Died in the Poor House

The death certificate for Adam Rettie (my Great-Great Uncle) states that he died in the Aberdeen East Poor House in 1905.

The 1901 Census shows him living with his family of wife Isabella and their 3 daughters and 2 sons at 3 Causey Place in the parish of St Nicholas in Aberdeen.  Adam himself was born in the landward parish of Monquhitter, whereas the rest of the family were all born within Aberdeen itself.

His death certificate reveals the family had recently moved to 206 Gallowgate.  Judging by the name, this was not the best end of town!  I can only imagine that things got bad for him as a result of the relentless Industrial Revolution, given that his occupation was Cattle Drover.  (The death certificate also gives his age as 42, when in fact he was only 39).

The East (or St Nicholas) Poor House was sold off in 1908 as a Roman Catholic school when the new Old Mill Poor House was built.  Unfortunately the buildings were later demolished, as it would have been a humbling experience to visit the site.

I must admit that I had thought that poorhouses had only existed in Victorian times and did not realise that they existed well into the 20th Century.  It was also interesting to learn that in Scotland they were called poorhouses whereas in the rest of the UK they were called workhouses.

The 1911 Census shows the family still living in Gallowgate and that Adam’s son (also Adam) followed in his father’s footsteps and became a Cattleman.  Let’s hope he had a better end…



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