In the early years of the 19th century, the area was feued by Mr Watson, Mr Shaw and Mr Ewen and a new “turnpike” or toll road was constructed which became the High Street; this was to the north of the former drove road. The feuars were responsible for much of the development that took place over the next few decades. Initially this was mainly new housing but then shops started to appear. In the 1830s a carrier service was established linking Banchory to the outside world. Within 50 years of these initial developments, the High Street had become the commercial centre of the town.
During the middle of the 19th century, many of the buildings on the High Street were extended to two storeys and after Queen Victoria’s visit, Banchory became a fashionable summer holiday destination for the wealthy from Aberdeen, many of whom regularly rented houses. In the late Victorian era, the High Street evolved, with shops regularly changing hands. Banchory also gained significant public services including the Town Hall, built in 1872 and still standing on the High Street which also included a public library. The Town Hall became too small to support the growing population so in the 1890s it was extended.
You can hear a fascinating description of how Banchory appeared to an 8 year old child, Muriel Clark, on her walk to and from school in 1938 here. Muriel, pictured here as a young girl, recorded her memories in 2017. She brings the town to life, with shops, people and relatives colourfully described. One of her clear favourites was D’Agostinos, Banchory’s famous Italian ice-cream shop. Muriel recounts, “you can sit at a glass topped table and have ice cream with chocolate sauce in a little silver dish with a flat spoon…this costs sixpence and is only for special occasions”.
Dee Street and High Street - South Side