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18 June 2014
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Legacies - North-East Scotland

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North-East Scotland
How Granite Made a City

The dash for granite began in 1741 with the first excavation of Rubislaw Quarry.

Worker at Rubislaw Quarry
© SCRAN
Town planners saw the potential in their plentiful natural resource and quickly put it to good use, with public and private buildings constructed using the silvery-grey stone.

However local entrepreneurs were more interested in the business value of the region's mineral deposits, and a steady trade developed with the rest of the developing world. Quarry from Rubislaw was exported to far-flung parts of the world, but also built two of the world's then most important docks at Southampton and Portsmouth. At its peak, around the turn of the 20th Century, the granite and mineral industry could boast 127 working quarries in the Aberdeenshire area, supplying both pink and grey granite to the world.

Aerial view of Rubislaw Quarry
© SCRAN
The former quarry site, the largest man-made hole in Europe at 150 metres wide and 90 metres deep, now gathers rainwater to such an extent that it is now one of Scotland's largest man-made lochs.

A genuine hub of the local economy, it is now the backdrop for a modern housing development, surrounded by a regal crown of trees.


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