been worn in the British, United States and Russian armies.
An Aberdeen shoemaker was the first to fit rubber heels.
The first person to can salmon was John Weir of Aberdeen.
Craigievar Castle was the model for Walt Disney’s fairytale castles.
In 1942 the people of Aberdeen raised over £2m to pay for the building of HMS Scylla as part of the war effort. That’s the equivalent of £57m today. Aberdeen’s adopted warship was granted the Freedom of the City in 1992 and is now Europe’s first artificial reef.
Reel of Tulioch one of Scotland’s most famous Highland dances was invented by the congregation of a church in Tulioch when the minister was late for a service and they were unable to gain access to the church.
Opera star Mary Garden was born in Aberdeen in 1874.
In 1905, Aberdeen City Fire Brigade purchased Scotland’s first motorised fire appliance.
The National Hyperbaric Centre (NHC) is Europe’s leading hyperbaric testing, training and research centre, and is located at the heart of the North Sea offshore oil and gas industry in Aberdeen.
Aberdeen City and Shire is the home of two of the gold medal winners from the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. David Carry won gold in the men’s 400 metres freestyle and 400 metres individual medley; silver in the 4x200 metres freestyle relay and bronze in the 4x100 metres freestyle relay. He is the first Scottish swimmer to achieve the Commonwealth gold double since David Wilkie in 1974 – who also hails from Aberdeen.
Sheena Sharp from Huntly won gold in both the women’s 50 metres rifle prone, and the 50 metres rifle prone pairs with Edinburgh’s Susan Jackson.
The World Champion curler, Jackie Lockhart, is from Stonehaven.
Aberdeen Football Club is the only Scottish team to win two European trophies (European Cup winners Cup and European Super Cup, 1983).
Donald Coleman invented the dugout at Pittodrie in 1923.
Pittodrie Stadium was the first all seater stadium in Scotland.
Aberdeen Football Club was founded more than a century ago in 1903.
Denis Law, Scotland’s joint top goal scorer, is an Aberdonian.
Water polo began around 1863 on the River Dee in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Aberdeen City and Shire has 52 golf clubs, one for every week of the year. The current course portfolio comprises 52 eighteen-hole, 17 nine-hole and a single 12-hole facility.
The region’s golf heritage also includes many of the oldest golf clubs and courses in the world. Among the most notable in this respect are Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, the sixth oldest in the world (1780), Peterhead, founded in 1841 and the 18th oldest golf club in the world, Cullen Golf Club (1870) and Newburgh on Ythan Golf Course (1888).
Other notable courses in the area include Hazelhead Number One and Duff House Royal Golf Course, both designed by Dr Alistair McKenzie of Augusta National fame.
The University of Aberdeen has been ranked as one of the 200 top universities in the world by the Times Higher Educational Supplement.
The University of Aberdeen has produced three Nobel prize winners and shared a fourth.
In the last decade The Robert Gordon University (RGU) has consistently been one of the top universities in the UK for graduate employment.
RGU has the third highest level of overseas students in Scotland.
Aberdeen College is Scotland’s largest Further Education College.
Aberdeen Grammar School was founded in 1263 and is one of the oldest schools in Britain.
By 1858 Aberdeen had two universities, the same number as the whole of England.
James Clerk Maxwell, the father of electronics, and Nobel prize winning G. P. Thomson were professors at the University of Aberdeen.
The Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen has produced 3 Nobel Laureates.
The University of Aberdeen's Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies is the first of its kind in the world for graduate study and research on the history, language, literature and culture of Ireland and Scotland.
The Robert Gordon University launched the UK's first degree course in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.
Scientists at the University of Aberdeen developed the world's first underwater holographic camera, which can take three-dimensional pictures.
University of Aberdeen is Scotland’s third oldest (founded in 1495) and the fifth oldest in the UK.
Thomas Reid: one of the Scottish Enlightenment's most influential philosophers and whose work influenced the foundations of the American Republic was a graduate and tutor at the University of Aberdeen.
