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Latitude: 57.1457 / 57°8'44"N
Longitude: -2.0956 / 2°5'44"W
OS Eastings: 394313
OS Northings: 806098
OS Grid: NJ943060
Mapcode National: GBR SCT.KR
Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.SN8C
Entry Name: 47-53 (Odd Nos) Market Street
Listing Date: 26 May 1977
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 354431
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB19989
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: George St/Harbour
Traditional County: Aberdeenshire
Robert Matheson, 1875. 2-storey and basement, 9 and 8 bay classical commercial building (former Post Office) on prominent corner site. Grey granite ashlar. Deep cornice to each storey. Cill course, deep corniced blocking course. Rounded corners with bowed glazing to SW and NW with bracketed corbelled cornices; that to NW with timber and glass entrance door. Giant pilasters framing corner entrance doors and loggia.
Principal entrance to W (Market Street). Slightly advanced central 3 bays with steps leading to integral triumphal arch style loggia entrance with central pilastered round-arched opening and flanking rectangular openings with substantial decorative cast iron gates with Scottish Royal Coat of Arms (see Notes).
Predominantly plate glass timber sash and case windows. Grey slates. Coped ridge stacks.
INTERIOR: comprehensively modernised (2006).
A fine, well-detailed classical former Post Office by Robert Matheson on a prominent corner site and with an entrance loggia on the elevation to Market Street, closed by impressive and substantial cast iron gates. With its rounded corners and simple classical elevations the building adds significantly to the streetscape. This building is situated on the Southern corner of the street, with one elevation to Market Street and the other to the Harbour, which was a thriving concern in the 19th century and contributed substantially to the wealth of Aberdeen. The gates are decorated with the Coat of Arms of Scotland with the Lion Rampant and the Latin motto 'nemo me impune lacessit' (nobody provokes me with impunity).
Built as a Post Office and later converted to Labour Offices, the building is now in commercial use (2006).
Market Street was laid out in 1840 by the architect Archibald Simpson, who designed many of the classical buildings in the expanding 19th century Aberdeen. With John Smith, he was responsible for much of the essential classical character of Aberdeen city at this time. Aberdeen expanded greatly during the 19th century, especially in trade reliant on the Harbour, and this street was built to provide easier access from Union Street to the Harbour. The street cleared a notorious slum area of the city called Putachieside. It took its name from a covered indoor market, designed by Archibald Simpson in 1842, but which subsequently burnt down in 1882. Rebuilt in 1884, the market was replaced by a British Home Stores extension in 1971.
Robert Matheson (1808-1877) was an Edinburgh based architect who worked primarily for the Office of Works and whose style was most often described as restrained Italian Renaissance. He specialised in large public buildings such as this one, and his work includes New Register House in Edinburgh and the Palm House at Edinburgh Botanic Gardens (see separate listings).
Category changed from B to C(S), 2007.
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