Mintlaw & District Community Counci
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- meaning the smooth flat place
The village is a centre-point settlement where roads radiate almost equidistant to Fraserburgh in the north, Peterhead to the east, Ellon to the south and New Pitsligo to the west - truly a crossroads to all compass points. Conversely it may be said that all roads lead to Mintlaw, and that is certainly true for the people of Central Buchan, for Mintlaw has grown to be the largest village in Central Buchan and is the hub of the area with its Academy, group doctor practice, dental surgery, police office and public library.
The creation of new settlements to accommodate trades people and estate workers was widespread during the latter half of the 18th century, and the landowners of Buchan established some twenty villages during that period. Most of the "planned" villages were laid out with streets
radiating outwards from a central Square, or village green. Though Mintlaw would eventually develop to a similar pattern, it owed its existence more to location than to any grand plan. The Aberdeen/Fraserburgh turnpike was built between 1800 and 1820, and the village traces its foundations back to 1813.
Prior to this road being built, the coaches ran from manor house to manor house and would have run via Pitfour House and Aden, both to the west of Mintlaw. Mintlaw lay about midway between Ellon and Fraserburgh on the new road and was consequently a convenient resting place. It was also the crossroads with the route from Peterhead to Banff, on which coach traffic traversed Buchan east and west. An old milestone on Station Road is a relic of the time.
By 1841, Mintlaw had a pupulation of 240.
Passenger and mail coaches passed through many times a day. The coaches stopped in the village to give travellers a break at rest houses in South Street, where Mary's hairdressing salon and Fraser's butcher shop now stand. The Pitfour Arms Hotel on The Square was later built for the same purpose and the hotel's stables were on the adjacent site now occupied by the chemist's shop. It was the first Inn to be opened in the village and replaced the earlier rest stop for travellers on South Street. In the 1840s it was the most frequented inn in the parish, despite competition from two others in the neighbouring village of Longside.
On the South side of the square, along from the Pitfour Arms, is the village hall. Built in the late 19th century following a bequest left by local man Sylvester Davidson, a wholesale merchant, and a donation from Charles Farquhar, the bank agent, the hall and the nearby leisure park were given to the community in trust and remain in the trust of the trustees to this day. The bell and clock were added in 1897.
Also on the square was the bank house. This was an imposing building but has since been replaced. Adjacent to the bank house was a general merchant in a building which is still used as a shop with a bar above it.
Going out of the village on the A950 towards New Pitsligo, on the right hand side just before the left turn from Old Deer, stands Cartlehaugh which was a coaching inn at one time (known then as Drumbroad Inn) where travellers could rest or swap horses. The Turnpike Act of 1795 set the distance between toll bars at six miles. Mintlaw lay midway between the toll houses north and south, and midway between the east/west tolls.
The Ferguson family were the Lairds of Pitfour from 1700 through to 1924. Their estate stretched from New Pitsligo to St. Fergus and the turnpike cut through the estate, making the crossroads and sparse settlement at Mintlaw an ideal place to build estate workers' cottages.
These were mainly on South Street, and though the old cottages have been modernised their basic character remains. The placement of families brought with it a need for local services and trades people to support the community and the village grew steadily in the early 1800's, mainly to the south of the central Square at the crossroads.
Victorian times saw the coming of the railway, the Maud to Peterhead line being built in the 1860's. Mintlaw was a scheduled stop on this line. The station was built a little to the west of the village; perhaps because this was more convenient for the Ferguson family of Pitfour and the Russell family of Aden. More affluent homes were built on Station Road to house business and professional people. The Post Office moved to be closer to the railway and became a Crown Office. Mintlaw Station was the postal address for this whole district for many years. The Crown Post Office was combined with that in Peterhead with the closure of our railway in the 1960's, and the village post office moved back to South Street. Telephone numbers too were Mintlaw Station until the early 1970's when the word Station was dropped.
