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[Aberdeen] is a wonderful city, built to defy the ravages of the centuries. The imposing streets of white granite lend it a beauty and charm which is crowned by the most wonderful building in Scotland—Marischal College…So old it is that the town gave the county its name. As far back as the ninth century, Gregory, King of Scots, granted her the charter of a Royal Burgh, so that when Glasgow was a mere cluster of huts and Edinburgh quite unknown, Aberdeen was a centre of importance and a thriving port…It would have formed an ideal capital for the Highlands with its keen, alert business community and its access to the open seas of the world. —-ROMANTIC SCOTLAND The Story of the Shires, by D. C. Cuthbertson, 1938

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I had never been to Aberdeen before and didn’t know anyone who had. I knew almost nothing about it, other than that it was dominated by the North Sea oil industry and proudly called itself “the Granite City,” It had always seemed to me exotically remote, a place I was unlikely ever to get to, so I was eager to see it. I had booked into a hotel that was warmly described in my guidebook (a tome that later went for kindling) but turned out to be a dreary, overpriced back-street block. My room was small and ill lit, with battered furniture, a narrow prison-cell bed with a thin blanket and a single grudging pillow, and wallpaper doing its best to flee a damp wall.
— NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND, An Affectionate Portrait of Britain by BILL BRYSON, William Morrow and Company, Inc. New York, ©1995 by Bill Bryson, ISBN 0-688-14725-9
Aberdeen has got its good moments (Union Street, the pretty little streets leading off to the north of Union Street, the roads to the west of Union Street) and quite a lot of bad...the knuckle-head savagery of the road system around Guild Street, Bridge Street and Market Street, the air of penetrating dismalness around the harbour, the cold and grey, the dull Bridge of Don, the sad late-night Union Street vagrants. ——
— FAINTHEART: An Englishman Ventures North of the Border by Charles Jennings, Abacus, Time Warner Books U.K., www.TimeWarnerBooks.co.uk; ©2001 by Charles Jennings ISBN 0 349 11440 4

Almost all the inhabitants of Aberdeen knew the traffic…which was carried on in the market places, in the High Street and in the avenues of the town in the most public manner. The trade in carrying off boys to the plantations in America and in selling them there as slaves was carried on with an amazing effrontery…and by open violence. the whole neighbouring country were alarmed at it. They would not allow their children to go to Aberdeen for fear of being kidnapped. When they kept them at home, emissaries were sent out by the merchants who took them by violence from their parents [and] if a child was missing, it was immediately suspected that he was kidnapped by the Aberdeen merchants. —-WHITE CARGO: The Forgotten of Britain’s White Slaves in America, by Don Jordan and Michael Walsh, quoting the memoirs of Peter Williamson, abducted in Aberdeen and sold as a slave in the American colonies.

In the sudden blast of the north-westerly gale...it was as much as I could do not to be whisked out towards Norway like an empty carrier bag. ——FAINTHEART: An Englishman Ventures North of the Border by Charles Jennings, Abacus, Time Warner Books U.K., www.TimeWarnerBooks.co.uk; ©2001 by Charles Jennings ISBN 0 349 11440 4

Aberdeen has won the unwanted title of the most dismal town in Scotland.

Urban Realm magazine said Aberdeen had become the "poor relation" of Scotland's cities as it awarded the annual Plook on the Plinth Carbuncle Award to the Granite City. Aberdeen City Council acknowledged that there was work to do to improve the heart of the city, but said progress was "well under way". Cumbernauld, East Kilbride and Leven had been among the other contenders. Urban Realm highlighted planning issues such as Union Terrace Gardens , Marischal Square, and missing out on the 2017 City of Culture shortlist as evidence of Aberdeen's "dismal" status.

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IF YOU GO TO ABERDEEN...to browse, carouse, gawk at the granite, or catch a classy overnight ferry to the Shetland Isles... here are some Booking.com options - from Grand Hotels to Bed and Breakfasts

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Aberdeen: Who Said What About Scotland’s Penny-Pinching Paradise?

Aberdeen is like Switzerland in its mentality, aiming at success by hard-work and perseverence....the spirit of your true Aberdonian, a man who makes money out of his own reputation for meanness. They even print in Aberdeen calendars and postcards which make fun of the alleged local parsimony...Aberdonians are not truly careful with money. They can often be a spenthrift lot, and the great financial institutions do not belong there but in much more skinflint Edinburgh. ——SCOTLAND: THE LAND AND THE PEOPLE, ©Donald Cowie, 1973 A.S. Barnes and Company, Cranbury, NJ and London: Thomas Yoseloff Ltd., London ISBN 0-498-01169-0

Marischal College, Aberdeen

Marischal College, Aberdeen

THE GUARDIAN Sat Nov 24, 2012

”Aberdeen is the Happiest Place in Scotland and That’s No Joke” Despite its reputation as a cold, hard and dour city, Aberdeen offers rich culture, low unemployment and an enviable lifestyle         —         By Kevin McKenna 

”In Scotland it remains fashionable to deride the traditional parsimony of the city’s citizenry. This is most commonly manifest in a pub when the Aberdeen member of the company will be asked the padlock combination code of his wallet.
”…Indeed, it’s impossible to weary of Aberdeen’s granite grandeur and the sheer sense of rectitude and rigour that its buildings emit. And the cleanliness simply makes you weep. Yet these same attributes have, previously, lent an aloof and forbidding air to the city. She is a school governess constantly scanning her girls’ hemlines or scowling at incomers for any signs of earthy intent.…Yet there is a curious dissonance abroad in Aberdeen between its Presbyterian rigour and a pleasing attachment to baser pursuits. One of the busiest harbours in the UK delves deeply into the city and has spawned proper old pubs which are still thriving. And housed in an otherwise douce terrace up from the station is a little collection of gentlemen’s clubs bearing names such as Private Eyes, Whispers and Silhouettes.
— Kevin McKenna, Sat Nov 24, 2012 The Guardian
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Aberdeen...owes nothing to anyone, being far too north for the English to affect it greatly...Aberdeen is all about fishing and being the regional capital of north-east Scotland and having a toehold in the Highlands while facing out to the brutish North Sea and trading with Scandinavia and the Baltic. ——FAINTHEART: An Englishman Ventures North of the Border by Charles Jennings, Abacus, Time Warner Books U.K., www.TimeWarnerBooks.co.uk; ©2001 by Charles Jennings ISBN 0 349 11440 4

Aberdeen was dubbed 'the UK's Saddest City" after the British Journal of Psychiatry named it the worst place in Britain for SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder, for its lack of daylight in the winter months. ——FAINTHEART: An Englishman Ventures North of the Border by Charles Jennings, Abacus, Time Warner Books U.K., www.TimeWarnerBooks.co.uk; ©2001 by Charles Jennings ISBN 0 349 11440 4

In vain I sought a single place where I could stand with hands on hips and say, "Aha, so this is Aberdeen."...I had a scant sense of being in the midst of a rich, proud city built of granite...It wasn't that there was anything wrong with Aberdeen exactly, more that it suffered from a surfeit of innocuousness. I had a shuffle around the new shopping center and ranged some distance out into the surrounding streets, but they all seemed equally colorless and forgettable. ——NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND, An Affectionate Portrait of Britain by BILL BRYSON, William Morrow and Company, Inc. New York, ©1995 by Bill Bryson, ISBN 0-688-14725-9

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