Memories of Broadford Works

A special event focussing on the history of Aberdeen’s Broadford Works is being held on Saturday 17 September at 11am in the Town and County Hall, Aberdeen Town House.

Featuring exhibits from the Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives and the city’s museum collection, the event will include material from Richards, the textile firm which owned the Broadford Works.

Alongside these exhibits the event at Aberdeen’s Town House will also feature a number of images kindly loaned from the Aberdeen Journals Ltd photographic archive.

Items on display will include a pattern book with fabric samples from the late 19th century and the certification of Richards’ incorporation as a limited company from 1898.

The archive collection includes a small quantity of staff records and some early examples will be on display at the event, including a Porter’s Book from the later 1910s which recorded staff who were late to work.

Plans of key buildings on the site, including the New North and South Mill and the Bastille, from the archive’s building warrant collection will also be on display as well as footage of Broadford Works from the collections of the National Library of Scotland’s Moving Image Archive.

From 2-3pm Mark Watson from Historic Environment Scotland will give a talk about the early 19th century owners of the mill and throughout the day there will be activities for children including a chance to have a go at weaving.

Aberdeen City Council Deputy Leader Councillor Marie Boulton said: “This event promises to provide a fascinating look back at one of Aberdeen’s most iconic buildings and at an industry which was a key influence on how Aberdeen developed during the industrial revolution.

“I am especially interested in the old staff records - at one time Richards was the biggest manufacturing employer in Aberdeen and in its heyday employed up to 3,000 staff. We would love former staff to come along on the day and share their memories. We’ve already had some photographs of staff social events donated by a former worker and will have a large site plan for you to annotate on the day with your stories.

“The Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives team is also hoping to carry out oral history interviews with former staff as a follow up to the event; hopefully we’ll be able to sign up a few people on the day.”