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In pictures: Reminiscing about days gone by in the parish of Dyce

Once a small parish in Aberdeenshire, Dyce is now a sprawling settlement that caters for planes, trains and automobiles between the airport, station and AWPR. But at its heart remains an ancient village.

1972: A view along a quiet Victoria Street in Dyce in July 1972. Image: DC Thomson
1972: A view along a quiet Victoria Street in Dyce in July 1972. Image: DC Thomson

The historic parish of Dyce saw unprecedented growth during the Victorian era expanding from a small, rural village to a vital hub of transport and industry.

Dyce was once a small village in Aberdeenshire with an old school, ancient kirk, inn, and far fewer houses than the sprawling suburb it is today.

Speaking in 1969, one of Dyce’s most established residents reminisced about the village in days of old, before the community grew exponentially in Victorian times.

Mabel Rennie was born at Newton, a dairy farm just a stone’s throw from the village, which by the ’60s had the runway of Aberdeen Airport running right through it.

Mabel Rennie, one of Dyce’s longest inhabitants, pictured in 1969. Image: DC Thomson

As a child she walked two miles a day to Stoneywood School and remembered the first crash at Dyce Aerodrome when the airliner ‘Aberdonian’ crashed in 1934.

Just weeks later, the airport opened officially as Dyce Airport, a move the P&J said placed Aberdeen “among the important provincial aviation centres of Great Britain”.

Prior to that, Dyce had become a busy junction for trains heading up the Formartine and Buchan Way, or north to Inverness.

Mabel said the biggest change was housing, and added: “There used to just be a few houses around the Old Inn. The old boathouse was one.”

The new bridge over the Don to link the main road to Oldmeldrum takes shape alongside the old narrow bridge which it will replace shortly in Dyce. Image: DC Thomson

The old boathouse was a throwback to days when the Aberdeen-Port Elphinstone canal ran partly through Dyce.

At the Old Inn, the horses used for pulling the canal barges would change over.

“The inn had to go in 1936 because of road improvements”, lamented Mabel.

But the present-day Dyce would be less recognisable still for its inhabitants of the early 20th Century.

Where once its primary industries were papermills at Grandholm and Stoneywood, and later Lawson’s meat factory, in more recent times it’s been crucial to oil and gas.

In the last 50 years, the original village has been enveloped by industrial estates and offices.

1957: An accordion provides some of the entertainment for excited children at one of the factory parties which were so popular in that era. These children are at the Lawson’s of Dyce party which was held in the staff canteen in 1957. Image: DC Thomson

And although Dyce is no longer a busy railway junction, it’s the Aberdeen bypass that now cuts through surrounding farmland.

But there are still treasures of the historic parish to be found, like the ancient Chapel of St Fergus and its Pictish stones.

While our archives don’t stretch to the 13th Century, we’ve dug out a few snaps of changing Dyce over the last 90 years.

In pictures: Dyce days of the past

1979: Agnes Watson, offshore personnel officer for Dyce firm Wharton Williams Ltd, showing off the one-man atmospheric pressure at Offshore Europe. Image: DC Thomson
1993: Inverness curlers, from left, Alan Chalmers, Peter Deboer and Steve Rankin in action in the Stewart Milne Construction men’s invitation competition at Dyce Leisure Club. Warwick Smith’s Perth team beat Inverness 7-6 in the final. Image: DC Thomson
1934: An aerial view of Dyce looking much smaller, although the railway yard then was much bigger – sidings and sheds are in the centre of the photo. Image: DC Thomson
1980: Dyce Academy staff accommodation with some of the 45-strong teaching team who spent part of the summer preparing for the opening. Image: DC Thomson
1972: A view along a quiet Victoria Street in Dyce in July 1972. Image: DC Thomson
1993: Mrs Murray’s primary one class at Dyce Primary School. Image: DC Thomson
1938: Avro Anson of 612 “County of Aberdeen” Squadron Auxiliary Air Force at Dyce. Image: DC Thomson
1985: This group of regulars at a Dyce pub were more than pulling their weight for charity. In fact, the Spider’s Web customers were hauling seven and a half tons of 1940 Bedford fire engine, complete with turntable and pump for seven miles round private roads at Aberdeen Airport, Dyce to raise money for the Special Nursery Appeal. Image: DC Thomson
1983: Two table displays of chrysanthemums and carnations admired by committee members of Aberdeen and District Flower Club at their annual dinner in the Skean Dhu, Dyce. Centre left is Edith Jamieson with, centre right, Doris Lees. Image: DC Thomson
1988: The broad sweep of a new link road from Dyce Drive to Kirkhill Industrial Estate near Aberdeen Airport under construction. Work to complete a bridge over the Aberdeen-Inverness railway line was part of the improvement scheme. Image: DC Thomson
1985: On-the-ball secretary Evonne Allen holds the pin as Bill Farman, from Peterhead, putts out on the EDECO course at Kirkhill industrial estate, Dyce. Also in the picture are Mike Watt and ‘greenkeeper’ Sandy Duncan. Image: DC Thomson
1975: Scots actor Gordon Jackson, right, opened an account with the new Dyce branch of Aberdeen Savings Bank in May 1975, officially opening the bank’s 62nd branch. Attending to Mr Jackson is branch manager William Coull. Image: DC Thomson

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