Russell Head – Aberdeen, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

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Russell Head

Provost Skene’s House

This effigy was crafted to annoy a neighbor after a civil dispute over a foul smell.  


To deal with a troublesome neighbor, George Russell (1810 -1899) of Aberdeen selected a rather unusual and novel approach.

Russell opted for a metal likeness of his face, with the mouth in a fixed scream that was mounted on the corner of his business. Russell ran a bakery on the now non-existent Ragg’s Lane, which was located near a sewer. Believing that his neighbor complained about odors coming from the bakery area, Russell took it upon himself to install this hideous effigy so his neighbor would be forced to look at this grimacing visage.

Russell’s bakery was shut down, and nearly a century later in 1959, the grotesque was relocated to the southeast corner of the Provost Skene’s House. This building is the oldest surviving townhouse in Granite City, dating from the mid-16th century. It has gone through many alterations and now houses a museum. In 2019, the structure underwent a major refurbishment.

Know Before You Go

Provost Skene’s House is open 7-days-a-week. Admission is free and no advance booking is required.

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August 29, 2022

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