Posted by: christinelaennec | August 10, 2012

Happy Birthday, Aberdeen Central Library

I’m a bit late in wishing Aberdeen Central Library a happy birthday, but I suppose once you’re 120 years old, a few weeks doesn’t make much odds!  I love the library and have visited it very regularly over the years.   It is one of the granite trio of buildings called by locals “Education, Salvation and Damnation” – the library, St. Mark’s church, and His Majesty’s Theatre:

Education, Salvation and Damnation (library, church, theatre), looking West. Aberdeen, September 2010.

Last month they celebrated their 120th birthday, and have some interesting exhibits, including this fetching outfit:

“Costume of the day,” Aberdeen Central Library 120th birthday exhibit, August 2012.

I’m always drawn to old-fashioned silhouettes and longer skirts, but in reality I would have hated to have to wear a corset!

I wondered what people were reading in 1892 when the library opened.  Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, George Gissing, Oscar Wilde?  1892 was the year that the feminist classic, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” was published.   I somehow have a hard time imagining that the patrons of Aberdeen Central Library would have been reading Oscar Wilde and “The Yellow Wallpaper” – but you never know!



  1. What a wonderful trio! Happy birthday and many happy returns to Aberdeen City Library. I think it’s marvellous that the library is still used as a library and I hope it continues to be used that way for decades to come.

  2. I love it – especially the period costume! ❤

  3. How lucky you are to have such a beautiful library to visit! Our library is so tiny and it is very new, but very pretty, although there is no comparison.

    I wonder how many little housewives carried home ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ under their coats and stealthily read while their husband’s were sleeping!

    Love the period costume. I am with you on corsets! I still remember wearing a girdle once, when I was a young girl in a wedding as a bride’s maid. My first and last adventure with that contraption! Thank goodness those days are over! Happy Birthday to your lovely library. xx

  4. The children’s library upstairs was my local haunt, growing up diagonally across from the library in a tenament flat. I would skip and dart from traffic island to traffic island (there was no green cross man then!). The twirling staircase with tiny alcove windows would lead me up into that large high-ceilinged room with its brown shiny linoleum and ‘silenced’ atmosphere. The staff worked from a wooden encased island and i remember reaching up with all my choosen story books open ready for stamping. Once i had devoured everything that Enid Blyton had ever written, I challenged myself to read everything on the shelves from start to finish. I sewed a pink cotton hanky into the inside of my anorak so that i could carry a book with me where ever i went. I am still compulsed to carry reading material with me to this day (minus the pink cotton hanky haha!) I think i would still recognise the library staff today, even after 35 years……

  5. What a beautiful Building and I do like the costume of the day…no corset’s please!!! 🙂

  6. Dear all,

    Thanks for your comments – yes, aren’t we lucky to have this beautiful library still going strong? (Agreed about corsets.)

    amadarling, thank you very much for sharing your memories of the children’s library. I have climbed those stairs so many times! And yes, the librarians become so familiar and important. They are like family friends to us.

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