Rubislaw quarry

Rubislaw Quarry is a quarry situated at the Hill of Rubislaw in the west end of the Scottish city of Aberdeen. At 142m deep with a diameter of 120m, Rubislaw Quarry is one of the biggest man-made holes in Europe. Since its closure in 1971, it has filled with water.[1] It has never been marketed as a tourist attraction and is currently inaccessible, hidden by trees and surrounded by flats and office buildings.

View overlooking the quarry

John Smith and Archibald Simpson were architects who constructed some of Aberdeen's best known buildings from granite in the early 19th century. Waterloo Bridge in London, the terrace of the Palace of Westminster and the Forth Bridge[2] were also constructed with granite from Aberdeen. Matthew Forster Heddle found the quarry a good source for the minerals tourmaline and beryl. The fine grey granite from the quarry is visible in the majority of Aberdeen's buildings.


Rubislaw quarry was opened in 1740. In 1778/9, Aberdeen City Council sold it to a businessman for £13, as it was not thought to be a source of good building material. An advert in the Aberdeen Journal of 16 May 1791 states that a seven year lease is to be sold by public auction, and advising that a new road for access is being constructed by the owners.[3]

In 1926, George Hutcheon Jones was killed after slipping on a grassy slope at the quarry and falling to the foot of the quarry, reported to be 320 feet.[4] Similarly, in 1936 a man was reported as having fallen over 400 feet into the quarry.[5]

However, over the next 200 years, an estimated six million tonnes of granite were excavated from the quarry, giving Aberdeen the name of 'The Granite City'. The quarry closed in 1971.

In 2010 the quarry was acquired by former oil consultant Sandy Whyte and Hugh Black, the former managing director of a construction company.[6] The sale price is believed to have been £60,000.[7]


  1. ^ "Biggest man-made hole in Europe goes on sale". STV. 21 January 2010. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  2. ^ Westhofen, Wilhelm (1890). The Forth Bridge/Materials of Construction for the Masonry Piers  – via Wikisource.
  3. ^ "Aberdeen Journal". Aberdeen Journal. 16 May 1791.
  4. ^ "The Scotsman". The Scotsman. 26 June 1926.
  5. ^ "The Scotsman". 15 February 1936.
  6. ^ BBC 9 June 2010 - Famous Aberdeen granite quarry sold
  7. ^ "Peter Ross: Who would pay £60,000 for a 450 foot hole in the ground?". Retrieved 16 March 2018.

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Coordinates: 57°08′24″N 2°08′55″W / 57.1401°N 2.1485°W / 57.1401; -2.1485