In Woodside as in the whole of Aberdeen it isn’t hard to find striking architectural and social contradictions. Old and elegant granite mansions are neighbouring with neglected council and modest sheltered housing buildings.
Congregational Church - the oldest church in Woodside is nothing more than a ruin now. In 1818 it took only a month for the community to gather enough funds to start the construction of the building. However the times have changed and with them the priorities of the community. There is no need for this place of worship anymore.
Perhaps The Cotton Chapel as the church as formerly known will be converted into the flats at some point, like the nearby temple designed by the top Aberdeen architect Archibald Simpson or perhaps it will be flattened down to create more parking places or another discount store?
Whatever will happen to this building, one is sure: pigeons – its current inhabitants will lose their home.
Woodside used to be a separate town until 1891 when it was annexed by Aberdeen.
According to the text of Churches of Aberdeen Printfield and Cotton were the names used by locals for this area due to its significant concentration of the textile industries along the River Don until the middle of the XIX century. The textile industries were replaced by the paper mills in the second half of the same century.
However the author of The Doric Columns states other origin of one of these names:
east of Don Street there was a (…) place called Upper Cotton. It had nothing to do with cotton or its manufacture, for it was a corruption of a Gaelic word “cuitan” meaning small fold.
Woodside was a home to a large Gaelic speaking community. Migrants from Highlands arrived to Aberdeen in search for work in the already mentioned textile industries and the granite quarries.
Despite its rich and interesting history Woodside was described in Aberdeen: An Illustrated Architectural Guide by Dr William Brodgenas alas, not a happy place now.
It isn’t a tourist destination is what I know for sure.
After I made these photographs I learned couple of interesting facts.
Famous Scottish footballer Denis Law aka “The King” or “The Lawman” was growing up in one of council houses just around the corner. These houses were build in 20’s and 30’s of the XX century to accommodate the city’s poor which lived in overcrowded conditions often without indoor toilet or were squatting in various areas of Aberdeen.
I will try to find out who is living there at the moment and also give you some more information or rather pictures connected with the air raid during which SBC 50 Cluster bomb and 50 KG phosphorus bomb detonate over the houses in Printfield Walk.
Stay tuned for more pictures from Woodside, share the blog with others and get in touch if you would like to share your story or show me around your neighbourhood in Aberdeen.