People

People

Image courtesy of Aberdeen City Libraries
Then as now the city was known for its striking granite architecture.

Aberdeenshire stands on the north east coast of Scotland. Aberdeen City is the largest settlement in the region. In the time of the First World War the region was a centre of fishing, agriculture, granite working, journalism and education. Then as now the city was known for the striking granite architecture of Archibald Simpson, John Smith and A Marshall Mackenzie. Local author Lewis Grassic Gibbon evocatively described rural life of the time in his classic novel Sunset Song.

The region, bordered by forbidding mountains one side and the pitiless North Sea on the other, has perhaps at times been known for its insularity, however, there can be no question that the First World War affected all aspects of life and that it took a high toll on the people of the region. Nearly every institution, company and family saw men go off to fight. From The Mighty Dons to the ancient King’s College life was forever altered. Fishermen were conscripted to sweep for mines and even use refitted trawlers to attack German U-boats. Women took on new roles in jobs left vacant by absent soldiers. Hospitals and other buildings were appropriated for service. The unchanging granite of the city was mobilised for war.