Records of Gordon's Mill Farming Club, Aberdeen

Scope and Content

Minute book, 14 Dec. 1758 - 29 Nov. 1764, with enclosures.

The minutes contain a great deal of information about established farming practice in the North East of Scotland, and details of new farming practice being introduced to the country in the mid - late eighteenth century. The subject-matter is varied, and includes details of experiments conducted by members, imports to Aberdeen Harbour, plan of book-keeping for farmers, the expense of ploughing according to the common method of farming, horse hoeing, winter herding, distilling of potatoes, land enclosure, and much more.

Enclosures include wager notes, memorandum re. flour sent to local mills, and correspondence to Professor Gordon re. farming and other matters. There is also a letter of 27 Apr 1898 from P. J. Anderson, of the New Spalding Club, to James Wilson, of 60 Beaconsfield Place, stating that a selection from the minutes of the Gordon's Mill Club might fitly be printed in a volume of Miscellaneous with an introduction to be written by you. The letter also refers to seventeenth century rentals and a diary of c. 1745 held in private hands, and to Dr. W. Alexander's Making of Aberdeenshire ( Aberdeen, 1888).

Administrative / Biographical History

Gordon's Mill Farming Club was formed on 14 Dec. 1758. Membership, limited at fifteen persons in total, was comprised chiefly of University professors, farmers and lairds from the district around Aberdeen, but also included people such as John Auldjo of Ferryhill and Mr Silver of Balnagubs, who represented the growing class of eighteenth century merchants with developing agricultural interests. The club encouraged its members to share information about their own farming practice, and stimulated discussion about new farming methods. It also invited visiting members such as Sir Archibald Grant of Monymusk, agricultural improver and author of A Dissertation on the Chief Obstacles to Improvement of Land (1791), and Robert Barclay of Ury, Stonehaven, agricultural improver, to speak on particular topics on which its members sought advice. The last meeting of the club was held in Jan 1765. Its demise seems to have been prompted by declining interest amongst its members and was perhaps also hastened by its small size.

For further details see Minutes of Gordon's Mill Farming Club, ed. by J.H. Smith, Aberdeen University Studies, 145 (Aberdeen: 1962).


Single item

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Acquisition Information

Date of deposit is not known

Other Finding Aids

Slip list, containing summary description available in the Reading Room, Special Libraries and Archives, University of Aberdeen.

Very brief collection level description available on Aberdeen University Library Catalogue, accessible online

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Conditions Governing Use

Subject to the condition of the original, copies may be supplied for private research use only on receipt of a signed undertaking to comply with current copyright legislation.

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Head of Special Libraries and Archives (e-mail: and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. Where possible, assistance will be given in identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

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A full transcription of the minutes and further information on the Club and its members are contained in Minutes of Gordon's Mill Farming Club, ed. by J.H. Smith, Aberdeen University Studies, 145 (Aberdeen: 1962).

See also, H.J.H. Drummond, Records of Medical and Scientific Societies in Scotland; Early Medical and Scientific Societies of North East Scotland, in Bibliotheck, 1 ( ), 31-33.

Additional Information

This material is original

Geographical Names