Who remembers the packed pavements of Union Street in bygone Decembers, when shoppers picked up last-minute gifts and, laden with bags, squeezed onto busy buses home?
Our December photos evoke the warm glow of festive nostalgia that has become a little lost over the years.
Aberdeen’s Granite Mile is decidedly quieter these days than in 1971; shopping malls and online retail put paid to that.
Some of you may even recall the Salvation Army salvationists who would pop round the pubs to spread festive cheer – and a listening ear to anyone who needed them.
The Press and Journal ran a special report at Christmas in 1980, shadowing Sally Army volunteers on their rounds.
They were probably the only people in Aberdeen who went on a pub crawl every Friday night and didn’t touch a drop.
Temperance and tolerance in Aberdeen pubs
Temperance and tolerance were two of the charity’s principles – they didn’t take a drink, but didn’t condemn those who did.
It was the only Christian organisation in Britain granted weekly visits to pubs, and were familiar faces in Aberdeen.
The Salvation Army had been doing pub tours since 1921. Punters would willingly dig deep in their pockets for their collecting tins in exchange for the Army’s paper ‘War Cry’.
Salvationist Gordon Smith was part of the P&J feature. He said: “The purpose of our tour is not just to sell the paper, but to meet people who might want to talk to us about their problems.”
It was a valuable part of their ministry. The object was not to “hard sell” religion, but to maintain a presence in communities in case help was needed.
Firmly putting paid to the stingy Aberdonian stereotype, Captain Ray Houghton, Aberdeen Citadel commanding officer, said despite a recession in 1970 “people in Aberdeen were just as generous as ever”.
George Shirreffs, owner of the Lochside and Harriet bars, added: “Everybody sees what the Salvation Army do in their own town or community.”
The Salvation Army’s pub visits may not have been everyone’s cup of tea (or pint of beer for that matter). But even the most staunch atheists could appreciate the festive cheer the Army’s brass band brought at Christmas time.
December memories in pictures
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