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Latitude: 57.1475 / 57°8'50"N
Longitude: -2.0962 / 2°5'46"W
OS Eastings: 394275
OS Northings: 806292
OS Grid: NJ942062
Mapcode National: GBR SCQ.P3
Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.RMZ0
Entry Name: 40 and 42 Union Street
Listing Date: 12 January 1967
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 355485
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB20548
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: George St/Harbour
Traditional County: Aberdeenshire
Early 19th century with later additions (see Notes). Symmetrical, 4-storey, 5-bay former bank (in commercial use, 2006) with distinctive double-height, pilastered, segmental arched openings to central 3 bays. Grey granite ashlar with raised margins. Channelled rustication to flanking entrance doors. Base course, cill course, band courses, modillioned cornice over 3rd storey and blocking course. Central entrance. Slightly advanced outer bays with 2-leaf, 4-panel timber entrance doors with fanlights above. Corinthian columned doorpieces with consoled parapetted balconies with ball finials. Panelled aprons to 3rd storey windows.
Predominantly 4 and 6-pane timber sash and case windows to upper storeys. Non-traditional glazing to ground and centre 1st storey. Grey slates. Gable and ridge stacks.
INTERIOR: partly seen (2006). Good decorative plasterwork to ceiling in central former banking hall.
40 and 42 Union Street was the former premises of the Bank of Scotland. It is a good example of a symmetrical classical commercial buiding and contributes significantly to the one of Aberdeen's most important thoroughfares. It is particularly distinguished by its high quality decorative stonework. The balconies over the two entrance doors are particularly striking as are the segmental arched openings to the central 3 bays.
It is suggested by Rettie that this was one of the first buidings to be built on a feu on Union Street. Built for Mr Morison of Auchintoul, it was later sold to the Bank of Scotland in 1867 for £7000. Peddie & Kinnear, the Edinburgh architects, drew up alteration plans for the building at this time which a banking hall, offices and a Manager's House. It is possible that some exterior alteration was also done at this time.
There is some disagreement in the books about the date and architect of this building. Brogden states that it was the first building to be built in lower Union Street in 1811 by Archibald Simpson, whereas others suggest that it was nos 46-50 Union Street which was the Simpson building. This is given a later date, but the Bank of Scotland archives indicate that it was certainly erected by 1867.
Union Street was developed after 1794, when a town council meeting asked the engineer Charles Abercrombie to find a way to connect the original steep, haphazard network of 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 former became Union Street. This was a particularly difficult project to complete as the street had to cut through St Katherine's Hill at the East end and be built on a series of arches culminating with a large bridge at the Denburn. The street was to be lined with classical buildings, but the initial idea of having a long, uniform classical design that each new house would have to conform to was abandoned, as it was realised that different purchasers would require some control over the design. Some variety was therefore conceded.
Peddie and Kinnear (1856-78) was a very successful and prestigious architectural practice, based in Edinburgh but which secured commissions for large public buildings throughout Scotland. They often used the Scots Baronial style. Frequently winning competitions, as here, their output includes many churches, banks and court buildings.
Part of B Group with Nos 5-53, 67-89, 95-139, 143-153 (odd nos) Union Street, Nos 26-42, 46-62, 78-106, 114-144 (even nos) Union Street and St Nicholas Churchyard.
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