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Settmaker at Persley Quarry
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Settmaker at Persley Quarry

Historic Photographs
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Settmaker at Persley Quarry
Historic Photographs
Settmaker at Persley Quarry
The Aberdeen area had many granite quarries, and there was a need for men who had the skill to reduce huge blocks of granite into manageable pieces by chipping it with a variety of hammers, and chisels to produce the required shape and size. In this 1920's photograph we see a settmaker at Persley Quarry on the north side of the River Don in Aberdeen, at his wooden shelter or 'skaithie'. These shelters provided some sort of wind break for these men who had to sit on blocks of granite patiently working on the hard stone. Settmakers made cassies for roads and Aberdeen setts were used to pave streets in London. On his left is a tripod structure which acted like a small crane to lift the bigger stones into position. Note the lack of protective safety equipment apart from some extra padding on his knees.
Persley Den
Industries, Quarrying
Aberdeen Local Studies
Correspondent Graeme Reid has identified the settmaker as his great grandfather George Reid:

"This is my great grandfather George Reid. He was born in Furnace near Cumlodden, Argyllshire on the 3rd of October 1872 of Kemnay parents who then moved to Great Northern Road in Aberdeen.

He travelled some 14 times to the United states and worked in the quarry industry and married my great grandmother May in Vinyl Haven an island off of the coast of Maine.

He died the 8th of January 1947 and is buried in the Grove Cemetery along side May and my gramma and granda Reid, Martha and George.

When he lived in Great Norhern Road he used to catch the train from Woodside's station road to his work in Kemnay quarry and bought an old railway carriage from the loco works in Inverurie and lived in it during the week returning home after working Saturday morning. He had a patch of ground in Deer Road Woodside where he used to breed chickens.

We have lots of B&W photos of them all as it was the custom in those days to get family portraits taken.

As an addendum my grandmother Martha, who hailed from Dundee but lived in Aberdeen after marrying after WW1, used to work for Andrew Carnegie in New York and at Skibo Castle. An image of her was included in a book recently published by the Smithsonian Institute that records the history of Carnegie's Mansion house in New York."

[Life of a Mansion by Heather Ewing (2014) is published by the Smithsonian Design Museum]
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