The first Chair of Medicine in the English speaking world was established at the University of Aberdeen more than 500 years ago (1497).
The Department of Chemistry at the University of Aberdeen was established in 1793 and is one of the oldest Chemistry departments in the UK.
The oldest Chair in Mathematical Sciences dates back to 1505 and is a continuation of one of the four original University Regents.
Aberdeen University has the only General Engineering department in Scotland.
The University of Aberdeen holds 400 single and multiple patents, and in 2003, produced 17% of all patents in Scotland.
Aberdeen scientists and clinicians led the world with the development of MRI clinical scanning and made the critical discoveries that made MRI machines possible.
Hans Kosterlitz’s team at the University of Aberdeen discovered endorphins.
Roger Pertwee’s team at the University of Aberdeen is currently the world's leading group researching cannabinoids drugs and is responsible for identifying receptors in the brain.
Alexander Gordon, Aberdeen Medical School, in 1795 was the first to recognize the mechanism of transmission of puerperal fever during child birth.
Alexander Ogston, University of Aberdeen graduate and Professor of Surgery at the University, was the discoverer of Staphylococcus aureus – the organism known today as MRSA.
Scientists at the University of Aberdeen are credited with the co–discovery of insulin.
Robert Henderson designed the first iron lung, in Aberdeen, in 1933.
LITERARY and MEDIA
Lewis Grassic Gibbon, author of the Scottish classic, A Sunset Song, about life in the Mearns countryside, was born in Aberdeenshire.
Slains Castle in Cruden Bay was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Dunottar Castle near Stonehaven was the location for Zeffirelli’s Hamlet, starring Mel Gibson and Glenn Close.
The Aberdeen Press & Journal first appeared in 1747. It is the world’s third oldest English Language paper. It is Britain’s biggest regional morning and the fourth largest regional newspaper on the British mainland.
Prince Charles’ story, the Old Man of Lochnagar, was inspired by the countryside surrounding the Queen’s Scottish home at Balmoral Castle. The Prince read the story on the BBC TV children’s programme, Jackanory.
The film Local Hero was partly filmed in the Aberdeenshire village of Pennan.
Robert Burns forefathers are from Mearns – his father William moved from the area to Ayr. Robert Burns visited Laurencekirk and Stonehaven in later years, and a large Cairn by the A90 commemorates the family’s connection with the area.
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Treasure Island while staying in Braemar in the summer of 1881.
Lord Byron lived in Aberdeen in his early life. He lived in Broad Street Aberdeen and went to Aberdeen Grammar School. Named George Gordon Byron after his grandfather, George Gordon of Gight, an Aberdeenshire laird, Byron bore Royal blood, descended through his mother from King James 1. In his epic poem, Dark Lochnagar, he described the ‘steep frowning glories’ of one of Deeside’s most famous mountains.
The Music Hall can claim to be Aberdeen’s first cinema. Just nine months after the first public demonstration of the kinematograph by the Lumieres brothers in Paris, 18 short films were shown on the 28th, 29th and 30th September 1896, including one that featured hand stencilled colour.
TOURISM AND LEISURE
Aberdeenshire hosts the greatest number of Highland Games in Scotland – the Braemar Gathering, is attended by the Queen and other members of the Royal family each year whilst the Lonach Gathering is usually attended by Billy Connolly, who has a home in the area, and his celebrity guests.
Aberdeen has won the Britain in Bloom contest a record ten times.
Planted in 1935, the maze in Hazlehead Park is Scotland’s oldest.
Over 100,000 roses grow in the rose mound at Duthie Park.
Aberdeen City has 231 pubs, 55 clubs, 52 restaurants, and 45 hotels.
Marischal College on Broad Street is the second largest granite building in the world (after the Escorial, Madrid)
Waterloo Bridge and the Terraces of the Houses of Parliament are built of Aberdeen granite.
640,000 cubic feet of Aberdeen granite went into the construction of the Forth Rail Bridge.
