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2-6 (Even Nos) King Street and 7 and 8 Castle Street

A Category B Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1484 / 57°8'54"N

Longitude: -2.0932 / 2°5'35"W

OS Eastings: 394458

OS Northings: 806397

OS Grid: NJ944063

Mapcode National: GBR SD4.LD

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.TLF9

Entry Name: 2-6 (Even Nos) King Street and 7 and 8 Castle Street

Listing Date: 12 January 1967

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 355201

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB20394

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: George St/Harbour

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

John Smith 1810. 4-storey and attic 4 x 4-bay Classical tenement building with commercial premises to ground, situated on prominent corner site and with distinctive curved corner entrance bay. Grey granite ashlar, rubble to rear. Round-arched openings to ground with band course above. Cill courses, cornice, blocking course to corner. Wide curved corner with 4-panel 2-leaf timber entrance door with timber side panels and astragalled semicircular fanlight above. Tripartite windows above with narrow timber mullions; decorative iron balcony to 1st storey. Pedimented and piended dormers. Castle street elevation (S) with elliptical arched pend to far right.

Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows to upper storeys. Plate glass to ground. Mansard roof. Coped wallhead and gable stacks. Grey slate.

Statement of Interest

Situated at a crucial corner at the junction of three major streets in the city centre of Aberdeen, this well-detailed and restrained Classical building is a visual landmark. The curved corner with the broad entrance door and fanlight and tripartite windows with timber mullions above is a particularly fine detail. It was the first building to be designed for the city by John Smith. He created a building of high quality, utilising the Classical style which was to become the dominating architecture for the city in the nineteenth century. The bold town planning which created Union Street and King Street was the defining gesture which allowed Aberdeen to develop from an contained Medieval Burgh to rational modern city. This importance is recognised in the B Group designation for this first section of King Street. The building is also a significant part of the streetscape of Castle Street.

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 and David Burn. This was to be a long classical fa├žade, with a pedimented centrepiece and higher end blocks. This design was begun here in 1805 with nos 8-10, which is one storey higher than its neighbours to the North. The idea of a standard uniform terrace, however, was abandoned when negotiations had to be entered into with owners regarding the length of the frontages and the heights of the buildings. It was then decided to allow some variations between designs.

Castle Street, also known as the Castlegate is one of the oldest parts of Aberdeen, and has been the market place since the 12th century. The buildings in the area now date mainly from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century and reflect the improvements in the city at this times.

John Smith (1781-1852), a native of Aberdeen, established himself in architectural practice in the city in 1804. He became the Master of Work in 1824 and designed many of Aberdeen's public buildings, showing an expertise in working with granite. With Archibald Simpson, (1790-1847), he was one of the major architects involved in designing the expanding nineteenth century city of Aberdeen. His other works include the Aberdeen Arts Centre and St Clement's East Church (see separate listings).

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

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