The once bustling Aberdeen street that disappeared

The Lemon Tree, then Aberdeen's most famous tavern, was demolished when Huxter Row was cleared for development. PIC: Courtesy of Aberdeen City Libraries.
The Lemon Tree, then Aberdeen's most famous tavern, was demolished when Huxter Row was cleared for development. PIC: Courtesy of Aberdeen City Libraries.
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It was home to one of Aberdeen’s most famous taverns and a jumble of wooden booths where watchmakers, confectioners, hat makers and booksellers would sell their wares.

But bustling Huxter Row, a trading heart first listed in the 14th Century, has long been erased from the city scape.

Huxter Row was once a busy street of merchants in Aberdeen City Centre but was flattened to make way for the Town House in the 1860s. PIC:  Courtesy of Aberdeen City Libraries

Huxter Row was once a busy street of merchants in Aberdeen City Centre but was flattened to make way for the Town House in the 1860s. PIC: Courtesy of Aberdeen City Libraries

The narrow street, which ran parallel to Union Street and joined with Broad Street, was flattened in the early 1860s as the city centre expanded.

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Today, all that remains of Huxter Row, which was demolished to make way for the Town House, is a line of cobbles to mark its former entrance on Union Street.

Among the buildings lost was the original Lemon Tree Hotel, a favourite of city business men, traders and visiting judges.

Jean Ronald, former landlady at the Lemon Tree in Huxter Row, who was well loved for her hospitality and smoked fish teas. PIC: Aberdeen City Libraries.

Jean Ronald, former landlady at the Lemon Tree in Huxter Row, who was well loved for her hospitality and smoked fish teas. PIC: Aberdeen City Libraries.

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Advertised as the “oldest commercial and best dining house in Aberdeen” which was run by the redoubtable Jean Ronald who was famed for her creamy Haddock finnans and “magnificent” partan claws.

Much business of the city was conducted in this cosy tavern. It was where the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce’s first meeting took place and where public routs, or auctions, would frequently be held.

Dr Fiona-Jane Brown, a historian with a special interest in Aberdeen, said: “Of course Huxter Row is now lost but it was a very important site in the city.

“Huxter Row really does sound a bit like The Shambles in York with its wooden booths that go back to the 14th Century.

“Huxter is a Shetland word for a peddlar and you can almost picture this bustling street where a lot of trade was done.”

Huxter Row was also home to the city’s first police office with the East Prison and the original Town House surrounding the wynd.

City leaders embarked on a mass upgrade of the area surrounding Union Street in 1817 with many existtng buildings demolished. Aberdeen was bankrupted as property owner demanded high sums for their plots, Dr Brown said.

Huxter Row survived for another 60 years. As well as the Lemon Tree, the Rising Sun, run by Agnes Snowie and a third tavern owned by a Mrs Mortimer also went.

Mrs Ronald’s retirement party was marked with a “lavish celebration” to which she wore her “amplest black silk gown, a snow-white cap and a hand bag over her arm.”

Following the demolition, The Lemon Tree transferred to a house in St. Nicholas Street. The name emerged once again with the Lemon Tree arts venue in West North Street, which sits close to the site of the original Huxter Row hotel.

For more pictures of Aberdeen’s rich history, visit www.silvercityvault.org.uk