Kittybrewster District ~
The name 1st appears an Official Document of 1615, although the Lands around were known as the Browster Lands in 1376; in 1675 it appeared again as “Kettiebrauster”. It has a Celtic derivation from Cuitan Briste, meaning “broken fold”. (Cuitan, dim. of cuit, fold (modern Gaelic (cuidhe); briste, broken.) Usually, folds for cattle had water near them. Kittybrewster was in the Den now called Berryden, which means watery (bùrnach) den.
There is a Trading Estate in Blyth, Northumberland called Kitty Brewster.
Kittybrewster Station opened on 20th September 1854 to serve the Great North of Scotland Railway Main Line to Keith. It closed to Passengers in 1856 once Aberdeen Waterloo Station opened and Kittybrewster (on the Link to the Aberdeen Railway). The Track remains in use as a Freight Siding for the Docks. The Station was 19 chains (380m) South of the Junction between the Mainline & the Branch Line to the Docks, near where the A96 – Powis Terrace now crosses the Line.
Powis Terrace – Kittybrewster School is in the background.
In 1854 the Great North of Scotland Railway opened a Line from Kittybrewster to Huntly. The Terminus at Kittybrewster proved inconvenient for the City and for transfers to Southbound Train Services at Guild Street. Therefore the Line was extended to Waterloo Quay in 1855, using much of the old Aberdeenshire Canal Bed. Once Waterloo Station was opened, Kittybrewster Station was closed in 1856 and was replaced by a Station of the same name constructed on the Line to Waterloo Station. In 1864 construction began of a Railway Line from Kittybrewster through the Denburn Valley to a new Joint Station at Guild Street. At this time Kittybrewster Station was reconstructed further West on the new Line. Locomotive Sheds & Goods hauling facilities were at this Site. This Depot became the main Workshop of the Great North of Scotland Railway until the Works were removed from Kittybrewster to Inverurie in 1898. From 1887 the Station was used by the local Service of Suburban Trains that ran to and from Dyce. Trains ran from the Joint Station: as well as calling at Kittybrewster, they stopped at Woodside, Bucksburn, Bankhead & Stoneywood Stations, Terminating at Dyce. In 1923 the Great North of Scotland Railway became absorbed into the Northern Scottish area of London & North Eastern Railway. Little changed on the Suburban Routes. The development of Road Traffic saw a decline in Railway operations in the 1930s. On the 28th January 1937 it was announced in the Press & Journal that after April 1937 the Suburban Train Service was to end. Fourteen stations closed as a result of rivalry from Bus Services and waning popularity of the Train Service. Kittybrewster remained open for through Traffic and finally closed in May 1968. Current Status: Single Railway Track.
Kittybrewster Rail Yard
Map of Kittybrewster & Old Aberdeen
The Livestock Mart
The roots of Aberdeen Northern Marts Group Ltd trace back to 1870 with the formation of the Aberdeen Cattle & Farm Produce Association Ltd, Central Auction Mart, Kittybrewster, Aberdeen. This Organisation differed from other Auction Companies operating in the area at the time in that it was owned and controlled by Farmers. By a series of judicious takeovers in the early part of the 20thC, the Company acquired Auction Marts throughout Aberdeenshire, Morayshire & Banffshire. In 1931, the Company became the Central & Northern Farmers Co-operative Society and extended its range of Services to the Farming Community to include Farm Auctions & Valuations.
The Mart Auction in full swing with the Northern Hotel & Astoria Cinema rear in the background adjacent to Central Park – the location for William ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody’s Wild West Show c.1904. Cody’s visit to the Northeast – Aberdeen, Peterhead & Fraserburgh – actually had an adverse effect on the Fishing Industry, as Workers abandoned their Trawlers to attend the Performances. The price of Fish reportedly sky-rocketed on the days following Cody’s shows in the Region. During the latter years of the American Civil War, Cody took on a role as a Scout for the Union Army’s 7th Kansas Cavalry and maintained his links with Kansas in 1867 as he agreed to hunt Buffalo for Kansas Pacific Railroad construction Workers, earning him the moniker ‘Buffalo Bill’.
Two major acquisitions of rival Aberdeen-based Auction Companies – Alex Middleton & Sons in 1944 & Reith & Anderson Ltd in 1948 – gave the Company control of more than 30 Marts throughout the North-east of Scotland and the name was changed again to Aberdeen & Northern Marts. Further acquisitions included Turriff in 1954, Wick & Thurso in 1962, Elgin in 1968 & Laurencekirk in 1986. However, with increasing centralisation and better communications, smaller Marts gradually became obsolete and today Aberdeen & Northern Marts operate from only 3 major Auction Centres serving the whole of the North & North-east. (inset Kittybrewster Toll House)
A major milestone was the opening of the Flagship Thainstone Centre in Inverurie 1990. Widely recognised as the most modern Auction Complex in Europe, Thainstone Centre was built at a cost of £6M that was financed from the Sale of valuable Auction Mart Sites in the City of Aberdeen and a 30% EEC (now EU) Grant. The rationalisation of the Auction Mart Business continued through the 1990s with the construction of Caithness Livestock Centre in 1992 and the redevelopment of Elgin Auction Centre in 1995.
