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King Street, St Andrew's Cathedral (Episcopal)

A Category A Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1491 / 57°8'56"N

Longitude: -2.093 / 2°5'34"W

OS Eastings: 394473

OS Northings: 806471

OS Grid: NJ944064

Mapcode National: GBR SD6.0P

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.TKJS

Entry Name: King Street, St Andrew's Cathedral (Episcopal)

Listing Date: 12 January 1967

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 354384

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB19953

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: George St/Harbour

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

Archibald Simpson, 1816-17, with chancel by G E Street, 1880 and porch by Sir R S Lorimer, 1911. Interior, Sir Ninian Comper, 1936-43. Perpendicular Gothic cathedral comprising nave and flanking aisles situated on main thoroughfare of King Street. Sandstone ashlar to W (King Street elevation), snecked granite rubble to rear. Hoodmoulds, deep-set, pointed-arched, transomed and mullioned tracery windows, dominant 3-stage crocketted and finialled engaged spirelets.

West (entrance elevation): symmetrical 3-bay gabled elevation with taller central bay with large intricate 4-light tracery window. Low 1911 Lorimer entrance porch with tracery window and entrance at re-entrant angle. Central bay flanked by pair of large engaged spirelets, rising from ground, pair of smaller spirelets to corner of outer bays. Pierced parapet to central bay, castellated to outer bays.

Predominantly 2, 3 and 4-light tracery windows, some stained glass. Grey slate.

INTERIOR: largely intact decorative scheme by Sir Ninian Comper. 6-bay white-painted pointed-arched arcaded nave with side aisles and chapels. Vaulted ceiling with decorative panels depicting the arms of 48 States in America and local families (see Notes). Chancel with large decorative gold painted baldachino and carved oak screen. Some good quality stained glass windows, including one by Comper, depicting Christ in Majesty. Timber pews and carved timber choir stalls.

Statement of Interest

: Ecclesiastical building in use as such. Built by the renowned local architect Archibald Simpson this was one of the first buildings to be built on this section of the newly planned King Street. With work by the important architects, Simpson, Street and Lorimer, Saint Andrew's Cathedral is a notable building. It is particularly distinctive for its use of sandstone on the principal elevation, a rarity in the granite-dominated city. The quality of detailing on the entrance elevation, such as the fine tracery windows is exceptional. The building has a fine interior scheme by the distinguished architect Ninian Comper. Originally built as a Church, it became a Cathedral in 1914. The church originally had a gallery, which was removed in 1909

The church has a close link with the American Episcopal Church, as the latter claims its foundations from Aberdeen. After the American Wars of Independence, the church in America, which was Anglican was separated from the English church and its Bishops could no longer be consecrated in England. Samuel Seabury, elected as Bishop in America was therefore consecrated in Aberdeen in 1784 by the bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church. In gratitude, the American Church wanted to build a large Cathedral in Broad Street in the 1920s, with Sir Ninian Comper as architect. The Wall Street Crash, however, prevented these plans and Comper was commissioned instead to redecorate the interior of the existing cathedral.

Archibald Simpson (1790-18470 was one of the major architects involved in designing the expanding nineteenth century city of Aberdeen. He designed many of the important works in the city including 5 Castle Street and The Music Hall (see separate listings).

John Ninian Comper (1864-1960) was one of the finest 20th century church architect and designers. Born in Aberdeen, his output consists mainly of internal church furnishings and stained glass

King Street developed after 1794, when a town council meeting asked the engineer Charles Abercrombie to find a way to connect the original steep, muddled Medieval streets of Aberdeen to the surrounding countryside. His plan was for two streets, one of which would run from Castlegate to the Denburn and the other which would run from the Castlegate to the North of the town. The latter was King Street. A competition for designs for this new street brought forward a design from Thomas Fletcher. This was to be a long classical fa├žade, with a pedimented centrepiece and higher end blocks. This design was begun on the East side in 1805, with the creation of nos 8-10 (see separate listing). The Episcopalian community bought the central feu of this part of King Street and instead of the originally intended classical structure, envisaged by the designers, they chose to build this Gothic Church.

References from previous list description: E.Y.B. Wilson Delineation of Aberdeen p82 gives date 1813. A.P.S.D. Hay Post-Ref Chs, 116 etc. Chapman &Riley p148. J N Comper, Of the atmosphere of a church p15, 21.

Part of B Group with 5 Castle Street, Nos 1-56 (inclusive nos) King Street and St Andrews Episcopal Cathedral.

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