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107-131 (Odd Nos) Union Street

A Category C Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1461 / 57°8'46"N

Longitude: -2.0996 / 2°5'58"W

OS Eastings: 394071

OS Northings: 806143

OS Grid: NJ940061

Mapcode National: GBR SC7.M5

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.QND1

Entry Name: 107-131 (Odd Nos) Union Street

Listing Date: 27 July 2007

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 399612

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50958

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: George St/Harbour

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

Early 19th century. 3-storey and attic, 19-bay classical row of tenements with shops (altered) to ground, situated between sets of steps leading down to The Green. Distinctive 1st floor to nos 117 and 119 (Robert Wilson, 1900). Some band courses, cornice and blocking course. Some round-arched openings to E and W side elevations. Piended dormers.

No 117-119: to 1st floor, 3 wide large round-arched keystoned and banded openings, with upper halves with small-pane coloured glass and smaller opening to left. Doric frieze above, surmounted by small obelisks.

Predominantly plate glass, 4 and 12-pane timber sash and case windows to upper storeys. Plate glass to shops. Ridge and wallhead stacks.

Statement of Interest

Situated towards the centre of the important thoroughfare of Union Street, and opposite the historic St Nicholas Church (see separate listing) this is an early example of a row of classical tenements, forming a significant and lengthy row, which is an essential component of the planned streetscape of Union Street. Nos 117 and 119, by Robert Wilson are distinguished by the unusual and wide round-arched windows. The simple classical style is typical of granite buildings of this period before sophisticated cutting techniques were developed. Planned as the major thoroughfare in an increasingly wealthy and confident city, Union Street was a bold and confident project which required major engineering to complete. The buildings which aligned the street had to reflect this sense of grandeur and confidence as the visual appearance of the street was of the utmost importance.

Union Street was developed after 1794, when a town council meeting asked the engineer Charles Abercrombie to find a way to connect the original steep, haphazard network of Medieval streets of Aberdeen to the surrounding countryside. His plan was for two streets, one of which would run from Castlegate to the Denburn and the other which would run from the Castlegate to the North of the town. The former became Union Street. This was a particularly difficult project to complete as the street had to cut through St Katherine's Hill at the East end and be built on a series of arches culminating with a large bridge at the Denburn. The street was to be lined with classical buildings, but the initial idea of having a long, uniform classical design that each new house would have to conform to was abandoned, as it was realised that different purchasers would require some control over the design Some variety was therefore conceded. This variety had, however, to conform to the 'uniformity and regularity of the street' and that between each crossroads, the houses had to be the same height, the same number of storeys (4) and have the same pitch of roof.

Robert Wilson (1844-1931) was a successful and prolific Aberdeen architect. In practice with Alexander Ellis from 1869-96, his output includes many public and private buildings throughout the city.

Part of B Group with Nos 5-53, 67-89, 95-139, 143-153 (odd nos) Union Street, Nos 26-42, 46-62, 78-106, 114-144 (even nos) Union Street and St Nicholas Churchyard.

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