Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.

Fairview, including boundary wall and gatepiers and excluding single-storey and attic cottage to rear, Inchgarth Road, AberdeenLB15732

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NJ 89773 2704
389773, 802704


A single-storey, classical former Engine House by William Smith, built in 1864 for Aberdeen Water Works and now converted to residential use. In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the single-storey and attic cottage to the rear.

The former engine house is single storey and symmetrical with a full width pedimented gable on the entrance elevation. It is built of coursed, Aberdeen-bonded granite and has bull-faced quoins and a moulded cornice in the pediment. It has a base course, a band course and a cornice. The entrance elevation to the southeast has a central 2-leaf timber door with a 3-light fanlight and a consoled cornice above. The door is flanked by windows and there are two window openings in each side elevation.

The windows are predominantly a 4-pane glazing pattern in timber sash and case frames. The roof has grey slates, a tall central roof vent and gable chimney stacks.

A rubble boundary wall with triangular coping surrounds the property with pair of bull-faced, capped gatepiers to the east.

Statement of Special Interest

This 1864 former Engine House is one of the first buildings to be built for Aberdeen Water Works and is one of only a few buildings surviving from this early period of the water works development. Designed by the Aberdeen architect William Smith this small industrial building is distinguished by its good classical decorative features and the entrance (southwest) elevation is largely unaltered. The building is situated on a prominent corner site and it is an unusual and significant building on a street that is characterised by 20th century houses.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the single-storey and attic cottage to the rear.

Age and Rarity

Fairview is marked on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map, published in 1868 as the Engine House for Aberdeen Water Works. By the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map, published in 1901, the building has increased in size and is marked as both St Devenick Cottage and Engine House (Aberdeen Water Works). It is probable that a cottage was added to the engine house as residential accommodation.

During the first half of the 19th century the population in Aberdeen increased, as was the case in other Scottish cities. In response to the demand for more clean water, engineers looked to provide new and better water supplies. The most ambitious at the time was the Loch Katrine scheme which provided 230 million gallons of water a day for the city of Glasgow and was opened in 1859. Edinburgh also increased its supply during the 19th century with a network of reservoirs in the south of the city, including Glencorse dating from the 1820s and the Moorfoot reservoirs dating from the 1870s.The Aberdeen scheme was smaller than both of these.

Around 1855, James Simpson, a civil engineer from London, was asked to advise on a new water system for Aberdeen. In 1864, work began on the new system which took water to the city from Cairnton, near Banchory and which ended at a reservoir at Mannofield, close to the city centre. Aberdeen Water Works were formally opened in 1866 by Queen Victoria. It included the treatment plant at Invercannie to the west of the city which is described by Paxton in his book 'Civil Engineering Heritage. Scotland Highland and Islands' as having been '….hailed as the jewel in the crown of engineering success.' The system was expanded during the remainder of the 19th century and into the 20th, as the population of the city increased and adaptations had to be made.

Dating from 1864, this former engine house on Inchgarth Road is one of the first buildings to be built for Aberdeen Water Works and in our current state of knowledge, is one of only a few buildings surviving from this early period of the water works development. A later pumping station was built in Cults, to the north of this one in the 1920s. The classical detailing at Fairview is particularly good and it is a distinctive building in the street.

Architectural or Historic Interest


The interior has not been seen.

Plan form

The rectangular plan form is standard for an engine house at a water works.

Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality

In terms of design quality, the classical form used for the building is not unique, but the stonework details are of a good quality and demonstrates the thought that has gone into the designing of this small industrial building. The consoled cornice above the door is a particularly prominent feature of the property and together with the pediment and the simple band course, it gives a sense of status and gravitas to the building. This would have added to the perceived importance of the new water system when the building was built. The entrance (southwest) elevation is largely unaltered.

Decorative architectural features for water works buildings are not unusual, as water works companies in other parts of Scotland often used decorative techniques in their buildings. Whilst the classical details on Fairview are typical of decorative techniques used at water works' buildings, they are of a good quality.

William Smith (1817-1891) was an Aberdeen architect who went into partnership with his father, John Smith in 1845 and succeeded him in the post of Superintendent of the Town's Works in 1852. William was responsible for a number of prominent buildings in and around Aberdeen, including churches, schools, private houses and the new castle at Balmoral, (LB51460). A number of his buildings are listed, including Trinity Hall on Union Street in Aberdeen (LB20527).


Fairview is set slightly back from the public road on a corner site, surrounded by its boundary wall and overlooking the River Dee to the south. Its classical details set it apart from other, later buildings on the road, the majority of which are purpose-built residential dwellings.

Regional variations

The Aberdeen-bonded granite is a distinctive building technique seen in many buildings in the northeast of Scotland.

Close Historical Associations

There are no known associations with a person or event of national importance at present (2016)

Statutory address, category of listing changed from B to C and listed building record revised in 2016. Previously listed as 'Fairview, Inchagarth Road'.



Canmore: CANMORE ID 134436


Ordnance Survey (Surveyed 1865, Published 1868) Kincardine Sheet III.8. 25 Inches to the Mile. 1st Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey (Surveyed 1899, Published 1901) Aberdeenshire Sheet 086.01. 25 Inches to the Mile. 2nd Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Printed Sources

Brogden, W. A. (1998) Aberdeen, An Illustrated Architectural Guide. Edinburgh: The Rutland Press. p.171.

Fraser, G.M. (1921) The Old Deeside Road. Aberdeen: The University Press. p.37.

Fraser, W. H. and Lee, C.H. (eds) (2000) Aberdeen 1800-2000, A New History. East Linton: Tuckwell Press. p.240-1.

Paxton, R. and Shipway, J (2007) Civil Engineering Heritage. Scotland Highland and Islands. London: Thomas Telford. p.80-81.

Sharples, J., Walker, D. and Woodworth, A. (2015) The Buildings of Scotland: Aberdeenshire: South and Aberdeen. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. p.281.

Online Sources

Dictionary of Scottish Architects. William Smith II at (accessed 01/04/2015).

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The statutory listing address is the legal part of the listing. The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at


Fairview, Inchgarth Road, Aberdeen, principal elevation looking north, during daytime with blue sky.


Map of Fairview, including boundary wall and gatepiers and excluding single-storey and attic cottage to rear, Inchgarth Road, Aberdeen

Printed: 21/11/2018 13:43