History in Structure

Aberdeen, Spa Street, Woolmanhill, Former Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Archive Block (Former Laundry)

A Category B Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

We don't have any photos of this building yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 57.1498 / 57°8'59"N

Longitude: -2.1065 / 2°6'23"W

OS Eastings: 393657

OS Northings: 806552

OS Grid: NJ936065

Mapcode National: GBR SB8.F0

Mapcode Global: WH9QQ.MK47

Plus Code: 9C9V4VXV+WC

Entry Name: Aberdeen, Spa Street, Woolmanhill, Former Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Archive Block (Former Laundry)

Listing Name: Archive Block (Former Laundry), Former Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Woolmanhill, Spa Street, Aberdeen

Listing Date: 19 June 2014

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 402338

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB52238

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200402338

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: Midstocket/Rosemount

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Tagged with: Hospital building

Find accommodation in


W & J Smith and Kelly (H Saxon Snell acting as consultant), 1887-97. 5-storey, compact, yet tall, irregular-plan, chamfered, former laundry block with continuous glazing in distinctive timber-framing and bracketed eaves, part of a significant nineteenth century hospital complex in Aberdeen city centre. Coursed granite. Segmental-arched openings at ground floor. Tall windows at 1st floor to north side with 24-pane glazing in timber frames.

Predominantly 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case frames. Slate roof. Wallhead stacks with scrolled buttresses.

The interior was seen in 2013 and has a stone cantilevered staircase with a single room to each floor, supported on iron columns and beams.

Statement of Interest

The laundry block is an important ancillary component of the former Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, which is a rare example of a hospital that has not been significantly altered externally since the late nineteenth century. The scale and plan form of the building is unusual for a building of its type and the building adds significantly to the streetscape of its city location. The timber and glazed detailing to the fifth floor is an unusual architectural detail and is of particular interest.

The former Royal Infirmary complex consists of a 1833-40 neo-classical building by Archibald Simpson with later nineteenth century buildings to the rear, on a confined gusset site in Aberdeen city centre. This hospital replaced the earlier Aberdeen Infirmary by William Christall, which opened in 1742, and was demolished on completion of the Simpson Pavilion.

In 1887 a major extension and reconstruction scheme commenced at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary site. Known as the Jubilee Extension Scheme (as the Queen's Jubilee provided an opportunity to raise funds), the new blocks were erected to the north part of the site and opened in 1897, providing a new surgical block (now known as the Victoria Pavilion), medical and pathology block and laundry block. These buildings were designed by W. & J. Smith & Kelly, an Aberdeen architectural practice; however H. Saxon Snell, a prolific hospital architect in London, was consulted on the design. Richardson states that Snell recommended that the W & J Smith's separate fever block of 1871 should be part of the new surgical block.

The rise of the ground-breaking pavilion plan form from the 1860s, resulted in the separating of patients and diseases to reduce the spread of infection, based on the reforms by Florence Nightingale. Although the late nineteenth century buildings at the former Royal Infirmary are not the pavilion plan form they do represent this move towards the separating out of medical functions. The laundry block is an important functional building.

After the First World War there was urgent need to increase the facilities of the Infirmary. The confined nature of the Woolmanhill site did not lend itself to expansion and in 1923 a site at Forresterhill was acquired with the foundation stone of the new hospital laid in 1928. Although the future of the Woolmanhill site was uncertain from this date, it has remained in operation until 2013. In 1946, J A O Allan, Ross and Allan prepared drawings for the adaptation of a large proportion of the Victoria Pavilion for use as an Emergency Physical Training Centre for the National Committee for the Training of Teachers.

W & J Smith and Kelly was an Aberdeen based architectural practice of William Smith II and his pupil William Kelly who was taken into partnership on the death of John Smith II (William Smith II son) in April 1887. The practice and its forerunners designed buildings in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, including domestic, educational and public commissions. Their other hospitals include Alexander Scott's Hospital, Huntly (listed at category A) and additions and alteration at Aberdeen Lunatic Asylum (now demolished).

Henry Saxon Snell (1830-1904) made his name in the later 1860s with innovative designs for workhouses and quickly extended his practice to hospitals and infirmaries in which he became one of the leading specialists in the 1890s and early 1900s, his main clients being the London guardians.

Previously listed as part of "Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Woolmanhill".

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.