A grizzly reminder of Aberdeen’s brutal crime and punishment is once more visible to the public.
Many will have walked over the Aberdeen whipping stone unaware of its history, with double yellow lines once even painted over it.
As part of massive partial pedestrianisation works on Broad Street, the stone was covered with tar by contractors on the court side of the road leading some to fear the stone had been lost forever.
But now the stone, which would have been the scene of horror for many condemned through history, has once again reinstated to its former glory.
The crimes for which whipping was the punishment would rarely be counted as such today.
Being considered a “harlot” could land a woman with a serious whipping and perhaps even banishment from the city, while similarly being constantly drunk would also lead to serious punishment.
Chris Croly, a project officer in public engagement officer with research at Aberdeen University and formerly a city historian at the council, said whipping was a common punishment and included in the job description of the hangman.
He said: “The origins of whipping as a punishment are completely lost to us. We know that hanging was very much a Norman import but we cannot be sure about whipping.
“The stone is now one of those things in the city that people walk past all the time and don’t really notice.
“But in history it would have been a well-known place for Aberdonians and it is a reminder of that different time and the different values.
“It goes back to February 1596 where the job of hangman involved the banishing and scouring of people.
“These punishments were used extensively in the medieval period, you find in the records people being whipped as harlots and others later for not accepting the reformation or even for being persistently drunk.
“Prior to the 19th century they didn’t seek to imprison people as a punishment, they would often prefer to punish them physically.
“It also provided spectacle for the crowd, people could be whipped around the town before being banished.”
By 1870 public whipping had come to an end.
Council operations convener John Wheeler said: “I’m delighted that we have preserved this piece of Aberdeen’s heritage as part of the Broad Street development.”