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13 and 15 Market Street

A Category B Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1466 / 57°8'47"N

Longitude: -2.0967 / 2°5'47"W

OS Eastings: 394249

OS Northings: 806191

OS Grid: NJ942061

Mapcode National: GBR SCN.JN

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.RMSQ

Entry Name: 13 and 15 Market Street

Listing Date: 12 January 1967

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 355270

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB20445

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: George St/Harbour

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

Archibald Simpson and William Ramage, 1845. 2-storey, 5-bay classical former Mechanics' Institute (see Notes) with distinctive central pedimented Doric-columned tripartite window. Grey granite ashlar with channelled rustication to central advanced round-arched entrance opening. String courses, black-painted frieze with the words 'METRO HOTEL & RESTAURANT', dentilled cornice, blocking course. Some round-arched arcading to ground at public bar to right, altered public bar front at left. Corniced tall window openings to upper storey with Doric-pilastered architraves.

Plate glass timber sash and case windows to upper storey, non-traditional glazing to ground. Gable stacks.

INTERIOR: not comprehensively seen (2006) but believed to be modernised.

Statement of Interest

Built for the Mechanics' Institute, this is a particularly striking building situated in a busy commercial area which is an important thoroughfare in Aberdeen. The building is well-detailed with good classical features, especially on the 1st storey, where the tall windows, the pedimented central section and the wide architraves provide a positive contribution to the streetscape of Market Street. The building was designed by renowned local architect Archibald Simpson, the architect responsible for laying out Market Street in 1840. It was one of the last buildings he designed and is therefore one of particular importance. William Ramage was apprentice to Simpson and drawing master at the Institute.

The building subsequently operated as a hotel and is currently in mixed commercial use (2006).

The Mechanics' Institute in Aberdeen began in 1824 'to afford to tradesmen, at a cheap rate, out of their own subscriptions, opportunities of instruction by means of books, lectures and models in the various sciences connected with the exercise of their calling.' (quoted in Fraser and Lee, p340). With donations and fees, it established and built up a substantial library which it then donated to the new public library in Aberdeen in 1885, when the Institute disbanded.

Market Street was laid out in 1840 by Archibald Simpson, who had designed many of the classical buildings in the expanding nineteenth century Aberdeen. With John Smith, he was responsible for much of the essential classical character of Aberdeen city. Aberdeen expanded greatly during the nineteenth century, especially in trade reliant on the Harbour, and this street was built to provide easier access from Union Street to the Harbour. It also 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.

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