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The Puffing Briggie
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The Puffing Briggie

Historic Photographs
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The Puffing Briggie
Historic Photographs
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The Puffing Briggie
A scene of change and renovation in the Denburn Valley. The image looks south from Union Bridge over the suburban platforms of the old Aberdeen Joint Railway Station. The old station's large, curved roof can be seen in the background.

The area we are looking at has seen much change since this time. It is now largely covered by the 1960s retail development on the south side of the bridge, the later Trinity Centre, the development of Wapping Street and Denburn Road, and the building of Atholl House. Though many of the buildings of note we can see in this image are still visible today.

The tall buildings on the far right are the rear of those on Bridge Street. The small street in front of them, going up to Guild Street, is the start of College Street. It is now a partially pedestrianised lane that goes under Wapping Street. The building at the top of this street is the classical style suburban ticket office, built 1909 and now home to Tiffany Hair & Beauty.

Going west along Guild Street's two span road bridge we come to the Great North of Scotland Railway Company's headquarters. This was designed by architects Ellis & Wilson and built in 1894. It is now part of the Station Hotel, along with number 78 next door. The building retains many of its original features. The Guild Street entrance to the Trinity Centre now runs along the western side of this building.

The image also shows features that are no longer present. The covered walkway that can be seen on the near right of the image enabled direct access from the station's central platform to the Palace Hotel on Union Street. The hotel was owned by the Great North of Scotland Railway Co. (GNSR). The walkway was vaulted to pass over the tracks at sufficient height.

Consulting The Joint Station: Aberdeen Station, 1867-1992 (c1992), this image probably dates from 1912 when, in additional to commencing the reconstruction of the Joint Station, the GNSR also laid new loading docks and carriage storage siding in the Hadden Mills site (left of image). This was to ensure that the main station buildings were used purely for passenger traffic.

The walkway that linked Windmill Brae and the Green, known affectionately as the Puffing Briggie, can be seen in the centre of the image. It looks like a section on the left has been temporarily demolished as part of the ongoing work.

The sidings on the extreme left were used for cleaning carriages in the later 20th century. One of our correspondents recounts using the often-unattended carriages, accessible when entering the station from the Green, as an unusually exciting and plush playground during their youth in the late-1940s.
Aberdeen City Centre
Transport, Railways
B13_02
Aberdeen Local Studies
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