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 
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I hope to see you again soon!