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60 and 62 Union Street, Clydesdale Bank

A Category B Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1472 / 57°8'49"N

Longitude: -2.0974 / 2°5'50"W

OS Eastings: 394203

OS Northings: 806259

OS Grid: NJ942062

Mapcode National: GBR SCJ.Y4

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.RMF8

Entry Name: 60 and 62 Union Street, Clydesdale Bank

Listing Date: 12 January 1967

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 355490

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB20552

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: George St/Harbour

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

James Matthews, 1862-3. Impressive 3-storey, 5 x 6-bay ornate Italian Renaissance bank with variety of Classical detailing, situated at prominent corner site at critical city centre junction. Granite ashlar, with some channelled rustication, coursed granite to rear. Round-arched openings to ground. Deep base course, deep modillioned cornice above 2nd storey. Lugged architraves Balustraded parapet with decorative shells and urns.

UNION STREET ELEVATION TO S: symmetrical, with 2-storey Corinthian pilasters separating central bays. Central 4-panel 2-leaf entrance door with semi-circular fanlight with carved face keystone above. Clasping angle pilasters. Blind balustraded balconies to 1st storey windows. Round-arched tripartite windows to 1st storey outer bays with pink granite Ionic columned mullions.

ST NICHOLAS STREET ELEVATION: similar simplified treatment as Union Street elevation with lower 2-storey bay to left and some pedimented 2nd storey windows.

INTERIOR: (seen 2006). Excellent internal decorative scheme to entrance hall.. Square-plan, 3-bay Corinthian columned entrance hall with oval cupola. Pink polished granite to columns. Dentilled cornice, consoled brackets to dome. Other areas partly modernised.

Statement of Interest

This richly decorated building is prominently positioned at an important junction in the city centre and is a fine addition to the streetscape of Union Street. Constructed for the Town and County Bank, the rich decoration contrasts with the more severely classical architectural buildings on Union Street and is evidence of the bank's wealth and affluence.

James Matthews (1819-1898) was a prolific architect, working mainly in Aberdeen, Elgin and Inverness. He formed a partnership with his former trainee, A Marshall Mackenzie from 1877-93. Matthews output includes large public and smaller private buildings. He became Lord Provost of Aberdeen in 1883 and was mainly responsible for the City Improvement Act of 1883 which included the building of Schoolhill and Denburn Viaduct which gave improved access to the city. He is buried in St Nicholas Churchyard (see separate listing).

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.

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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