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Latitude: 57.1467 / 57°8'48"N
Longitude: -2.0917 / 2°5'30"W
OS Eastings: 394548
OS Northings: 806202
OS Grid: NJ945062
Mapcode National: GBR SDC.2C
Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.VM4N
Entry Name: 55, 57 Marischal Street
Listing Date: 12 January 1967
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 355256
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB20432
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: George St/Harbour
Traditional County: Aberdeenshire
Later 18th century (see Notes). 2-storey with attic, 3-bay townhouse on sloping site. Grey granite ashlar. Band course between 1st and 2nd storeys; eaves band. Slightly recessed cills and aprons to openings. Panelled 2-leaf timber doors to central bay and immediate right with segmental-arched surrounds and fanlights. 16-pane window to far right and segmental-arched window to far left. Pair of canted piended dormers. 3-storey to rear (Shore Lane).
12-pane timber sash and case windows to first floor. Irregular fenestration to rear with segmental arch doorways at ground floor; arched window to 2nd floor stair. Grey slates; coped ridge stack with granite ashlar to street and red brick to rear; clay cans.
Marischal Street (designed by William Law, 1767) is of considerable historic interest in terms of the early development of Classical Aberdeen. The simple design of Nos 55 and 57 contribute to the Street's lengthy run. The building was constructed at some point between 1767, when plans for the street were laid out, and 1789 when Alexander Milnes' map shows that the East side of the street was completed by that date. The painted figurine of an admiral advertising the nautical opticians at No 57 has been removed (2006).
Formed on the site of the Earl Marischal's lodging and linking Castlegate with the Harbour below, Marischal Street is carried on embankments down a partly vaulted incline. It is the earliest example of this type of construction in Aberdeen, anticipating the larger scale development of Union Street and Edinburgh's South Bridge by 20 years. Originally having a fine granite bridge half way down, this was demolished and replaced in 1983 along with adjacent Nos 36-38 and 37-39 to allow the widening of Virginia Street below.
The buildings occupying the Southern half of the street are attributed to William Smith (d.1812), father of John Smith (the renowned Aberdeen architect - b.1781) and are generally grander and more varied. The street as a whole retains much of its refinement and original character despite the gradual move from domestic to commercial ownership throughout 19th century. It is thought to be the first street in Aberdeen paved with square granite sets.
Part of A Group with 3-60 (Inclusive Nos) Marischal Street.
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