Aberdeen has three cathedrals, St Andrew’s, St Mary’s and St Machar’s – the latter two being two of only three granite cathedrals in the world. St Machar’s Cathedral (early 15th century) is the world’s oldest granite cathedral.
Torry Point Battery, recently scheduled as an Ancient Monument by the Scottish Ministers, was used as emergency housing for the people of Aberdeen after WWII.
James Gibbs, architect of St Martin-in-the-Fields and St Bartholomew's Hospital in London, was born in Footdee (Fittie).
Charles Cameron from Aberdeen designed many buildings in Leningrad during the reign of Catherine the Great.
Union Bridge in the centre of Aberdeen is the largest single-span granite arch in the world.
The Brig o' Balgownie is Scotland's oldest medieval bridge dating from 1286, although it took over 40 years to complete.
Robert Louis Stevenson’s grandfather, Robert Stevenson, designed Girdleness Lighthouse at the mouth of the River Dee.
Aberdeen City and Shire has the greatest concentration of food and drink companies in the country (approximately 20 percent) and is known as Scotland’s Larder. It is the largest manufacturing sector for the region. The value of food and drink exports from the region is valued at £110.7m excluding whisky – around 27% of all food and drink exports from Scotland.
Aberdeen Harbour Board, established in 1136, is Britain's oldest business.
The Shore Porters Society of Aberdeen was founded in 1498. Still trading today, it is the world's oldest documented transport company.
In the late 19th Century Aberdeen was the British centre for envelope production.
The self-seal envelope was developed in Aberdeen.
Aberdeen City and Shire has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country (1.4% in March 2006).
Aberdeen City and Shire has the highest concentration of knowledge workers after London
The commercial importance of Aberdeen from an early date is illustrated by the fact that it was the first Scottish town outside Edinburgh to have its own bank – the Aberdeen Banking Company founded in 1749.
Aberdeen City and Shire has the greatest proportion of new business bank accounts in Scotland and more VAT registered businesses per thousand population than Scotland and UK.
Aberdeen is the second most competitive location to do business in, in the UK.
The highest concentration of life scientists in Europe is to be found in the Aberdeen area.
More than half the oil in the North Sea has still to be developed.
The Shearwater Platform for Shell was the heaviest industrial structure to have been lifted in the UK. It is now located 180 miles out in the North Sea.
TotalFinaElf set a number of records with the development of the Elgin field. It is the deepest field at 17,500 feet below seabed and the hottest at 190 degrees C.
Aberdeen is the fastest growing BAA airport in Scotland.
Aberdeen has the busiest civilian heliport in Europe.
Aberdeen has the greatest percentage of people in the UK with personal number plates on their cars.
The average weekly earnings in 2005 in Aberdeen City and Shire (£541) are above the Scottish (£468) and UK (£518) average. The 20% highest paid earners in North East Scotland earn on average £724 per week. For Aberdeen City only, this figure is £771. These figures are higher than both the Scottish and Great Britain figures for the top 20% (£618 and £670 respectively - all at 2005).
AND A FEW OTHER THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW.
There are over 30 places named Aberdeen throughout the world. Eight of them are in the USA. Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, was from Aberdeen, Washington.
In 1808 the entire fishing village of Footdee (Fittie) was moved partly to accommodate harbour expansion and partly because the residents had requested it.
Aberdeen is home to Scotland's largest permanent funfair.
Doonies Farm has one of the largest collections in Scotland on endangered breeds of farm animals.
In his later life, Charlie Chaplin often stayed at the Torn a Coille Hotel in Banchory, accompanied by his wife, Oona.
Lawrence of Arabia sought sanctuary in the Aberdeenshire village of Collieston after his heroic exploits in the First World War.
Elvis Presley’s ancestors can be traced to the village of Lonmay in Aberdeenshire.
...And Scotty, the character from Star Trek who was chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise, claimed in one episode to be from Aberdeen.