Think nothing ever happened in the Granite City? Think again!

I have compiled 100 places of protest, covering the city of Aberdeen and some outlying areas, taking in multiple activist groups and campaigns, and all across a 200 year period. Some of this story is known already, but most is a new story, and an extremely important one, as this story goes to the very heart of how Aberdeen views itself, and how it is viewed by others from outside the city.

Aberdeen’s activist groups have left their mark on the city and if you walk around you will see ghosts of time past. The 100 places come in four types:

  • Spaces used by groups such as meeting rooms and clubs
  • Public spaces
  • Memorials such as commemorative plaques and artworks
  • Spaces that were ‘targets’ for some kind of activity

So are spaces important for activist groups? Are meeting rooms just physical structures in which to gather, or do the spaces themselves affect the activity taking place? I think meeting rooms are more than just a roof over heads. Spaces are absolutely key to building a group mentality to foster co-operation, friendship and communication. It is also about autonomy, where the creation and self-management of a space, is a form of direct action in itself. Also, although meeting rooms come and go, it is the public spaces which remain and they are critical so people can freely gather and make their voices heard.

But is this important to the city and its citizens? I think yes, because place is vitally important and it is contentious: who owns it, who claims it, who uses it and who chooses to memorialise it. This is especially important for public spaces. So although what happened in the past may be vague memories, something tangible remains in our places, and our cities are full of statues, commemorative plaques and sculptures. This memorialisation is not passive. On the contrary, it has been and will continue to have, the potential to be a battleground of ideology and control. How a city memorialises is part of how a city sees itself. This is a continual narrative, forming over time, and informed by experience, belief and quite a few mistruths.

Please see the list here –

The ever excellent Splits & Fusions website has just added some new scans related to The Subversive Graffiti Collective: for more on them see my post here: https://aberdeenprotest.wordpress.com/category/the-subversive-graffiti-collective/


The scans are of some of the news sheets and leaflets put out by the Collective (they are available via a Dropbox link).

In researching the 100 Places of Protest it has highlighted something to me: there are very few related memorials in Aberdeen. There are certainly statues, commemorative plaques and artworks in the city, but, very few that represent the social movements that are covered by this blog. In the last few years this has been remedied somewhat and there have been a number of plaques and artworks added to celebrate the votes for women campaign.

This can also be remedied by adding the 100 notable places to an online interactive map and hopefully that can be added to this blog in the near future.

Yet, surely there should be a lot more plaques and artworks in our public spaces and on notable buildings. A few that immediately spring to mind are plaques for Rev. Alexander Webster, the Trades Hall on Belmont Street and at the C.O. camp at Dyce.

I have made a list of memorials (download link below).

May Day rooms is a physical archive in London for social movements, experimental and marginal cultures and their histories. A project in development is called leftove.rs. – https://leftove.rs/

leftove.rs is a project that seeks to create a shared online archive of radical, anti-oppressive, and working class movements, and the material traces they have left. The platform hopes to aid the dissemination of archived ephemera from these movements, campaigns, and struggles, casting light on histories of resistance from below. We hope that the project will become a vital resource through opening up archives of radical dissent’.

This very impressive portal takes in material from the other sources such as Freedom, Sparrow’s Nest, Lib Com and Archives Autonomies. So a simple search for Aberdeen finds quite a few hits –

There is information in Freedom about the local anarchist groups, copies and pamphlets from Solidarity (Aberdeen) and Solidarity (Scotland) and a copy of Intercom: An Ultra Left Review which includes copies of leaflets from the Subversive Graffiti group. Screenshot shown below:

Now that the 100 Places of Protest has been completed I am starting to compile another list.

I need your help in compiling a list of 100 Actions and Events.

There are some obvious starting points as some are already included in the 100 Places of Protest. Yet, I am looking for examples of direct actions, boycotts, occupations, stunts, notable demonstrations, strikes and events with influential guest speakers etc.


I will be giving an online talk this weekend, hosted by the Aberdeen Social Centre. All welcome!

Saturday, 12th December, 2pm. Please see Facebook link below which has the Zoom address:

Aberdeen Social Centre



*STOP PRESS – RECORDED TALK NOW AVAILABLE – https://archive.org/details/100-places-of-protest

Solidarity (Scotland), is a political party, founded in 2006, by former Scottish Socialist Party MSPs, Tommy Sheridan and Rosemary Byrne.

A branch in Aberdeen was founded in 2015 and has stood in local city council elections.

References: website

Sources: unknown

The Aberdeen Anarchist Festival will be held online on the 21st and the 22nd of November 2020.

All events will take place on Zoom. For more information including registration details see –


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Image based on Rosemount Square, designed by the City Architects in 1938 and completed in 1945. The great arch recalls the Karl Marx-Hof in Vienna. The allegorical figure of Wind sculpture is by Thomas Huxley-Jones who was Head of the Department of Sculpture at Gray’s School of Art.

To read more about Rosemount Square see this article from Mark Chalmers – https://www.urbanrealm.com/blogs/index.php/2011/07/06/rosemount-square-aberdeen-modernism-in-granite?blog=16


Big thanks to Violet Kat for the artwork!

Amongst the various local groups there are very few lists of members that have survived. One very interesting example is the Clarion Club. See more about the Club here – https://aberdeenprotest.wordpress.com/2014/09/06/aberdeen-clarion-club-2/

I have keyed up the available lists of officers and members from the Club minute books and added a document to the Resources section of the website:


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