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32-52 (Even Nos) Bridge Street and 19-25 (Odd Nos) Crown Terrace

A Category B Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1442 / 57°8'39"N

Longitude: -2.1012 / 2°6'4"W

OS Eastings: 393975

OS Northings: 805929

OS Grid: NJ939059

Mapcode National: GBR SC0.G8

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.PPMJ

Entry Name: 32-52 (Even Nos) Bridge Street and 19-25 (Odd Nos) Crown Terrace

Listing Date: 8 November 2006

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 398903

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50622

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: Torry/Ferryhill

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

Ellis & Wilson, 1881. Built on sloping site. Monumental, classical, 4-storey, 15-bay granite ashlar U-plan commercial building in single block with symmetrical principal elevation to E (Bridge Street). 5 storeys to central 3 bays. 2-storey and attic wings to rear (Crown Street). Shops to ground at E with some banded rusticated pillars (modernised and altered frontages, 2006). Blind balustrade divides ground and 1st floors. Band courses. Balustraded parapet to E and S divided by palmette motifs.

E (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: to Bridge Street. Central 3 bays divided by 4 giant pilasters, fluted at lower aspect, rising from 1st to 4th storey with distinctive Papyrus capitals.

Squat, paired pilasters with Egyptian-style detailing, surmounted by palmette caps separate bays to top storey. Small central pediment. Flanking bays separated by similar giant pilasters; clasping at corners. Some bipartite windows to 4th storey with Doric mullions and architraves.

Variety of fenestration. Predominantly plate glass timber sash and case windows to upper storeys. Some non-traditional pivot windows. Grey slate to shallow pitched roof. Coped gable and ridge stacks.

INTERIOR: Extensively altered (August 2006).

Statement of Interest

Known originally as Victoria Buildings, this monumental building dominates the streetscape in Bridge Street. The scale of the building and its mixture of Classical and Egyptian motifs is unusual in Aberdeen city centre. Its scale and style is more reminiscent of a city chambers or other municipal building. There is a wealth of decorative detail using both Egyptian and Greek motifs. Originally conceived as a commercial building, with shops on the

ground floor and offices above, it largely continues in this function today. Its proximity to the Railway Station and crucial dock area is significant. Constructed at a time of prosperity for Aberdeen, it is indicative of the commercial strength of the city and was clearly designed to impress.

As part of a wider City Improvement Scheme the Town Council proposed in 1878 that a set of steps between Bridge Street and Crown Street would be a useful addition to the area and would provide a link between Bridge Street and Crown Street. These granite steps lie to the immediate South of Victoria Buildings. Subsequent to the building of the steps, plans for this monumental and grand building were drawn up and given to the Town Council in 1880. The building was conceived as one which would fill the entire block. The original plans show an extra storey and more roof decoration than were incorporated in the final design.

Alexander Ellis and Robert Wilson were Aberdeen architects who were in practice together from 1869-1906. They worked extensively in and around Aberdeen and their output included, in the main, houses, churches and other large office buildings. Ellis & Wilson, the architects moved into an office at number 34 Victoria Buildings in 1882.

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