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50, 50a and 50b Queen's Road, Including Ancillary Structures, Gatepiers and Boundary Walls

A Category A Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1417 / 57°8'30"N

Longitude: -2.1352 / 2°8'6"W

OS Eastings: 391913

OS Northings: 805654

OS Grid: NJ919056

Mapcode National: GBR S66.4H

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.5RGG

Entry Name: 50, 50a and 50b Queen's Road, Including Ancillary Structures, Gatepiers and Boundary Walls

Listing Date: 12 January 1967

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 355289

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB20459

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: Hazlehead/Queens Cross/Countesswells

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

Pirie & Clyne, architects, John Morgan, builder; 1885-1887; incorporates masonry from 1665 Old Rubislaw House. 2-storey and attic rogue-Gothic villa subdivided to form 3 flats. Coursed rough-faced granite ashlar finely finished to margins of SE elevation; Aberdeen bond granite to remainder. Contrasting dark grey base course; ground floor cill course; string course at cill level of 1st floor; eaves course.

SE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 3-bay; gabled bay to left. Pink granite slab with tooled panel dated 1886 leading to pointed-arched decoratively moulded and chamfered doorpiece to centre bay of ground floor, with intricately carved stone finial, flanked to left and right by low wall surmounted by spherical finials and sphinx (later additions); decoratively shouldered doorway set-back, with pierced pink granite quatrefoil and polished pink granite spheres to tympanum, panelled timber door with inset quatrefoil and roundels, flanked by glazed panels, bell pull; 3 deeply chamfered quatrefoil windows to flanking bay to right, curved outer right angle, scrolled corbel to form right angle above; oversized pierced and gableted buttress to centre of bay to left, carved monograms of Pirie and Morgan on shaft, decorative sundial and floreate carving above, round-arched windows flanking to left and right, chamfered with decorative mouldings. Window to centre bay of 1st floor; horizontal gableted window to attic floor, cusped tympanum with pink granite scallop inset, scrolled finial. Circular-plan angle turret to outer right, curved tripartite window, with curved squat outer panes, divided by deep pilasters with proto-Art Nouveau capitals; 2 quatrefoil windows above, conical roof with fishscale slates and lead finial; gableted battered buttress at turret base to right return extending to form screen wall, shouldered doorway to centre, flanked to left and right by deep set horizontal openings with chamfered reveals. 3-pane canted oriel window supported by oversized buttress (see above), pilastered mullions with proto-Art Nouveau, parapet enclosing balcony to attic floor; tripartite window to attic floor set in pointed arch, stepped hoodmould, roll moulded reveals, pink granite mullions supporting pink granite tympanum, glazed quatrefoil to centre flanked by polished spheres, rosette finial to apex of gable, scrolled bracket supporting wallhead stack to right.

NE ELEVATION: gabled; 3-bay; asymmetrical; screen wall extending to left (see above); semi-circular-plan stair tower to centre through all floors terminating in shallow part-conical roof with decorative finial, 3 stair windows with stone transoms stepped-up to the right, stained glass upper panes; band of 7 stained-glass windows above. Window to ground floor of bay to left, small window to attic above. Round-arched porch leading to doorway of 50B, on right return, panelled timber door; window to 1st floor above, small window to attic floor. Dower House (50B) advanced to right, variety of windows to left return.

NW ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 2-bay; glazed timber door to left of ground floor, flanked to left and right by single windows, tripartite window to 1st floor above, stained glass upper panes; oversized bowed bay through ground and 1st floors of bay to right, 5 windows to each floor, each with stained glass upper pane; band of polished grey granite spheres below eaves, 5-light bowed dormer centred on conical roof, with conical spire with iron sunflower finial. Dower House (50B) advanced to left: panelled timber door to left with letterbox fanlight, horseshoe-shaped window flanking to right, 2 irregular window to 1st floor, single window on curved outer right angle.

SW ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 3-bay; low granite wall extends to enclose part tiled floor in front of 2 bays to right, originally base of conservatory (now demolished); panelled and glazed timber door to centre, flanked by glazed panels, Tudor-arched relieving arch; granite fire surround, now blocked up to right, with further infilled opening flanking, gableted buttress to outer right, 2 Tudor-arched windows with roll-moulded lintels to 1st floor above deep set horizontal window flanking to left, with curved reveals, crowstepped gable centred at attic floor, with 2 quatrefoil and "1886" datestone inset. gabled; canted ingleneuk advanced through ground and 1st floors, stained glass quatrefoil windows to outer cants of ground floor, stained glass trefoil-headed windows to outer cants of 1st floor, slate roof; dormer to centre of attic floor, with stained glass windows.

