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Skene Street and Esslemont Avenue, Aberdeen Grammar School, French School (Formerly Westfield School)

A Category C Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1479 / 57°8'52"N

Longitude: -2.1151 / 2°6'54"W

OS Eastings: 393134

OS Northings: 806339

OS Grid: NJ931063

Mapcode National: GBR S91.D0

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.HL1Q

Entry Name: Skene Street and Esslemont Avenue, Aberdeen Grammar School, French School (Formerly Westfield School)

Listing Date: 6 December 2000

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 394817

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB47492

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: Midstocket/Rosemount

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

Mid 19th century; remodelled A Marshall Mackenzie, 1898; late 20th century additions and alterations. Single storey and attic, 5-bay, L-plan former Westfield School, now French School. Tooled coursed granite ashlar finely finished to margins; harled with finely finished margins to NE elevation. Base course; chamfered reveals; predominantly pointed-arched openings; decorative eaves cornice.

SW (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 5-bay; gabled bay advanced to outer right, 4-light traceried window to centre with hoodmould with decorative label stops; tooled tablet set in gablehead reading "School for Poor Girls ..."; stone fleur-de-lys to apex; gabled porch advanced to left, hoodmould to doorway with decorative label stops, modern addition obscuring ground floor of 3 recessed bays to left; gableted window to centre of attic floor breaking eaves, tooled shield set in gablehead, flanked to let and right by flat-roofed bipartite rectangular dormers breaking eaves.

SE ELEVATION: symmetrical; 4-bay; traceried window to each bay.

NE ELEVATION: near-symmetrical; 5-bay; flat-arched doorway to penultimate bay to left, stepped hoodmould, panelled timber door, flanked to right by 2 bipartite windows; gabled bays to left and right with decoratively traceried 4-light windows, oculus set in gablehead of bay to right; fleur-de-lys finial to apex of bay to left. Single storey flat-roofed link with window to centre adjoining modern block to outer right.

NW ELEVATION: predominantly obscured by modern addition.

Variety of timber-framed windows. Grey slate roof with lead ridge; octagonal louvred timber ventilator to ridge with fish-scale slate roof and weathervane to apex; evenly spaced louvred gableted ventilators breaking pitch. Coped stone skews. Corniced granite gablehead stacks, ridge stacks and stacks breaking pitch, with circular cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: not seen 2000.

Statement of Interest

B-Group with Aberdeen Grammar School, Lord Byron Statue, Language Block, Lodge, Gates, Gatepiers and Boundary Walls. According to Groome Aberdeen Grammar School, though not the building which exists today, can be traced back as far as 1262, when it attracted "advanced pupils from the best primary schools, and has a close connection...with the university." (Groome p 11). The previous school, which Lord Byron attended, was built in 1757, on Schoolhill near the entrance to Gordon's College (see separate listing). Towards the middle of the 19th century it was decided that a larger school was required. There was a great deal of pressure to widen the subjects taught, and with only 4 classrooms and the same number of teachers the search for a new site began. Eventually the Skene Street site was chosen and there was a competition held by the Town Council for the design. James Matthews prepared designs for the school in the Italianate, classical and baronial styles, the latter being chosen and built for a cost of ?16,605. Westfield School, for poor girls (formerly Chalmers School), lay to the NE of the grammar school. In 1898 A Marshall Mackenzie remodelled the existing school, to include a gymnasium, janitor's house, cookery department and classrooms. At this time he also built a new block to the S, which included the gymnasium for Aberdeen Grammar School. Throughout the 20th century Aberdeen Grammar School was extended. In the 1920's both parts of Westfield School were incorporated. The school now forms the Language Block (see separate listing) and French School of Aberdeen Grammar School.

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