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Diversion of the River Dee
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Diversion of the River Dee

Historic Photographs
David Oswald
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Diversion of the River Dee
Historic Photographs
Diversion of the River Dee
The Dee originally flowed northward from the Wellington Suspension Bridge close by the railway arches then eastward to the North Sea.

After years of discussion about the development of the harbour, the Aberdeen Harbour Act of 1868 allowed the Harbour Commissioners to divert the river to the south.

The first turf was cut by Lord Provost Leslie on 22nd December 1869 and when he had filled a wheelbarrow full of earth it was wheeled along and dumped on the site of the new development.

This 1870 image from the south, Torry side of the river, shows the dam built to allow the excavation of the new channel. Most of the work was done by hand with men digging with picks and shovels and filling horse drawn wagons with the excavated soil.

This laborious work continued for a few years. There does not seem to have been a formal inauguration of the new channel but the river was running in its new channel at the beginning of 1873.

After the slopes of the new channel had been built up with granite, the uneven ground left by the old course of the river was leveled and the area filled with fish curing works and other industrial premises.
Aberdeen Local Studies