Big city survey: Aberdeen

Big city survey: Aberdeen

Do or diversity

THE North Sea oil and gas industry has dominated the Aberdeen economy for many years but the traditional industries have not disappeared and the city has a surprisingly diversified economy. Aberdeen is still one of the top fishing ports in the country and other important industries include food processing, paper manufacture, higher education and financial services.

Scene change

MOST visitors to Aberdeen will be familiar with the strip of ornate granite buildings on Rosemount Viaduct, overlooking Union Terrace Gardens. Here stand three great civic projects of the Edwardian era: the Central Library, St Marks Church and His Majesty’s Theatre. Or, as they were once known in the city, education, salvation and damnation.

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Beefing up the economy

MORE than 3,000 farmers, most of them local, spent a day at Thainstone agricultural centre, Inverurie, recently. The event was Beef 2003, a demonstration of the most up-to-date methods of beef production and advice from experts. The night before, almost 450 people from the beef industry were at a dinner in Aberdeen’s Thistle Airport hotel, the biggest event it has catered for, and no prizes for guessing what was on the menu.

A little bit of Scandinavia

HOW do you fathom a place that produced exotic individualists like Annie Lennox and Lord Byron, and gave Bram Stoker the idea for Dracula? Especially as the same place retains Scotland’s down-to-earth 19th-century proclivity for buccaneering trade with the rest of the globe, and still successfully makes the sort of metal thing you can mend with a spanner.

How well do you know Aberdeen?

• The self-sealing envelope was invented in Aberdeen.

Roll out the barrels

THE North Sea oil and gas industry came to Aberdeen in the early 1970s. At the time no-one knew what its scale would be or how long it would last.

Big country

ABERDEEN is less selfish than other Scottish cities. Which is just as well as it is the gateway to what is a potential tourist paradise in its hinterland. But a paradise not enough people know about.

Chambers of power

THE big surprise about Scotland’s local government election on May 1 was that there were no surprises - except in Aberdeen. Labour lost control of the city for the first time in 17 years, in a humiliating defeat which resulted in their number of councillors being culled overnight from 20 to 14. Now the Lib Dems, in a surprising coalition with the Tories, control the civic administration of Scotland’s third largest city and the oil capital of Europe.

Urban pleasures

VISIT Aberdeen city centre and you wonder where the oil industry is.

People power

ABERDEEN is a city of 211,910 individualists, according to the recent census. They include many of Scotland’s best known entrepreneurs. People like oilman Sir Ian Wood of the Wood Group or Moir Lockhead of FirstBus. Perhaps it is the fact the local economy has never suffered the de-industrialisation seen in Glasgow or Dundee.

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