Old Aberdeen History in Photos & Film

Aberdeen Scotland UK

Enjoy a glimpse of history through old photos and vintage film of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Aberdeen is Scotland’s third most populous city. Found where the Rivers Dee and Don meet the North Sea, the port city is a key part of the offshore petroleum industry.

The videos of Aberdeen past and present reflect its magnificent grey stone buildings which gave rise to its colloquial name ‘the Granite City’. 

Old Photos of Aberdeen

This is a lovely collection of Aberdeen photographs from history.

The traditional industries here were fishing, paper-making, shipbuilding, and textiles, which you’ll see reflected in these pictures.

Old Photographs Aberdeen Scotland – tourscotland on YouTube

George Street

Discover what George Street looked like in the old days.

Days Gone By At George Street Aberdeen – James Thornton on YouTube

Aberdeen Cinema Tour

This is a fascinating visual tour taking us through the history of cinemas in Aberdeen.

There is an introduction adding the names of the cinemas to the screen. This then leads into a montage of old photos of Aberdeen’s lost cinemas.

Aberdeen Cinema Tour – Iain Robb on YouTube

Codonas Amusement Park

An old newsreel shows what the Codonas Amusement Park used to look like.

Newsreel about the Codonas Amusement Park – Johanan Codona on YouTube

Aberdeen Beach

There’s lots of fun to be had by young and old shown in these old images of the funfair.

Aberdeen Beach in Scotland – James Thornton on YouTube

Aberdeen Dialect of the 1920s

Here’s a fascinating 78 rpm 12-inch shellac record which brings you the authentic Aberdeen Scotland dialect of the 1920s or 1930s.

Created by The British Drama League, this record features the voice of John Oliphant of Fife, Scotland.

British Drama League – Aberdeen – Scotland – videocurios on YouTube

Gala Day for Hospitals 1931

In 1931, students in fancy dress danced and paraded in the streets.

Then they ‘kidnapped & Ransomed’ the Lord Provost, demanding £30 was paid on the spot.

There’s no sound accompanying this old film footage, but people look happy and waving arms suggest cheering.

This Took Place In Aberdeen! (1931) – British Pathé

Union Street in the 1930s

A great montage of old photographs of Union Street from the 1930s, set to music.

Aberdeen – Union Street 1930s – cigaretteheid on YouTube

King George VI 1938

King George VI had been on the throne less than two years when he arrived for his official visit to Aberdeen, accompanied by Queen Elizabeth and his children, on the way to a holiday at Balmoral.

The Royal Barge brings the two little princesses to shore along with their parents.

King George and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother visit Aberdeen (1938) – British Pathé on YouTube

Aberdeen in the 1940s & 50s

A great look at neighbourhoods and businesses in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen Scotland late 1940’s/50’s – cigaretteheid on YouTube

More 1940s/50s

Aberdeen Scotland late 1940’s and 1950’s – Allan Shanklan on YouTube


Aberdeen in the 1950s – Rustylug on YouTube

Opening St Clements Bridge 1953

In 1953, the Queen Mother was filmed at the Harbour near the entrance to Victoria Dock, opening a new aluminium bridge which spans the mouth of the dock.

She was greeted by Lord Aberdeen and Lord Provost, John M. Graham.

But despite the great fanfare, the St Clements Bridge only lasted 21 years before it was demolished.

Aberdeen – Queen Mother Opens New Bridge (1953) – British Pathé on YouTube

1950s Home Movie

High angled shot of a stone bridge over a river with green fields on either side. Two women and a man (wearing beret) eating a picnic in field.  Man is in background. Runs to canvas tent where towels are drying on a rope. Car ferry crossing river and moving away from camera. Man and two women are at the campsite. Country surroundings, mountains, loch, castle, pebble beaches. Loch and village in distance.  A harbour is also seen. A single funnelled boat moving from left to right with the coast (green) in background. Picnic – man is eating a banana, women are tidying their hair. In the harbour there are boats and ferries. Beautiful garden with rose bushes and sea in the background. Sandy beach, mountains in the background, blue sky, a woman walking towards camera. Man walking in the field. Loading and departure of car ferry (‘Lochalsh’).

Panning shot of large crowd (many sitting on the grass).  Uniformed (kilts) bandsmen relaxing. Instruments, including bagpipes and drums, on the ground.

Loading ship/ferry with full hessian sacks. Large ships in harbour. Crowded sandy beach – lots of windbreaks, everyone is fully clothed. Dark shot of trawlers. Shots of the harbour from moving boat/ferry. Lifting van off ferry. Church on a sunny day. Front of large stationary boat (‘St. Ninian’) in the harbour. Bus moving left to right on the causeway. Mountains, loch/sea, blue sky. Heathland, stone circles, probably Brodgar on Orkney.  Excavated stone structures, probably Skara Brae. Wide sandy beach with tide out. Sailors cleaning the deck of a large boat at sea (gets very dark). Dramatic coastline. Men loading peat on to trailer attached to a red tractor.

Aberdeen and Scotland, 1950’s – Film 7378 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube

The Aberdeen Children of the 1950s

The Aberdeen Children of the 1950s refers to a long running project by the University of Aberdeen.

12,150 people born in Aberdeen between 1950 and 1956 were selected for the project. When they were in primary school, they took reading and maths tests as part of the study.

The original goal of the study was to discover the causes of learning disabilities. The children’s test results were linked to other school records and to birth records in the Aberdeen Maternity and Neonatal Databank.

In the late 1990s, the participants were traced by university researchers. 81% of the cohort was still living in Scotland, and 73% were still living in Grampian.

A postal questionnaire was sent, and over 7,000 of the Children of the 1950s replied. They provided information about their current health, as well as a wide range of other topics.

Further information was then added from current medical records.

Today the collected data from the Children of the 1950s is used to investigate a wide variety of questions. Access to the data is given by application to the steering committee. The participants’ information is shared anonymously with researchers and used in a data Safe Haven.

Aberdeen Children of the 1950s – School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition on YouTube

Surprising Law

Did you know that Christmas was outlawed in Scotland until the 1950s?  Professor Bill Naphy from the University of Aberdeen’s History Department explains why.

Did you know that Christmas was outlawed in Scotland until the 1950s – University of Aberdeen on YouTube

The Fishtrade Of Aberdeen

Trawlermen Past & Present

Aberdeen x trawlermen past & present – Dougie Brechin on YouTube

The 20th Century Fishtrade Workers

A montage of old photographs showing the work and social lives of Aberdeen’s fish trade workers through the 20th century.


More Pictures of Aberdeen

Browse a wide range of images on the Local History Videos Pinterest boards, including vintage pictures, old photos, antique maps and archive film.

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Thanks to Graham Hobster (Pixabay) for the featured photo used at the top of this page.

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