Brief History of UTG

Union Terrace Gardens are in the Denburn Valley part of Aberdeen and have been used by the citizens of Aberdeen for more than 150 years. Known as "The Trainie" park (due to the railway line that runs through the gardens), the park has provided pleasure to countless city dwellers and visitors to Aberdeen. It was officially opened as a park in 1878 after the bleaching greens next to the railway line and Corby Haugh were given to the people of Aberdeen as "a pleasure ground" by the local council in 1876.

FoUTG receive many letters from people who grew up in Aberdeen in the first part of the 20th century and many from those who live there now. They all consider UTG their gardens and value it as much now as they did 100 years ago.


"My first memory of the Gardens - bursting for a pee when my mum had taken me down town shopping and going into a lovely tiled toilet with a shiny new 2 pence piece to put in the slot (it hadn't been changed over to decimalisation and worked the same as an old penny).  There was a lady there ready with a jay cloth as soon as I finished (for the toilet, not me) and was the cleanest place outside my home I had been to.  It didn't take much for my sister and me to persuade mum to let us run around on the grass down in the gardens and it seemed in my young mind to be a long way from the city centre.  Fast forward a decade and the Gardens were the "cool" place to meet friends, C&A's doorway being crammed.  We would be meeting to go shopping, but usually ended up, weather permitting, sitting on the grass talking.  Another decade and it's the first place I saw the Lorelei, and various other new Aberdeen bands in a big white tent.  A lot of fringe events happened there in the early '90s and all for minimal spends (vital for students) and I don't remember there being anything other than a fantastic atmosphere. And then.....well nothing really.  Rumour abounded that the gardens were just used by ne'er do wells and looking down on it, I could believe it.  It became a bit, well, shabby.  You could tell just by looking at them that they were well down the list of priorities.  And the lovely toilets were closed so if you were caught short down town, you had to buy a coffee or a pint to get to one. Now the Gardens are reawakening - it's like discovering the Secret Garden.  My son and daughter already have their first memories of the park now and I sincerely hope that their children will too." Sarah Grant, NHS Administrator, Peterculter. 7/7/2010

"I remember going to Union Terrace Gardens to watch bands play in the 90's. It's a great place to entertain and be entertained, almost shaped like a amphitheatre. Then they closed the public toilets and these events had to stop - such a shame. If there was more going on down in the gardens, more people would use them - even a coffee shop, re-vamped toilets and a ramp for better access would make a huge difference - but the important thing is that the beautiful gardens should be preserved. One of my favourite things about UTG are the huge granite stairways and the view of the theatre from down in the gardens. Aberdeen is really lucky to have this green space right in the heart of the busy city. It's a lovely place to go at lunchtime with the kids to get away from the busy streets and meet up with friends. Why anyone would want to take this gem away from Aberdeen is beyond me." Lindsay Allardyce, Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire. 6/7/2010

20th Century UTG

 Union Terrace Gardens has been used by countless different people, organisations, artists, musicians and many more over the last 150 years. 

All through the 20th century it has been a fantastic venue for all sorts of different musical events from ceilidh bands to dance acts.

There is a fantastic video opposite of a packed Hallyracket concert in 1995. This is how I remember the gardens and how FoUTG would like to see them again; restored, with disabled access and basic amenities.


 "When the proposals initially emergde I was impartial and didn't mind either way. However during a conversation that I had with my grandmother, she informed me that my great grandfather was a master gardener who worked as one of the maintenance staff/gardening in the UTG, and he played a big part in keeping UTG beautiful. Anyway, I did feel a sense of real pride in knowing that my ancestor played a significant part in the UTG's history, and as such is why I would want to preserve the beauty of the gardens, whilst at the same time seeing some kind of small improvements to enhance the gardens instead of damage or fill them". - Ross Grant, Honours Student (Politics + International Relations), very proud resident of Tillydrone, 6/7/2010

"I live In flat with no garden and UTG is where I go if I want to chill out. I have lived in Aberdeen since 1974 and can remember the draughts and the lovely toilets (it was an appalling decision to close them!) My son played there when he was little and he is even more annoyed than I am about the plans to destroy them....he now lives in Dundee. In the 1990s I went to the best New Year party Aberdeen have put on...more intimate than the one in the Castlegate and the fact that it is not at street level meant shelter from the cold winds! I do not want new gardens at street level...I want UTG to stay at the level it is now, the toilets restored and a kiosk selling coffee and snacks like the one in St Andrews Square in Edinburgh. There is not one good reason to go ahead with the raising of the gardens on the contrary it will cost money we do not have, mean years of disruption leading to people deserting the city as a shopping destination, it will be cold and exposed and windy on all but the sunniest wind free days." - Sue Channon, Train Guard, Aberdeen7/7/2010