Mad, Bad and Dangerous: Lord Byron the Aberdeen laddie

Come and see the twa laddies with the twa club feet going up Broad Street

If Aberdeen had been any other city it would have laid claim to Lord Byron long ago. The ‘English’ poet who by reputation was mad, bad and dangerous to know.

Few Aiberdeen loons aren’t.

He is English by a technicality. He was fathered by an Englishmen, a drunken ne’er do well who abandoned his wife and baby son only seeking them out, in Aberdeen, to get the last of his wife’s fortune out of her.

Mrs Byron was Katherine Gordon from Gight near Banff, and heiress to the estate there and a direct descendant of James I to boot, a family of greater substance than  gold-digger  Johnnie Byron’s.

She changed the spelling of her name to the English Catherine but she lost more than the K from her name. Her husband immediately began divesting her of her money, then the estate was sold off. A child was born but within two years the Byrons or Gordons, for he had to adopt her family name in order to sell off the family wealth, were living in Aberdeen with the bairnie George.

The money was now all gone and so too was Johnny-waste-of-space-Byron.

The loon grew up around Broad Street and Virginia Street. His first school was in Longacre and then he went onto the Grammar where he carved his name on one of the benches.

He used to chum about with another boy with a hurple and together they’d chant,

Come and see the twa laddies with the twa club feet going up Broad Street

When he was ten Geordie Gordon inherited the title Baron Byron from his now dead father’s uncle and the loon moved to England for a few years before moving abroad where he died in 1824.

He returned once to the area, to Ballater, and from there he climbed Morven for the last time. It is said that he never lost his Scottish accent; meaning Aberdeen and the Doric.

He was, of course, half Scots, indeed he claimed so himself, and so at the very least is a British, not English poet. His roots were very much in northeast Scotland and the land and language is said to come out in his poetry, and just possibly his reputation for raising the roof.

In February 1876 a letter to a local newspaper described something of the poet’s boyhood in Aberdeen

The author refers to a Byron memorial which I’ll come back to and goes on to describe something of the poet’s boyhood in Aberdeen which you can read for yourselves.

Byron copy 1

Lord Byron, Aberdeenbyron 3 againByron 4

And as far as I know there never was a Byron memorial built but in Aberdeen there’s aye Byron Square – where it’s not unknown for mad, bad and dangerous happenings to occur of a weekend. I’m sure Geordie Gordon would have been happy with that.

The Gowk

 

 

 

 

4 Comments to “Mad, Bad and Dangerous: Lord Byron the Aberdeen laddie”

  1. I didn’t know this…but hardly surprising. Never questioned when he was described as English.

  2. Fit aboot The Lord Byron Pub, now if that’s not a fitting memorial for a man who favoured drink and rough and tumble I don’t know what is.

  3. The mannie or at least a representation of him, as far as I know, stands at the Grammar School; unveiled 1923 taking almost thirty years from proposal to unveiling. Another example of the startling speed of the city in promoting itself and its men and women of pairts.

    • Oh aye – I think I’ve only been in the Grammar grounds once. Must have driven past it. Will take a look. Is that the national monument to him? Still think Byron Square beats it for public access.

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