Aberdeen & Northern (Estates) Ltd, which was now one of the largest land and property agencies in the North-east, and Meat Processing through Aberdeen Meat Marketing Company Ltd (now Scotch Premier Meat Ltd) which built a new Abattoir in Banchory in the mid-1960s. The Auction Business has also diversified into the Vehicle, Furniture & Antiques Markets and pioneered the concept of the Electronic Auction with the formation of a new subsidiary, Electronic Auction Systems Europe Ltd (EASE) in 1989. The increasing diversification of the business led to another name change in 1991 when the Company became ANM Group Ltd, with Aberdeen & Northern Marts remaining as the core operating division.
Cattofield Reservoir was constructed in the late 19thC and during the 20thC the Site and the surrounding area was developed. The majority of development occurred during the post-War Construction Boom in the ‘50s & ‘60s. Following a period of stabilisation, a modern housing development was constructed during the ‘90s to the South of the Site. The Reservoir is now surplus to requirements.
Pig Stampede in Great Northern Road – fine fatted variety run amok causing a great spectacle and inhibiting the flow of Traffic. near Bedford Road. The No.7 Woodside Tram waits patiently for the Herdsman to regain control.
Origins of Kittybrewster
The name “Kittybrewster “ goes as far back as a document dated 1597. Some have suggested that grain for brewing was grown here in medieval times, accounting for the “brewster” part of the name. Another, more likely explanation, is that it is from a Gaelic name meaning “stepping stones over a bog” A local poet, William Cadenhead, believed it had been named after a real person, of whom he wrote:-
William Cadenhead (1819–1904), “Kittybrewster“
She sell’t a dram – I kent her fine –
Out on the road to Hilton;
Afore the door there stood a sign,
A hint a lairack beltin’.
The sign to mak’ it bright and gay
Taxed Tinto’s best resources,
An ale-stoup and a wisp o’ hay –
“Farin’ for men and horses.”
Her dram was good, but O, her ale!
“Twas it that did her credit,
Aboon a’ brewsts it bore the bell,
And ‘twas hersel’ that made it;
Just twa-three waughts o’t wi’ a frien’,
Out ower a bargain makin’,
Wad cheer your heart and light your een,
And set your lugs a-cracklin’.
Her yaird had midden-cocks and game,
And mony a cacklin’ rooster;
She was a canty, kindly dame,
They ca’d her Kitty Brewster.
Alas, the change! Houses, like men,
Have just their life to live it;
Kind Kitty’s canty but-and-ben
Is levelled with the divot.
Kate’s brewin’ craft and spotless fame –
For name had e’er traduced her –
We own that Lily Bank we name
Conjoined wi’ Kitty Brewster.
The Site of Kittybrewster School stands just outside the ancient Town Boundary. Even 50-yrs before the School was built, Kittybrewster was still largely Farmland. It was only in the 2nd half of the 19thC that Kittybrewster started to grow into the area we know today. Horse Trams meant that people could live further from their work. One tram route ran along Great Northern Road to Woodside. Work was also available locally with the Railway Yard. As people started to live in the area, so new needs were created for shops, such as grocers, shoe menders & chemists. This, in turn, created further employment within the area. The School was opened in August 1899 on Great Northern Road with space for 1100 eager to learn pupils. It was built by a popular Aberdeen Builder named John Morgan who amongst other things also built the Caledonian Hotel, King Street School, some Churches and the Statue of William Wallace which stands opposite His Majesty’s Theatre. In the early days, Students would have had to learn in a building with no heating and only outdoor Toilets. By the end of the 19thC Kittybrewster had grown to a population of 5,000 with neither a Church nor a School of its own.
Powis Church at the top of George Street at the junction with Causwayend also known locally as ‘Split the Winds‘ was built on the Site of an Old Pub to serve Kittybrewster.
Where Causewayend and lang George Street
Join Hands upon the Northern Way,
Through Winter Wild and Summer Sweet
Stood Split the Win’ for many a Day.
The Ancient Gable faced the North,
And Storm against it struck in Vain –
For though in Strength it sallied Forth,
The veering Wind was Split in Twain.
But now, like many a thing of greater Fame,
Old Split the Win‘ is but a passing Name.