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Footdee, 5 New Pier Road

A Category C Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1428 / 57°8'33"N

Longitude: -2.0719 / 2°4'18"W

OS Eastings: 395749

OS Northings: 805765

OS Grid: NJ957057

Mapcode National: GBR SH5.Q7

Mapcode Global: WH9QR.4QNN

Entry Name: Footdee, 5 New Pier Road

Listing Date: 12 January 1967

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 355281

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB20452

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: George St/Harbour

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

1874. 2-storey and attic, 3-bay swept-gable cottage with slightly recessed curving corner bay. Grey granite rubble with galleted joints. 2-leaf timber doorway to corner bay with simple rectangular fanlight. To left, 2-bay with regularly arranged openings at ground and 1st floor and large piended, tripartite dormer above. Swept corner to right returns to attic gable with single opening at each floor; further entrance to ground floor right; further 2-storey bay and single storey outshot with doorway to far right.

Plate-glass timber sash and case windows throughout, with curved glazing to 1st floor corner bay. Grey slate, broad gable stack with ashlar skews.

Statement of Interest

No 5 was constructed four years later than the other fisher cottages that comprise New Pier Road. Making use of the traditional Aberdeen swept corner bay, it contributes considerably to the character of the area and provides a fitting terminus for this particular row, situated to the immediate SW of the Footdee Squares. Its ground floor formerly housed a small shop. James W Barclay, the Master of Shoreworks and later one one of the city's MP's, is given credit for designing the row of tenements at New Pier Road.

Footdee is a particularly interesting example of a planned housing development purpose built to re-house Aberdeen's local fishing community. Laid out in 1809 by John Smith, then Superintendent Of The Town's Public Works, who went on to establish himself as one of Aberdeen's key architectural figures. Occupying an isolated spit of land to the SE of Aberdeen City centre, its regimented squares have been described as 'a cross between the neo-classical aspirations of Aberdeen and the close-knit fishing communities of the north-east'.

The two main squares of Footdee originally contained 28 single-storey thatched houses although this increased when the later Middle Row (circa 1837) and Pilot Square (circa 1855) were added. The 'gap sites' on each of the North and South squares were filled in 1837 by Smith. During the 1870's, his son William was to add additional storeys to the East and West sides of South Square creating a tenement feel. This was an attempt to ease crowding resulting from an influx of fishing families from other less prospering townships and to help try to inforce the 'one-house-one-family' rule prevailent at the time.

The Town Council decided to start selling the dwellings to occupiers in 1880, beginning a period of incremental development and reconstruction. Additional storeys and dormers were added piecemeal by the new owners as funds allowed and as their families grew in size. The result is one of individuality expressed within the constraints of a strictly formal plan and is a contributing factor to the special architectural and historical interest of Footdee as a whole.

Over time, 'tarry sheds' associated with each dwelling were built incrementally on adjacent land within the squares, the precedent for which dates back to the early 19th century. Originally constructed from drift wood and other found materials, the sheds have been built and rebuilt in a wholly idiosyncratic manner over the years in a variety of materials with rendered brick now predominating slightly (2006). Some timber built sheds remain however, mainly located to the North side of North Square.

Referred to locally and historically as 'Fittie', the derivation of which remains uncertain although a number of suggestions have been put forward. The Church of St Fittick is situated half a mile away to the south. 'Footdee' is probably a more recent and literal Anglicisation, derived from its proximity to the mouth of the River Dee.

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