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Imperial Hotel, Stirling Street, Aberdeen

A Category B Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Latitude: 57.1457 / 57°8'44"N

Longitude: -2.0978 / 2°5'52"W

OS Eastings: 394178

OS Northings: 806089

OS Grid: NJ941060

Mapcode National: GBR SCH.J5

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.RN7F

Plus Code: 9C9V4WW2+7V

Entry Name: Imperial Hotel, Stirling Street, Aberdeen

Listing Name: Stirling Street, Trinity Street and Carmelite Lane, Carmelite Hotel

Listing Date: 26 April 1977

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 355686

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB20619

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: George St/Harbour

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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James Souttar 1869, with additions William Henderson, 1885. Large, 3-storey and attic, well-detailed, Gothic style hotel on gushet site with central internal well and good interior details. Tooled, coursed granite with contrasting ashlar dressings. Band courses. Predominantly pointed arch windows to upper storeys; other segmental-arched windows. Partly crenellated with crenellated round turret to SW, round turret to N at apex of triangle. Pedimented and semicircular gabled wallhead dormers.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: Asymmetrical elevations. 12-bay entrance elevation to W with slightly advanced bay to left with timber panelled entrance door with bracketed balcony above with pair of sculptured figures. Bipartite and tripartite windows above with slender columned mullions and fleur-de-lys decorative feature. Tripartite oriel window to right.

To S: gabled 7-bay elevation small hood moulded round-arched windows in apexes and broad, coped stacks above with vertical indentations. Balcony to 1st storey at Trinity Street (S).

INTERIOR: good decorative interior with some fine original features. Dog-leg stair with moulded timber balustrade. Double-arched entrance to public room with polished granite column. 4-panelled timber doors. Fine decorative plaster ceiling and cornice to public room. Some good quality painted glass depicting Scottish and British heraldic symbols (see Notes). Small stained glass roundel of St Andrew.

Predominantly plate glass timber sash and case windows. Grey slate. Ridge and gable stacks.

Statement of Interest

As one of the few secular buildings in Aberdeen to be built in the Gothic style, this is a particularly unusual and distinctive building. Situated on a distinctive triangular site, there is fine external decoration. The Gothic revival style became popular in the mid 19th century, partly as a result of thinkers such as John Ruskin, who advocated the superiority of the Medieval period and its architecture. Initially used for religious buildings, the style had, by the later 19th century expanded into domestic buildings, as here. Often portrayed as a reaction against the severity of classicism, the Gothic style makes this building a rarity in the classical cityscape of Aberdeen.

The painted glass in the interior is of some quality and the images depict various heraldic symbols including the pre 1603 Royal Scottish Coat of Arms, the Royal Shield and decorative thistles and roses.

The Carmelite Hotel takes its name from the Cormelite Order, which was associated with this area in the 13th century. Their house seems to have been bounded on the North by The Green and the site of this hotel may have been situated within the House confines. As the Carmelites preferred to position their friaries away from the main city, this suggests that this area would have been outside the medieval precincts of Aberdeen.

James Souttar (1840-1922) was born in London and articled to Mackenzie and Mathews in Aberdeen from 1852-1860. He then travelled extensively throughout Europe, living for some time in Sweden. He settled in Aberdeen from 1866 and his output include various work within the City, including the Salvation Army Citadel (see separate listing).

William Henderson (1828/9-1899) was an Aberdeen architect whose output was mainly confined to the Aberdeenshire area and included bank buildings, public works and private houses.

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