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Treasure 9: Sketch of Proposed Denburn Gardens
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Treasure 9: Sketch of Proposed Denburn Gardens

Historic Documents
David Oswald
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Treasure 9: Sketch of Proposed Denburn Gardens
Historic Documents
Treasure 9: Sketch of Proposed Denburn Gardens
The future of Union Terrace Gardens has been the subject of much debate over the years and its original development also led to much discussion in Town Council meetings and in the local newspapers.

In 1868, the architect James Matthews suggested that the area of Union Terrace should be turned into a pleasure ground for the people and the following year this "Sketch of the Proposed Denburn Gardens", drawn by the land surveyor James Forbes Beattie, was published. It includes the area between Belmont Street to Union Terrace and from Union Street to the Royal Infirmary, Woolmanhill.

The gardens are shown laid out with paths and shrubbery but Beattie has also depicted the buildings in the surrounding streets, including the recently completed Belmont Street Congregational Church. Further to the north can be seen the spire and complex of the three churches built for the West, South and East Free Church congregations in 1843-44. The buildings which remain are currently known as the Triple Kirks.

A pedestrian bridge crosses the railway towards Union Terrace and the row of houses known as Denburn Terrace. These were demolished under the City Improvements Scheme of 1883 which eventually led to the construction of Rosemount Viaduct and would have stood on the site of the ornamental plot opposite the Central Library.

This plan acts as a snapshot of the area and provides an interesting comparison with the modern layout of the streets surrounding the Gardens.

After much discussion and negotiation with neighbouring proprietors, the Town Council sanctioned work on laying out the Gardens on the land between the wooded bank at Union Terrace and the railway. Work began in November 1877 and, when the gates were finally opened to the public on 11 August 1879, the band of Gordon's Hospital (forerunner of Robert Gordon's College) played a "selection of pleasing airs" prior the opening ceremony. The official name was now Union Terrace Gardens but it was more popularly known to generations of visitors as the "Trainie Park".
Aberdeen Local Studies
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