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136-144 (Even Nos) Union Street and 5 Denburn Road

A Category B Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1462 / 57°8'46"N

Longitude: -2.101 / 2°6'3"W

OS Eastings: 393987

OS Northings: 806145

OS Grid: NJ939061

Mapcode National: GBR SC1.W3

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.PNQ1

Entry Name: 136-144 (Even Nos) Union Street and 5 Denburn Road

Listing Date: 12 January 1967

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 355503

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB20557

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: George St/Harbour

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

Archibald Simpson, circa 1817. 3-storey, 6 by 5-bay Classical former hotel with further 4 lower storeys to Denburn Road (E elevation). Altered shops to ground to Union Street (S elevation). Grey granite ashlar, rock faced rubble to lower 4 storeys to E. Band course, deep cornice, blocking course. Round-arched openings to lower 3-storeys to E. Further round-arched openings to E.

Elevation to Union Street: consoled timber fascia to shop fronts. Shop to far right with pilastered entrance porch and flanking decorative tesserae tiled panels with animal and plant motifs.

Predominantly plate glass timber sash and case windows to upper storeys. Plate glass to shop fronts. Some multi and 12-pane timber sash and case windows to E. Shallow mansard roof. Grey slates. Central coped, wallhead stacks, panelled to S with window openings to E and W.

Statement of Interest

Situated on the prominent corner site of Union Street and Denburn Road and on the NE corner of the Union Street Viaduct (see separate listing), this building operates on 2 principal levels and was designed by renowned local architect Archibald Simpson. The 3-storey ashlar front to Union Street and the 7-storey elevation with rockfaced masonry which reaches down into the Denburn Road is especially striking and marks this building out as one of particular interest and visual importance in the planned streetscape of Union Street and in the wider cityscape of Aberdeen. The building was one of the early tenement buildings on Union Street and was, in the early 19th century, the Aberdeen Hotel. Currently in commercial use (2006). The simple classical style is typical of granite buildings of this period before sophisticated cutting techniques were developed.

Planned 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 buildings which aligned the street were designed to reflect this sense of grandeur and confidence as the visual appearance of the street was of the utmost importance.

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.

Archibald Simpson (1790-1847), along with John Smith, was one of the major architects involved in designing the expanding nineteenth century city of Aberdeen. A native of Aberdeen, he practised predominately with the North East of Scotland. He designed many of the important works in the city including St Andrews Cathedral, The Music Hall and 29 King Street (see separate listings).

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.

References from previous list description: P.O. Directories Addition, Simpson Aberdeen Journal Jan 15th 1840.

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