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Victoria Park
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Victoria Park

Historic Photographs
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Victoria Park
Historic Photographs
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Victoria Park
In 1871 Aberdeen Town Council decided to convert nearly 14 acres of Glennie's Parks, which had been used for cattle grazing, into a public recreation ground - Aberdeen's first public park.

Aberdeen's lack of a public park up to this point had become a contentious issue. For example, newspaper reports indicate that those opposed to the Municipality Extension Act of 1871 (which extended the boundary of the city, brought the functions of the Police Commissioners under the Council and incorporated the gasworks) repeatedly suggested that the expense involved in the new bill would be better used in the creation of a much wanted public park.

It is not unreasonable to suppose that this debate, and criticism of the Council, hastened the creation of Victoria Park. While work likely begun in 1871, it was not until March 1873 that the Improvements Committee of the Council recommended that the new park should be called "Victoria Park". At the same time, they also outlined a series of 13 rules and regulations for agreement by the full Council. There does not appear to have been an official opening for the new amenity.

Glennie's Park was not the only site considered for Aberdeen's first public park. Interest in such an undertaking was increasing at the same time as work was underway to divert the River Dee and improve the harbour. The new ground created in this latter project, encompassing the old, more northerly course of the river and the Inches, was a much proposed location for a park. Following the creation of Victoria Park this newly leveled ground was instead given over for buildings related to the expanding fishing industry.

A nurseryman called Robert Walker (1848-1930), originally from Perth, was chosen out of 450 candidates to be the city's first public park keeper and appointed to Victoria Park. He was likely largely responsible for the park's initial layout and appearance. His Press & Journal obituary (21/04/1930, p.6) suggests that prior to his appointment the site was "little better than a waste space".

Walker subsequently laid out Westburn Park, Stewart Park, Union Terrace Gardens and the Promenade. He also advocated and pioneered the planting of street trees. He served the Corporation for 46 years, retiring in 1919, and must be considered one of the unsung heroes of Aberdeen history.

This photograph, taken around 1900, shows one of the main paths leading to a large granite fountain, which was designed by J.B. Pirie. It is built of 14 different types of granite and was presented by the granite polishers and master builders of the city.

Since the park is almost in the city centre, it is an oasis of peace with its mature trees and, in spring, there are masses of flowering bulbs scattered through the grass.
Aberdeen
Parks and Gardens
C05_01
Aberdeen Local Studies
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