History in Structure

Albyn School, 21 Queen's Road, Aberdeen

A Category B Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Latitude: 57.1417 / 57°8'30"N

Longitude: -2.1318 / 2°7'54"W

OS Eastings: 392123

OS Northings: 805654

OS Grid: NJ921056

Mapcode National: GBR S6P.6X

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.7R3G

Plus Code: 9C9V4VR9+M7

Entry Name: Albyn School, 21 Queen's Road, Aberdeen

Listing Name: 21 Queen's Road, Albyn School for Girls, Including Ancillary Structure, Gatepiers and Boundary Walls

Listing Date: 17 June 1992

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 355879

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB20718

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200355879

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: Hazlehead/Queens Cross/Countesswells

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Tagged with: School building

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1884; John Sangster, builder; 1962 entrance fronting hall, gym and changing rooms adjoining (not included in listing); later additions and alterations. 2-storey, basement and attic, 3-bay, L-plan villa with Italianate detailing. Tooled coursed granite ashlar with finely finished dressings to NW elevation; Aberdeen bond granite to remainder. Rough-faced granite base course; ground floor cill course; long and short raised dressings to 1st floor; bracketed eaves cornice; overhanging eaves; iron finials to apex of gables.

NW (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: near-symmetrical; doorway to centre of ground floor, reached by stone steps, paired pilasters flanking to left and right, partly fluted with mannered capitals, side lights between, 2-leaf elaborately panelled timber door with letterbox fanlight; bipartite window to 1st floor above; bipartite rectangular dormer to attic floor. Open pedimented gable to bay to right, 3-light bowed pilastered window to ground floor, round-arched bipartite window to 1st floor, blind tablet set in gablehead. Open pedimented gable to bay to left, pilastered tripartite rectangular-plan window advanced to ground floor with windows to left and right returns, round-arched bipartite window to 1st floor, blind tablet set in gablehead. Rectangular dormers to attic floor.

SW ELEVATION: asymmetrical; open pedimented gablet to advanced centre bay, narrow stained glass windows to left and right returns at ground and 1st floors; ground floor of centre bay and recessed bay to right obscured by 1962 addition.

SE ELEVATION: asymmetrical; bay to right advanced, glazed timber door flanked by 2 windows to basement floor, tripartite windows to ground and 1st floors. 2 recessed bays to left; single window to centre of basement floor, former tripartite window to ground floor, with doorway to right pane; tall stained glass tripartite stair window above; tripartite windows to each floor of flanking bay to left. 3 regularly spaced bipartite piend-roofed dormers to attic floor. 1962 hall addition adjoining to outer left.

NE ELEVATION: gablet to right with window inset; modern link to 19 Queen's Road to centre; irregular openings to left.

Predominantly 2-pane timber sash and case windows. Grey slate piended roof with lead ridges. Corniced wallhead and ridge stacks. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: fine interior; majority of mouldings survive, panelled timber doors, door and window architraves and cornices; pilastered panelled 2-leaf inner door with textured glass upper panels and fanlight; timber panelled hall, elaborate mosaic floor, and boarded and panelled ceilings, Ionic columned and pilastered screen; decorative timber chimneypiece with inset tiles and mirrored overmantle recessed bench opposite; half-fluted pilasters to entablatured doorways of flanking rooms; broad staircase with turned balusters and textured wallpaper below dado; elaborate stained glass stair window. Pilastered windows to principal rooms; coffered ceilings; depressed-arched recess to ground and 1st floor rooms to W, with tall stained glass windows to inside returns.

ANCILLARY STRUCTURE: single storey and attic ancillary structure to SW of villa, probably former stables and hayloft, entered from Queen's Lane South. Coursed granite finely finished to margins. Boarded timber door to S elevation flanked to right by 3 horizontal openings with decorative iron mesh, boarded timber doorway breaking eaves above, windows flanking to left. Boundary walls adjoining to left. Stone steps leading to panelled timber door to W elevation, flanked by window breaking eaves, lean-to addition to left. Piended grey slate roof with lead ridges and overhanging eaves; coped wallhead stacks with circular cans; cast-iron rainwater goods.

GATEPIERS AND BOUNDARY WALLS: shared with 17, 19 and 23 Queen's Road (see separate listings). Low square-plan granite ashlar gatepiers with pyramidal caps to NW, flanked by rough-faced granite walls with ashlar coping; tall pier surmounted by urn to Forest Avenue; granite and brick coped rubble walls to remainder.

Statement of Interest

B-Group with 17, 19 and 23 Queen's Road. From the beginning of the 19th century Aberdeen rapidly expanded westwards from Union Street. 21 Queen's Road is part of the later 19th century development W of Queen's Cross. Queen's Road is on the site of Skene Road, which was originally surrounded by the estate of Rubislaw. In 1877 Rubislaw Estate was bought by the City of Aberdeen Land Association, who re-aligned the road and sold off the estate in smaller plots. Streets became wider and villas with substantial gardens often replaced terraces. Prestigious architects were often employed to produce bold and unusual designs to reflect the wealth and individuality of the clients. Albyn School began its life in Union Street (at the W end, originally called Union Place). It was started by Miss Harriet Warrack, and was called the Union Place Seminary for Young Ladies, taking both day and boarding pupils. The school was built up by Alexander Mackie, who joined it in 1883, at which time the school was renamed Union Place Ladies School. 3 years later it moved to Albyn Place (Nos 4 and 6), and was renamed Albyn Place School. 1920 saw the beginning of the move of Albyn School to Queen's Road, when 21 Queen's Road was taken on as the boarding house (and continued to be used as such until 1994), at the same time Miss Oliver became the headmistress. 5 years later the school moved from Albyn Place to 23 Queen's Road, at which time it assumed its present name of Albyn School for Girls. When Miss Oliver retired in 1948 she gave the school to the Former Pupils Club (formed in 1906), and the Albyn School Company was formed, which instituted a Board of Governors to administer the school. In 1949 19 Queen's Road was bought (although it was used by the school between 1921 and 1924), and 10 years later 17 Queen's Road was the last villa to be added to the group. The substantial 21 Queen's Road was built for Duncan Davidson, a partner in a paper manufacturing firm at Mugiemoss Mills. Although the builder is known to have been John Sangster, the architect of the building is not known. It has been suggested that Robert Gordon Wilson may have been involved in the design, as it shows the influence of Alexander Thomson, under whom Wilson trained, but no evidence to support this exists. The plans also mentioned Muthill, Perthshire, suggesting an architect of the office of works of Drummond Castle, Muthill may have been involved. Noteworthy features include the pilastered principal elevation and the grand interior, which is remarkably complete.

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