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Photographs reveal what lies beneath


Original photographs from the early 20th century which offer a unique insight into one of Aberdeen's great civic project will go on show on Saturday 09 February at Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Shiprow.

Dangerous tunneling work was done for the Outfall scheme by teams of diggers wearing flat caps and in the case of the man on the right of the photograph, a pair of short trousers. During the Victorian era Aberdeen the city fathers had to address the sanitary requirements of the growing city. They wanted to ensure the system that was built would be able to serve the city for years to come.

The Girdleness Outfall Scheme was designed to discharge 81 million gallons of waste per day which equates to 300 gallons per day for a population of 270,000. In 2011, the city's population was still only 220,420.

The images capture the scope of this impressive engineering project and offer a unique insight into one of Aberdeen's great civic projects. The images reveal the men hard at work to build the sewer and the conditions in which they worked. The photographs show the city's streets, and beneath them, as they have rarely ever been seen.

Curator Jenny Brown said: "Although not often a topic for polite conversation, sanitary engineering is one of the great Victorian legacies which is still relevant today. This is a chance to find out a little more about the history of something we use everyday, but perhaps take for granted."

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of free talks at Aberdeen Maritime Museum. Advance booking is essential by telephoning (01224) 337714.

Wednesday 06 March Divers were used during the work.
The Girdleness Outfall Scheme
Jenny Brown, curator
12.30pm – 1pm
Aberdeen Maritime Museum

Wednesday 17 April
The history of the Shorelands
Chris Croly, historian
12.30pm- 1pm
Aberdeen Maritime Museum

Wednesday 01 May
Modern Sewage Systems in Aberdeen
Ian Burnett, Scottish Water The start of the sewage pump house, still visible today, in front of Girdleness Lighthouse.
Aberdeen Maritime Museum

The exhibition runs until Saturday 15 June 2013.

Aberdeen Maritime Museum
Opening times
Tuesday – Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday – 12noon-3pm
Closed Monday
Admission free