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78 and 80 Union Street, Royal Bank of Scotland

A Category B Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1469 / 57°8'49"N

Longitude: -2.0982 / 2°5'53"W

OS Eastings: 394157

OS Northings: 806233

OS Grid: NJ941062

Mapcode National: GBR SCG.26

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.RM1F

Entry Name: 78 and 80 Union Street, Royal Bank of Scotland

Listing Date: 12 January 1967

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 355491

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB20553

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: George St/Harbour

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

Jenkins & Marr, 1929. 3-storey and attic 3x3-bay, square-plan monumental Classical bank situated on prominent corner site and with pair of giant Corinthian columns separating vertically emphasised recessed bays to each elevation. Grey granite ashlar. Deep base course, substantial dentilled cornice, shallow blocking course to recessed attic storey. Substantial 2-leaf studded metal entrance door to Union Street elevation (S) with decorative pedimented doorcase. Chamfered doorpieces to outer bays. Wide shallow pilasters separate attic storey bays. Decorative metal panels between ground and 1st storey windows.

Predominantly 6-pane metal-framed windows. Flat roof.

Statement of Interest

Situated at an important junction in the centre of the city, The Royal Bank of Scotland, with its paired giant Corinthian columns, and square-plan design contributes significantly to the streetscape of Union Street. The monumental Classical style, which developed in the early 20th century continues the tradition of Classical Aberdeen, but with a very distinctive oversized, vertically emphasised proportion and metal panels between the ground and 1st floor windows.

Planned in the 19th century as the major thoroughfare in an increasingly wealthy and confident city, Union Street was a bold and confident project which required major engineering to complete.

The building was constructed as a branch of the Commercial Bank of Scotland, which amalgamated with the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1969. The current building replaced a previous bank which was demolished as part of a road widening scheme.

Jenkins & Marr (founded in 1878) is an Aberdeen-based architectural firm, whose output at the time of this building was concentrated mainly within Aberdeen and the surrounding area. Their work encompassed both private houses and public works.

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.

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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