Local Places

What do you think life would have been like where you live 50 years ago? What about 100 years ago, or 150 years ago?  Looking at old photographs can let us see what our towns and cities looked like in the past.  They also help us to understand how people lived and to imagine what it would have been like. 

Most cities in Britain are bigger than they were 150 years ago.  New houses have been built and old ones knocked down.

Some inventions have had big effect on how places look.  In 1907, very few people owned cars.  As more and more people started to travel by car, new roads were built, or old ones were made wider. This sometimes meant that buildings were demolished or new bridges were built. Other forms of transport also affect how places look.  Many cities, including Aberdeen, used to have trams.  These were like buses that ran along rails that were on the road. The first trams were pulled by horses.  Horse-drawn trams were replaced by electric trams, which were in turn replaced by motorised buses. 

Changes in how people spend their work and leisure time also changes how places look.  Shipbuilding used to be an important industry in Aberdeen.  Many people worked in shipyards.  Today there are no shipyards in Aberdeen.  New industries have become more important.  Since the 1970s the oil industry has become very important in Aberdeen.  Lots of new office blocks have been built for oil industry workers.  In the past there were lots of cinemas in Aberdeen.  When television became available, and video was invented, going to the cinema became less popular.  Many cinemas were turned into bingo halls or night clubs.  Today multiplex cinemas are popular.  They can show lots of films at the same time. There is now a multiplex cinema near Aberdeen beach on what used to be open space.

River Dee Albyn Place Bonnymuir Place

Related Timeline

Local History - Places


Look at the buildings around your school and where you live. Do you know how old your school and the buildings around it are? Do they look like they are all the same age? Try to find out when your school was built.

Look at the photographs of the Castlegate in Aberdeen in the timelines. What differences can you see between the different photographs? What things do you think have caused the changes? Which of the old photographs look most like the Castlegate today?

Historical events can change the way places look. Look at this picture of Art Gallery, Schoolhill in 1910 and compare it with the Gallery today. Do you know what is different about it today? There is now a war memorial beside the Gallery. When do you think it was built. Have you ever been to a war memorial? Next time you pass one, stop and have a closer look.