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26-38 (Even Nos) Union Street, Esslemont and Macintosh Department Store

A Category C Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Latitude: 57.1477 / 57°8'51"N

Longitude: -2.0957 / 2°5'44"W

OS Eastings: 394308

OS Northings: 806319

OS Grid: NJ943063

Mapcode National: GBR SCS.TS

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.SL7V

Entry Name: 26-38 (Even Nos) Union Street, Esslemont and Macintosh Department Store

Listing Date: 27 July 2007

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 399614

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50959

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: George St/Harbour

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Ellis & Wilson 1892 (Nos 26-30) and R G Wilson, (Nos 32-38) 1897. Department store with principal elevation to Union Street (S) comprising 2 buildings on corner sites with linking corridor at 3rd storey over St Catherine's Wynd. To right (Nos 26-30); Classical, 4-storey and attic 5 bay. To left, (Nos 32-38) Freestyle, 5-storey and attic, 4 bay. Grey granite ashlar; tooled, coursed granite to rear. String courses, cill courses. Flat-roofed canopy above ground to Union Street (S) and Broad Street (E) elevations; that to Broad Street with later (1870s) harled extension above. Some windows with original canopy blinds.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: Union Street elevation: to right, Nos 26-30 with deep dentilled Doric frieze to 2nd storey, blocking course, central pedimented wallhead dormer. Tripartite openings to central bay with stone pilastered mullions. Decorative architraved openings, those to 1st storey corniced. Palmette details to corners. Tesserae fascia above shops to E (St Catherine's Wynd) with Esslemont & Macintosh logo.

To left: nos 32-38, deep cornice above 3rd storey. Pair of Dutch gables, with stacks at apices. Variety of deep-set windows with stone mullions and transoms. Corbelled, canted 4 and 5-light oriel windows rising from 1st storey. Tall 3-storey, round-arched openings at rear.

Predominately plate glass timber sash and case windows to upper storeys. Plate glass to shop fronts. Mansard roofs, grey slates. Coped wallhead and gable stacks.

INTERIOR: (seen 2006). Comprehensively modernised.

Statement of Interest

These well-detailed buildings by local architects Ellis & Wilson are a distinctive part of the streetscape of the major thoroughfare of Union Street. The building to the left (Nos 32-38) uses a variety of architectural detailing from diverse architectural styles. This Freestyle which draws on many Northern European architectural details was a popular architectural style for commercial buildings at the end of the 19th century.

Planned in the 19th century 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.

Esslemont and Macintosh were one of Aberdeen's oldest department stores. It was founded in 1873 by Peter Esslemont, a Lord Provost of the city and originally traded at premises on Broad Street.

The building to the right, Nos 26-30 Union Street were originally built as offices for the Aberdeen newspaper, the Daily Free Press. When they amalgamated with the Aberdeen Journal in 1924, Esslemont bought the property. 32-38 Union Street was the home of Sangster and Henderson, drapers and house furnishers. They went out of business in 1926 and Esslemont and MacIntosh moved into this property, selling their property on Broad Street to the Council.

Alexander Ellis and Robert Wilson were Aberdeen architects who were in practice together from 1869-1896 when Ellis died. They worked extensively in and around Aberdeen and their output included, in the main, houses, churches and other large office buildings. Wilson continued to work after Ellis' death.

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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