In 1892 Aberdeen Central Library was erected on Rosemount Viaduct in an elevated position giving it an unparalleled outlook over the city it was built to serve. Having been witness to the comings and goings for the 124 years since, it is no wonder that this three storey Renaissance building is now the guardian of a treasure trove of history on Aberdeen and the surrounding area.

Image: Aberdeen City Council

The Local Studies Collection, located within the top-floor Reference Centre, is the legacy of George Milne Fraser, an expert on the North-east and the City Librarian for the first 38 years of the 20th  century. Today, the collection is an enviable resource that boasts a vast array of documented history in a variety of formats, some available from the comfort of your own home.

Whether you are looking into your own family history or researching for a school assignment, here you can scan through original newspaper clippings, local publications, government transcripts, parish registers and area maps, some of which date back to the 1600s. If pictures are worth more to you there is an extensive collection of photographs including the George Washington Wilson archive. Best of all, there are knowledgeable librarians on hand to guide you through the wealth of information that is available.

If you simply cannot find the time to get into the library, the Silver City Vault is an ongoing project of the Local Studies Collection, aiming to upload as many of its available images as possible to the internet, making a global endeavour of Aberdeen’s local history.

These days, a lot of people consider Google to be the oracle on all things but when it comes to local history, nothing can compete with a library that has dedicated its own history to preserving it. Besides, a computer screen just cannot convey history quite like
the feel and smell of a stained old bit of newspaper.

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