“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Footdee ('Fittie') Fishing Village

I thought I'd take you on a little walkabout today...to a unique and quirky little village called 'Footdee'. 
Footdee is pronounced 'Fittie' by locals and is a small fishing village at the mouth of the River Dee and Aberdeen harbour. The expansion of the city of Aberdeen has changed many aspects of the area but Footdee has had a settlement as far back as Medieval times. The first recorded reference to the area of 'Fittie' was in the year 1398. 
The fascinating present day cluster of cottages was laid out by influential Aberdeen architect John Brown to rehouse the cities fishermen in 1809. 
I hadn't planned my visit to the village, but sometimes I think an impromptu walk can reveal the most enjoyable treasures. Admittedly, the sun wasn't shining but I'd walked with Mufftypup along the beach, when the village came into my view. I had intended to visit at some stage because I'd known about the village from when I last lived here, but had never walked around the cottages. 
It seemed appropriate that I'd tick that particular box with being on foot and so close... 
... and what could be better than to invite you to come along with me.
I'd watched a brilliant TV programme which aired a few weeks previously about the fishing village, so everything was still very much in my mind. 
So let's get started...

The village has regimented housing squares and was labelled 'Fish Town'. 
Later the name 'Footdee' was erroneously used to refer specifically to the housing squares, with Fish Town becoming forgotten. If you'd like to read more about the history of the village then please click here
The two squares, originally contained 28 single-storey thatched houses although this increased when the later Middle Row (circa 1837) and Pilot Square (circa 1855) were added. 
But as you walk around the village, the years just melt away and there's a real sense of the strong community that once thrived there. I could easily imagine the fishermen sitting outside their cottages (wearing caps and smoking their pipes whilst putting the world to rights or telling a fishman's tale in the local dialect 'Doric') 
Additional storeys were added to some of the cottages to the East and West sides of South Square creating a tenement feel.  This was an attempt to ease crowding resulting from an influx of fishing families from other less prosperous areas and to help try to enforce the `one-house-one-family' rule.
Some of the cottages have been renovated 

The bottom right photo (above) shows the North Square Mission Hall which occupies the central area of the North Square, reflecting its significance as an integral part of village life. Known locally as `the schoolie´ the hall was built for general as well as religious purposes and continues to operate as a multi-purpose meeting space.
Seeing the washing hanging out on the washing line made me smile and I purposely wanted to show it in my photo, because back in the day the locals were not allowed to hang washing out on any other day but Monday, which was washing day. Anyone who didn't comply with this unwritten rule would have a serious reprimand and told to kindly take their washing in! 

Here's a map to show an ariel view of the village squares. 
(map courtesy of The Doric Colums)
Throughout the 19th century, `tarry sheds´ were added to the communal land within the squares opposite each dwelling and now every dwelling has its own shed. 

Originally constructed from drift wood and other found materials, the sheds have been built and rebuilt over the years in a variety of materials with rendered brick now predominating slightly.
When oil was discovered in 1969, the quirky village found itself on a new path as the big oil players arrived in town and at one point, it seemed Fittie might be bulldozed to make room for booming business (as was Old Torry across the harbour) but fortunately, it survives to this day and retains its unique community feel.
As we walked around the square the best surprise of all came into view...
It was the lady from the TV programme leaving one of the cottages walking her wee doggie. 
What were the chances of that happening?
Obviously we had to stop for a natter (Muffy was insistent) and I couldn't help but mention her TV debut.  We must have stood there for over half an hour, whilst she reminisced over the making of the programme and the village history. It was fascinating to listen to her. 
Her mother still lives there and has wonderful memories and stories to tell.  
I feel terrible because I never asked her name or can remember it from the TV programme, but she was lovely and maybe if she sees this or anyone else that might know her then please contact me to let me know. (I can add it at a later stage).

If you're interested to find out more of the history of Footdee Fishing Village (Fittie) then Click Here
Also here's a video by James Thornton that will take you on a walk around the village that you might like to watch. It will give you a real sense of the place.

(Courtesy of 
James Thornton)
Well until next time... thanks for popping by my place.
Have a great day 
I hope to see you again soon!


  1. What an interesting place. Villages like that are very rare these days, and I bet the modern village doesn't have the same community spirit as it had a hundred or a hundred and fifty years ago!

    1. I was fascinated by the village with all of it's history and the fact that there are still some old residents that have their memories and stories to tell.
      I think there's possibly only a handful of them left now and most of the properties are rented out.
      Thanks for stopping by... have a great weekend

  2. What a lovely post Denise, thank you for sharing your walk. I LOVE finding out the history of places, especially if they still exist and I can physically see them, be there and perhaps have a good old lok around. (insert 'snoop', lol) It must have especially 'exciting' having seen the place discussed on television. Do you recall which channel it was on? I may be able to find it on 'catch up' or such like. I have bookmarked the Youtube link for watching later. Findhorn, near me, is a village with a long history and I used to love hearing the stories from my in-laws of how it was years ago. I feel all chilled & reminiscent now, lol. Enjoy the rest of your day and the upcoming weekend :D xox

    1. It was my pleasure Mo ;D
      I really enjoyed visiting the village especially after watching the tv programme. My daughter had told me about the fisherman's cottages when we drove near but I never had a clue that there was so much history to the place.
      I'm so glad that I walked the squares as you just don't get the feel by driving near.
      I thought it was on channel 4 but my daughter says it was on the BBC.
      Unfortunately, I think it might actually be too late for 'catch up'
      I'm happy that you enjoyed the post.
      Enjoy your weekend too,
      I think it might actually be good weather too (if we're lucky)

  3. My goodness, what a gorgeous place! Looks very inviting and interesting!! Thanks for sharing :-)))

    1. It certainly is a special place Bibi,
      I was thrilled to actually walk through the village. It was made even more special by meeting the daughter of one of the oldest residents too.
      Thanks for visiting my place and for your lovely comment.
      I hope you have a wonderful weekend

  4. OMGoodness! Except for the cars and a very few items in yards...that video was like going back in time. I could almost picture it being the 1300's! This was such an interesting post. Like going on a vacation for me, Neesie! ;)

    1. Aww bless... I'm so thrilled that you enjoyed the post so much Rita,
      That's what it's all about ;D
      I'll be sure to invite you to another vacation next time I plan a trip.
      In the meantime thanks for stopping by with your lovely comment and I wish you a wonderful weekend xoxo


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