1920s Aberdeen

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 00:16

Wall mounted post box in the building below Aberdeen Police Station. Looks like a George V post box cipher. Not sure what the building in the foreground is. Seems to say "House" in the last part of the building's name. Description of location is given on flickr.

Date picture taken


I would also like to know what was the name and purpose of the building with the letters 'USE', presumably HOUSE shown on this photograph. It was situated at the harbour end of Old Street.

The wall mounted posting box was indeed a GVR one and, as far as I know, was installed there in the 1920s. In a list of such facilities in the 1930s it was stated to be No. 63 located at the Aberdeen Harbour Staff Quarters ......... but that does not seem to fit in with the above.

Can anyone shed some light on this ?

Wasn't this building the old firestation? Or at least that's waht it had become by the 1950s. See the image capture from the film Love is a Many-Splendored Thing below. The building is in the background and there is Firestation written across the door. However, the door lintel looks as though it was remodelled, so it is possible the original use was different.

Aberdeen Fire station 1955
Aberdeen Fire station 1955 , by Philk

It certainly looks like the same building(s) were still there in 1955. The one that was '..... USE' in the 1920s ?photograph seems to have been converted in to a small fire station at some time before 1955. There is mention of such an establishment in the Fire Brigade Annual Reports for 1915 and 1919 as well as in the 1930s but it is not for certain that it was one and the same. The building to the right of the fire station was the Aberdeen Post Office, in fact a kiosk, in 1955 - you can see that the posting box shown in the 1920s photograph has moved to the right hand side of the furthest right doorway at some time - presumably when the fire station replaced the '...... USE'. The opening date of this postal kiosk is uncertain but the posting box was still on the right of the entrance. I think the posting box was placed as shown on the 1920s ? photograph in late 1915. In the 1916 Post Office Guide it was No. 63 located at the Aberdeen Harbour Staff Quarters - you can make out '63' on the relocated posting box in later photographs of the Aberdeen Post Office (kiosk),

I wonder if there are street maps of Aberdeen in the pre-WWII years that show these buildings and perhaps their usage. The Jan Jan's map of 1958 in the Mapping HK book only shows the Post Office at the location mentioned above.

The building shown on the photograph is the old Harbour Master's Office building located on Old Street, Aberdeen. This Government building was first occupied in December 1874. In 1880 it comprised the Harbour Office and Quarters with 1 Inspector, I Chinese Interpreter and 8 Boatmen and by 1890 it was occupied by 1 Inspector, 3 European and 1 Chinese Constables, 1 Chinese Interpreter and 8 Boatmen. This building preceeded the original Aberdeen Police Station, located on the hill immediately behind this builing and therefore housed Police staff.

In February 1892 the staff moved to the new Police Station and it seems to have been vacant until a portion was used as a Grant-In-Aid Boys School from September 1893 run by the Church Missionary Society. It appears to have closed down in 1910 with the premises reverting to the Harbour Department.

The posting box shown in the photograph was listed in the 1920 Postal Guide as being No. 63 located at the Aberdeen Harbour Staff Quarters. It was not listed in the 1916 Postal guide so therefore it must have been installed at some time between 1916 and 1920. The letters 'USE' on the building facade facing Old Street may have been 'School House' but I have been unable so far to establish the usage of the building after 1911.

The old Harbour Master's Office building survived for many years and served partly, both before and after WWII as a small postal kiosk (agency) evolving in to Aberdeen's first Post Office. As from 1934 it also served as the local fire station.