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Latitude: 57.1433 / 57°8'35"N
Longitude: -2.1249 / 2°7'29"W
OS Eastings: 392537
OS Northings: 805828
OS Grid: NJ925058
Mapcode National: GBR S7N.C6
Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.BQC7
Plus Code: 9C9V4VVG+82
Entry Name: Queen's Cross Free Church, Carden Place, Aberdeen
Listing Name: Carden Place and Albyn Place, Queen's Cross Church (Church of Scotland), Including Gatepiers and Boundary Walls
Listing Date: 12 January 1967
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 354379
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB19948
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Hazlehead/Queens Cross/Countesswells
Traditional County: Aberdeenshire
J B Pirie, of Pirie and Clyne, 1879-1881; additions J A O Allan, 1939 and A R Whitelaw 1971. Single storey with gallery, 3-bay, T-plan rogue-gothic church with shallow transepts and halls to E. Tooled coursed grey granite ashlar with finely finished dressings. Rough-faced battered base course; dividing band course; pointed-arched openings; highly decorative panelled and boarded timber doors; chamfered reveals; steeply chamfered cills; principal gables crowstepped with segmental insets.
W (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: asymmetrical; gabled centre bay, flanked by buttress to left, terminating in arcaded pinnacle; doorway to ground floor, elaborate doorpiece: advanced gableted porch supported by squat columns with stiff-leaf capitals, decorative mouldings with paterae label stops, trefoil-headed tooled panel set in gablehead, stone finial to apex; pointed-arched doorway supported by colonnettes with stiff-leaf capitals, inset glazed quatrefoil and 2 trefoils to tympanum, J B Pirie's monogram to left jamb, 2-leaf door; 2 navel-like paterae to wall behind porch gablet; pair of trefoil-headed small windows with multi-foil window above set in pointed arches to left and right of doorway. Large 4-light window with early geometric tracery centred above doorway, row of small trefoil-headed windows along base, hoodmould with scrolled label stops; small lancet flanked by 2 tiny openings set in gablehead, dated "1879" above, decorative stone finial to apex. Recessed bay to left, curved outer angle corbelled out to form right angle below eaves; pointed-arched doorway to ground floor, supported on colonnettes with stiff-leaf capitals, hoodmould with paterae label stops, pink granite quatrefoil flanked by navel-like paterae set in tympanum, 2 leaf door; 2 narrow lancets above; gableted flat-arched tripartite window above breaking eaves, quatrefoil set in gablehead. Square-plan 5-stage engaged tower to bay to right with octagonal clasping buttresses terminating in stone spires with iron navel-like paterae finials; pointed-arched doorway to 1st stage, supported on colonnettes with stiff-leaf capitals, hoodmould with paterae label stops, pink granite quatrefoil flanked by navel-like paterae set in tympanum, 2 leaf door; soaring triple lancets to 2nd stage, with tiny quatrefoil above; bracketed platform with parapet to 3rd stage, 3 shouldered openings with multi-foil opening above set in recessed gablet; octagonal-plan 4th stage, with open colonnade on squat columns; gablet to each side of 5th stage with quatrefoil inset, conical stone spire with 4 stone lucarnes, decorative iron finial to apex.
S ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 7-bay; tower to outer left (see above); tripartite window with bipartite pointed-arched traceried window above, to each of 3 bays flanking tower to right, 3 decorative timber lucarnes to roof above; 2 gabled transept bays to right flanked by buttresses, tripartite window with bipartite pointed-arched traceried window above to each bay, 3 square openings above, 2 small lancets to centre of gablehead with stepped hoodmoulds, multi-foil window set in gablehead, square-plan arcaded pinnacles enclosing gable to left and right; gabled bay to right, highly decorative pointed-arched doorway to ground floor, scrolled tympanum with wave-like brackets and paterae; deeply set shouldered doorway flanked by 2 small windows, 2-leaf boarded timber door, curved outer angle to wall above, 6 quatrefoil openings with paterae to centre of each, decorative openings and scrolled finial to apex. Single storey 2-bay block adjoining to outer right, gabled bay to left, with 3-light window set in hoodmould, openings set in gablehead, 4 convex-shouldered flat-arched openings to bay to right, single decorative timber lucarnes to roof above. Canted 5-light addition by J A O Allan (1939) adjoining; 1971 addition by A R Whitelaw to far right.
E ELEVATION: gabled; lower half obscured by later additions (see above and below); decorative traceried rose window with hoodmould to centre; small lancet with hoodmould set in gablehead, stone finial.
N ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 7-bay; gabled bay slightly advanced to right, curved outer right angle corbelled to form right angle, 3 small trefoil-headed lancets at ground, pointed-arched hoodmould above enclosing 3 broken lancets, outer 2 trefoil-headed; small rectangular opening set in gablehead, stone finial to apex; tripartite window with bipartite pointed-arched traceried window above, to each of 3 bays to centre, 3 decorative timber lucarnes to roof above; 2 gabled transept bays to left flanked by buttresses, tripartite window with bipartite pointed-arched traceried window above to each bay, 3 square openings above, 2 small lancets to centre of gablehead with stepped hoodmoulds, quatrefoil window set in gablehead, square-plan arcaded pinnacles enclosing gable to left and right; recessed bay to outer left, gableted shouldered doorway to ground floor, 2-leaf boarded timber door with leaded fanlights, tripartite window set in gablehead above. Single storey gabled bay advanced to left, crowstepped gable; boarded timber door to centre of ground floor, flanked by small windows to left and right, convex-shouldered tripartite window above, pointed-arched hoodmould enclosing 3 quatrefoil openings centred in gablehead, curved outer walls; 2 windows to right return. Single storey addition by J A O Allan (1939) to outer left, single window to right, flat-roofed block flanking to left, doorway to centre flanked by windows, gabled bay advanced to outer left, with tripartite window.
Predominantly stained glass and leaded windows. Grey slate roof with lead ridges. Stone skews with gableted skewputts. Cast-iron rainwater goods.
INTERIOR: fine interior; painted; nave and aisles; U-plan gallery supported on elongated cast-iron columns with stiff-leaf capitals supporting pointed-arches of colonnade at gallery level; timber boarded below dado; pews removed at ground floor, only stalls behind communion table survive, with decoratively carved timber panel along wall behind; panelled gallery, original pine pews, painted, with unusual decoratively scrolled pew-ends, organ to W; decorative timber boarded and panelled timber doors throughout; decoratively moulded cornice; vaulted panelled timber roof decoratively stencilled with navel-like paterae at crossings. Porch to W of church, coffered ceiling, with 4 paterae to each crossing, 2-leaf boarded and panelled timber doors flanked by panels, decorative glazing, flanked by timber colonnettes. Twisted spiral stairs to NW and SW, distinctively turned balusters, decoratively carved and turned newel posts. Some early 20th century stained-glass including rose window with 9 roundels to E end and 2-light window to S gallery, both by Douglas Strachan.
GATEPIERS AND BOUNDARY WALLS: 2 pairs of square-plan gatepiers to W of church on Albyn Place and Carden Place, grey granite, battered base, sunken fillet forming cross in shaft, pink granite neck, coped with pyramidal caps, spherical finial to apex; low granite walls flanking; coped granite rubble walls to remainder.
Ecclesiastical building in use as such. This "handsome edifice in granite" (Gammie p67) was designed to serve the expanding community to the W of Aberdeen. In 1879 the competition for its design was won by J B Pirie, then only 26 years old. The church is essentially a more elaborate version of Pirie's design for South Church, Fraserburgh (see separate listing). Queen's Cross Church combines High Victorian gothic, Greek, Scots Baronial, Aesthetic Movement and even Art Nouveau motifs resulting in a church which is witty, bold and imaginative. The navel-like paterae appear in the majority of the designs by the partnership. The paterae are probably a development of the sunflower (a favourite motif of the Aesthetic Movement) or daffodil. A variation of the patera is also a favourite motif of Alexander Thomson, who appears to have been a strong influence on Pirie in particular. The squat columns also occur throughout Pirie and Clyne's buildings (see Hamilton Place and Argyll Place, separate listings). Similarly squat columns are also used by Alexander Thomson at the side entrance to St. Vincent Street Church, Glasgow, of 1857-8 (see separate listing). Less common is Pirie's monogram on the side of the principal doorway, only otherwise seen at 50 Queen's Road and the James Saint Monument in Allenvale Cemetery (see separate listings). The interior has changed appearance many times as a result of successive remodellings. The original pews which do survive are particularly fine, with carved pew-ends being variations of Pirie's wave-like scrolls, also found on the outside of the building. Attention to detail extends to the doors, ceilings and sweeping banisters, with paterae throughout. The woodwork was originally highly polished, but has since been painted. There was also at one time a magnificent organ to match (now removed), which was installed at a cost of over £1200 (Gammie p170). The distinctively turned balusters of the 2 stairs can also be found in their domestic designs (notably Hamilton Place). The fine rose window (1920) by the renowned stained glass artist Douglas Strachan (1875-1950) illustrates his vivid use of colour and increasingly stylised approach to imagery. Change of category from B to A, 19 October 1984.
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