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Townhouse Clock Tower /

This is a city of secrets. Of bones and skulls. Witchcraft and curse. A city ruled by the sea. A trading place, a passing point, a route to the Shetlands and beyond. Where oil and granite meet. And white sands stretch from Scalp Bank to Buchan Deep. A city built on stilts, of wynds and tunnels and bleak cobbled streets. Cigarette butts, drinkers at dawn, howling dogs on the gallows’ hill. Commerce bleeds from every block, with diamonds and whiskey, and coal fire coughs. And all roads lead to the harbour. The smell of fish, just a memory now. And markers of old trade – unions and guilds – map buildings with crests and leopards carved in stone. What once was, what could be. Science, anatomy, two universities. Seething crowds on Union Street speak Doric by the bus stop, discuss the possibilities. This is a place of pioneers, of workers, mariners, grafters and resistance. Easterlies blow from Fittie, its salty frost rests on the lips, the bitter cold a part of this land. Gold shimmers through granite and steeples silhouette on the day’s fading light. Dusk closes in at Pittodrie, as the last rays drop behind Town House’s sight.


This project was a collaboration with writer Adelle Stripe who explored the city with me and created the stories and histories that sit alongside the thirteen main images from the exhibition. Secret Cities Aberdeen was part of the SPECTRA Festival of Light 2017 in Aberdeen and commissioned by Curated Place. 

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