Predominantly 2-pane timber sash and case windows, many with stained glass upper panes. Grey slate roof with lead ridges. Coped and crowstepped gables. Grey slate roof with lead ridges. Variety of stacks with circular cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods with decorative hoppers.

INTERIOR: very fine interior. Converted into ground floor flat, 1st floor and attic flat, and Dower House flat. Entrance hall panelled below dado, timber rib-vaulted ceiling, etched glass flanking main door, decorated as exterior, panelled timber door with etched glass upper panel and flanking panels to ground floor flat. Ground floor: ceiling mouldings appear to have been removed or covered over; skirting boards, doors and architraves, and cornicing survive; colonettes flanking windows; Tudor-arched recesses with decoratively moulded lintels in rooms originally leading to conservatory; bowed principal room, with fine stained glass windows, highly decorative cornice with vine and grape and floreate paterae mouldings, Tudor-arched opening over ingleneuk fireplace, lit by 2 quatrefoil stained glass windows, fire surround later addition. First floor flat: oversized polished pink granite column to ground floor, grey granite capital supporting sharply twisted staircase through all floors, distinctively turned balusters and decorative newel posts, boarded timber below dado, decorative architraves to stair windows; fine tiled toilet cubicle with original bathroom furniture; skirting boards, doors, architraves, and cornicing survives, 1st floor mouldings are particularly fine; timber fire surround with carved sunflower paterae and inset panels to overmantle, flanked by Tudor-arched stained glass windows; bowed former library, with fine stained glass windows, highly decorative ceiling, cornice and frieze, Tudor-arched opening over ingleneuk fireplace, lit by trefoil headed stained glass windows, fire surround later addition.

ANCILLARY STRUCTURES: lean-to structure behind screen wall to E of house; gableted ancillary structure backing onto boundary wall to W of house, boarded timber door flanked by 2 tiny windows below lintel, gableted skewputts, modern corrugated-iron structure adjoining.

GATEPIERS AND BOUNDARY WALLS: gatepiers to E and W on Queen's Road (shared with adjacent properties), battered rough-faced granite base, finely finished shaft, corniced with pink and grey granite banded pyramidal cap and spherical finial; low coped rough-faced granite wall between; granite and brick coped rubble walls to remainder.

Statement of Interest

A-Group with 46 and 48 Queen's Road and 52 and 54 Queen's Road (see separate listings). From the beginning of the 19th century Aberdeen rapidly expanded westwards from Union Street. 50 Queen's Road is part of the later 19th century development W of Queen's Cross. Queen's Road is on the site of Skene Road, which was originally surrounded by the estate of Rubislaw. In 1877 Rubislaw Estate was bought by the City of Aberdeen Land Association, who re-aligned the road and sold off the estate in smaller plots. Rubislaw House, the mansion house of the Rubislaw Estate originally lay where 50 Queen's Road now stands, but was demolished in 1886 as it stood out of alignment with the new Queen's Road. 50 Queen's Road was built for John Morgan (b. 1841) an Aberdeen builder who specialised in high quality granite cutting and carving. Morgan would have liked to have kept the old mansion house, however in the end he settled for incorporating its dated lintel and steps into the new house (to the SW). Morgan was a close friend of Pirie, and a frequent patron of the partnership. The builder played a strong part in the design of 50 Queen's Road, which perhaps goes some way towards explaining its highly unusual mixtures of styles employed. Both Pirie and Morgan's monograms can be seen on the buttress supporting the oriel on the SE elevation. 50 Queen's Road represents not only the domestic high point of Pirie and Clyne's career, but also that of the granite carving trade in Aberdeen. Elements such as the oversized angle turret and oriel windows are borrowed from Pirie and Clyne's earlier designs at Hamilton Place, however many of their familiar decorative motifs are abandoned in favour of a bold mixture of ecclesiastical and proto-Art Nouveau details. Although the house is largely Gothic in inspiration, the influence of Alexander Thomson (apparent in many of their other designs) is still clear, especially in the stair tower to the E, with its band of windows and shallow pitched roof. The interior is also exceptionally fine, despite being divided into flats. The bold fireplace on the first floor is almost identical to one in 15 Queen's Road, suggesting that it originated in this house. 50 Queen's Road is one of the most elaborate and original houses in Aberdeen.

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