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Rubislaw Quarry, Aberdeen 1969


Between 1961 and 1975 I lived very close to the Rubislaw Quarry in western Aberdeen, Scotland.

As a child I remember the very open workings and being able to clamber over the site and look down the enormous hole from a precarious viewing platform that had been created. I can even remember in the mid sixties an old lady (probably a gypsy) used to set up a tent and sell figurines on Rubislaw granite bases to visitors.

I can also remember the late afternoon dull "thwump" from the explosive charge set off at the bottom of the hole and which would provide the work for the shift the following day to extract the new rock and bring it to the surface for processing into building blocks or "chuckies"

Rubislaw Quarry Rubislaw Quarry Rubislaw Quarry

There was a small viewing platform and you could watch the "blondin" as the crane mechanism was called that hoisted up the workers at the end of their shift.

The short video clip below is an extract of a longer 8mm cine film taken by myself in 1969 just a couple of years before the quarry closed and shows the crane (blondin) working and some of the quarry workings including the "chuckie" machine which ground down the granite into these small pebbles that adorn countless driveways in Aberdeen and the north-east of Scotland.
Apologies for the quality (and it has no accompanying sound!) but 8mm was never the best film media, and the footage of the giant hole itself was taken on a very sunny day where the difference between the sunlit granite face and the shadowed areas was very noticeable. However a crane can clearly be seen sitting at the bottom which I remember looked like a toy when viewed from the surface!

Rubislaw Quarry, believed to be the biggest man-made hole in Europe, occupies a five-acre site and is 466ft deep and 394ft wide but sadly now full of water.

The quarry has been neglected since 1971 when it was closed, has filled with water, and some ugly oil business premises and some executive flats have been built too close to the perimeter. There is no viewing area now, and the entire hole is inaccessible for viewing.

Rubislaw Quarry Rubislaw Quarry Rubislaw Quarry

It was opened in 1740 at the Hill of Rubislaw and sold by the Aberdeen Council to a businessman in 1778, as it was not believed to be a source of good building material.

Over the two centuries it was worked, the quarry provided millions of tonnes of granite and gave rise to the name "The Granite City" for Aberdeen.
The quality of the granite was exceptional and it has been used not only in the north-east of Scotland but sold far and wide.

The quarry was recently put on the market with a price tag of 30,000GBP and was believed to have been sold to local businessmen.

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