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Melville United Free Church, Skene Street, Aberdeen

A Category C Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Latitude: 57.146 / 57°8'45"N

Longitude: -2.1132 / 2°6'47"W

OS Eastings: 393251

OS Northings: 806132

OS Grid: NJ932061

Mapcode National: GBR S9B.0S

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.HNY4

Plus Code: 9C9V4VWP+CP

Entry Name: Melville United Free Church, Skene Street, Aberdeen

Listing Name: Skene Street at Rose Street, Melville Court (Former Melville Church)

Listing Date: 6 December 2000

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 394820

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB47495

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: Midstocket/Rosemount

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Brown and Watt, 1901-1903. 2-storey, 5-bay former church with baroque detailing. Tooled course grey granite ashlar, finely finished to margins. Base course; rough-faced dark grey granite to lower half of ground floor; dividing and course; eaves course and blocking course. Projecting cills to ground floor; architraved windows to 1st floor, with cill cornice and pilastered central astragals; pilastered bays.

NW (SKENE STREET) ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 5-bay; 3 central bays slightly advanced, bipartite windows to each bay of ground and 1st floors, round-arched window to centre of wallhead, with moulded surround and keystone detail flanked by 2 roundels, pilastered with pediment above, roofline swept down to right and left to form blocking course. regular fenestration to flanking bay to left. Square-plan 5-stage engaged tower advanced to bay to left; 1st stage, rough-faced granite, 6 stone steps to pedimented former doorway, flanked by square-plan piers and low granite wall surmounted by balustrade, decorative iron lamp stands (no longer in use) surmounting piers; polished blind round arch to left return; 3 pairs of bipartite windows to 2nd stage, with decorative lintel to uppermost pair; narrow vertical opening to each elevation of 3rd stage, bull's-eye window set in pilastered tablet above; deep cornice to base of stepped-back 4th stage, round-arched pedimented window with balustraded apron, flanked by fluted Ionic columns to each elevation, square-plan pinnacles to each corner surmounted by sugar-loaf finials; stepped-back 5th stage, carved panel to each elevation, surmounted by pyramidal stone spire with small oculus to each elevation, finial to apex.

SW AND SE ELEVATIONS: obscured by adjoining buildings.

NE ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 5-bay; tower to right (see above); bipartite windows to 4 bays to right at ground and 1st floors, bipartite window to ground floor of bay to left, single window to 1st floor above. Opening to courtyard to left, bowed bay to right, with doorway to ground floor and 3 windows to 1st floor, flanking bays not seen 2000. 5-bay former hall flanking opening to courtyard to left, bipartite window to each bay, 3 blind openings to right return.

Modern timber windows throughout. Grey slate roofs with lead ridges; decorative timber ventilators to former hall and church. Stone skews. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: not seen 2000.

Statement of Interest

Melville Church split from the Established church in 1756, and marked the founding of the Secession in Aberdeen. The congregation worshipped in Weigh-house Square, and in 1772 a new church was erected in Netherkirkgate. In 1839 Melville became a parish church, then in 1843 it became a Free Church of Scotland. In the early 20th century new church buildings were designed by Brown and Watt, and the masonry work was carried out by Pringle and Slessor. The resulting church was "an edifice not of that severely ecclesiastical type common in our midst, but nevertheless ornate and handsome and having altogether a stamp of originality upon it which is alien to many of our modern church buildings" (newspaper cutting). The baroque church tower rises to 120 feet, enhanced by the church's prominent corner site. Melville Church has now been converted into flats. According to Gammie (and the newspaper cuttings), the interior was originally of particular note, with a highly original style of seating, arranged in a horse-shoe layout.

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