During the 1950's and early-60's much of Mintlaw's expansion was to the east. The housing needs of workers employed in the construction of the Gas Terminal at St. Fergus and the Electricity Generating Station at Peterhead in the 1970's brought major growth. By then we also had our first commuters working in the oil industry. A new housing estate was built to the south-west, followed by the Bain estate to the south-east. The late-1980's saw further private developments to the east, followed by a small public sector estate to the west. The present population is around 2700 but Mintlaw is still growing. The village is a desirable base for many people because of its central location and the many local amenities it offers.
The first school in the village was a small cottage school in South Street. James Mitchel, factor (Estate Manager) for the Ferguson's Pitfour Estate until 1838, bequeathed money to establish girls' schools in Banff, Fetterangus, Rora, Honeyneuk (Maud) and Mintlaw.
A school for both primary and secondary education was later built off Station Road. This was demolished in the 1980's and bungalows now stand on the site. The primary/secondary Mintlaw School was on Longside Road. Until 1981 the nearest senior secondary schools taking pupils through to their sixth year were the Academies in Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Ellon.
Mintlaw Academy opened in 1981 to cater for the increasing population of Central Buchan at large. The school on Longside Road then became a primary school. Now called Mintlaw Primary, its catchment area lies to the east. Pitfour Primary School in front of the Academy opened in 1978 and takes the west as its catchment area. It also runs a nursery school for under-fives.
Mintlaw has never been a Parish in its own right and residents to the west of the village have traditionally been part of Old Deer parish whilst those to the east are part of Longside parish. There are churches (both the Presbyterian Church of Scotland and Episcopalian) in Old Deer and Longside. Nowadays, Mintlaw has a Gospel Hall, a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon Church) and more recently a Mintlaw Community Church.
Aden Country Park
The 230 acre Aden Country Park, with its woodlands, wildlife and nature trails, lies to the west of the village. Facilities include picnic sites and an adventure playground. Extensive displays in the Heritage Centre depict the history of farming in the north east. Hareshowe Working Farm within the Park brings farming methods of the 1940's and 1950's to life. The Park is also the venue for numerous weekend events during the summer and is the area's most popular visitor attraction.
The Buchan Walkway
Mintlaw is an access point to the Buchan Walkway, along the route of the old railway line. This long distance footpath is a haven for plant and animal life, and runs eastwards to Peterhead and six miles (10km) westwards to Maud from where it continues for a further thirty miles (50km) southward through Auchnagatt and Ellon to Dyce on the outskirts of Aberdeen.
Pubs, Hotels and Restaurants
There are two hotels plus a further two lounge bars in Mintlaw, all of which offer meals. The chip shop, with carry-out and restaurant facilities. There are also two Chinese takeaways, an Indian takeaway and a bakery shop offering carry-out lunchtime snacks and a sit down area. The filling station sells takeaway pizzas and pies etc.
A wide variety of shops will be found in the village, including a baker, butcher, grocery stores, chemist, ironmonger, Post Office, a kitchen centre and a bed and furniture outlet. Other services include a large Garden Centre, and funeral director, 2 Hairdressers, 2 garages and a Fire-place centre. The Post Office is bow incorporated within the premises at the new filling station.
The bulk of Mintlaw's industry has been established in recent years and is mainly located on the industrial estate off Station Road. One of the main industries is Macduff Shellfish (shellfish processing factory), who recently expanded and bought the building that previously homed the whitefish processing factory (Abucus), and so now have two large premises in Mintlaw. British Telecom has a base here and there is also an agricultural merchant's store. There is a tree nursery at Aden, and a Local Council depot in South Street.
MINTLAW - THE CROSSROADS OF THE NORTH
North - Fraserburgh (12 miles)
South - Ellon (12 miles)
East - Peterhead (9 miles)
West - New Pitsligo (10 miles)
Population - 2700 but will be increasing over the next few years as there are two large scale housing developments in the pipeline.
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