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ABERDEENSHIRE - Chronology

A brief listing of events in Aberdeenshire history.


1179 Charter for Aberdeen, granted at Perth, by King William.

1699 Legislation passed requiring the labouring population to work on the county roads for 6 days a year.

1750 Start of the dispersal of Farm Touns into single farmsteads and new planned villages.

1770 Duke of Gordon re-develops Huntly to attract textile industries.

1793 Start of French Wars (till 1815) - does much to stimulate farming.

1795 Turnpike Bill passed - allowing the construction of toll roads in Aberdeenshire.

1798 Opening of first turnpike road (Aberdeen to Drum).

1800 Opening of second and third turnpike roads (Aberdeen to Ellon and Inverurie).

1801 Population of Aberdeen 27,608. Aberdeenshire 123,082.  Foundation stone of Union bridge laid.

1802 Pilot's boat capsized at Newburgh - 8 drowned.   Riot in Castle St., Aberdeen, on the King's birthday - 4 killed, 10 injured.

1803 A Boulton & Watt 20 hp steam engine installed at Forbes, Low & Co's cotton works - the first steam engine in the area.  Numerous shipping casualties in great gales in December.

1804 HMS York lost off the Buchan coast.

1805 Aberdeen / Inverurie canal opens. Over next forty years responsible for rapid development of farming in the Garioch. Opening of Union Street.

1807 Construction of Fraserburgh harbour begun.

1808 Castle Forbes partly destroyed by fire.

1809 Drum Castle damaged by fire.  Aberdeen Bridewell prison opened.  Aberdeen Ropeworks levelled to the ground by a gale.

1811 There are now 300 miles of turnpike roads with 87 toll bars allowing easier movement of produce and fertiliser throughout the county.   Extension to Aberdeen North Pier begun.

1813 Loss of the Oscar and 41 lives at Girdleness, Aberdeen.

1815 Waterloo

1818 Foundation stone of Fraserburgh South Pier laid.

1820 Assembly Rooms (later to become the Music Hall) erected, Union Street, Aberdeen.

1821 Census of Aberdeenshire - population 156,385.   Coronation of King George IV.  Steamship service between Aberdeen & Leith.   Aberdeen Lunatic Asylum opened.

1823 Bon-Accord Square laid out by the architect Archibald Simpson.

1824 Aberdeen Gaslight company formed.

1825 Aberdeen 'Town and County Bank' founded.   'Aberdenn Fire and Life Assurance Company' founded (later became Scottish Provincial).

1826 The "year of the short crop" and water famine.

1827 Foundation stone laid for new bridge over the Don (designed by Thomas Telford).   Death of the Duke of Gordon.  Steamship service between Aberdeen and London begun.

1828 Parish of St. Nicholas divided into six parishes by decree of Court of Session.

1829 Tremendous flood in Aberdeen, August 3rd and 4th.

1830 New bridge of Don opened - cost 26,000.   Wellington suspension bridge (river Dee) opened.

1831 The Anatomical Theatre in St. Andrew Street, Aberdeen, burned by a mob.

1832 Cholera epidemic in Aberdeen.

1833 Girdleness Lighthouse (Aberdeen) finished.

1836 Death of the last Duke of Gordon.

1834 Mr Alexander Macdonald invents machinery for cutting and polishing granite.

1838 Coronation of Queen Victoria.

1840 Queen Victoria married Prince Albert.

1843 Disruption of the Church of Scotland.  The first meeting of the Aberdeen Free Church Presbytery.

1844 A coach link from Aberdeen, joining the railway at Newcastle, means London can now be reached in "the astonishingly short space of 36 hours".

1845 London mail speeded up - now takes just 44 hours.

1847 First operation at Aberdeen Hospital under anaesthetic.

1849 Queen Victoria attends the Braemar Gathering.

1850 Railway link from the south to Aberdeen (Ferryhill station) opened.  Trawling by sailing boat tried in Aberdeen bay.

1852 Start of railway development in Aberdeenshire. Balmoral estate bought by Prince Albert.

1853 Queen lays foundation stone of Balmoral Castle.   Deeside railway (Aberdeen - Banchory) opened.  Great North of Scotland Railway Company buys the Inverurie canal and lays track along its route.

1854  Cholera epidemic in Aberdeen - 178 people die.   Railway service to Huntly opened.  Guild Street railway station opened.   Electric telegraph reaches Aberdeen.

1855 Balmoral Castle completed.

1856 Railways extended to Keith (Banffshire) and Oldmeldrum.

1857 There are now 450 miles of turnpike roads.  The last public execution in Aberdeen.  Start of Deeside railway extension (Banchory - Aboyne).

1859 Alford Valley and Aboyne railways opened.

1861 Great autumn floods.  Railway from Dyce to Mintlaw opened.

1863 Inverurie Town Hall opened.  New Grammar School buildings opened.

1864 Wreck of the Aberdeen Steam Navigation Co.'s steamer Stanley at Tynemouth - 26 lives lost.

1865 Railway to Fraserburgh opened.  After several years of falling tolls (due to railways) and crippling debt the turnpikes become toll-free.

1866 Railway to Ballater opened.

1868 Bridewell (West Prison) abandoned.

1874 Extraordinary thunderstorm and floods in August.   Aberdeen Tramways opened.  Terrific storm in November.

1876 Railway network largely complete.  Ferryboat disaster on the Dee, April 5th - 32 lives lost.

1879 Tay Bridge disaster (Dundee).

1880 92nd Highlanders in the Afghan war.

1881 Development of Aberdeen fishing industry begins.

1884 Aberdeen Art Gallery opened.

1885 Rosemount Viaduct erected.

1892 Public Library opened.

1894 Public electric lighting introduced.

1900 1st Volunteer Brigade, Gordon Highlanders ordered to South Africa (Boer War).

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[Last updated: 29/04/01 - Dave Anderson]