Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NJ 94343 6375
394343, 806375


James Mathews, 1869. 2-storey and basement, 5-bay classical Advocates' Hall. Tooled, coursed granite with ashlar dressings. String course above basement, band courses, cornice, blocking course. Entrance elevation to S with Doric columned and pedimented doorpiece to far left. Some segmental-arched openings to ground.

Predominantly 4-pane timber sash and case windows. M-gabled at rear. Coped gable and wallhead stacks.

INTERIOR: original room plan extant with excellent decorative scheme. Wide dog-leg stair with decorative iron balusters and timber newels. Round-arched stained-glass stair windows by Cottier & Co. Encaustic tiled entrance floor, classical chimneypieces, 4 and 6-panel timber doors, some with consoled decorative cornices. Library with original custom-built timber bookcases with steps and gallery. Excellent quality decorative deep plaster cornicing with dentils and console brackets. Working timber shutters. Ground floor room converted to form working Courtroom, but retains much original fabric.

Internal link connects to Town House (see separate listing).

Statement of Special Interest

This purpose-built Advocates' Hall follows the classical Aberdeen tradition with its uncomplicated and unassuming classical exterior. The interior contains an excellent decorative scheme with stained glass by Cottier & Co. The library in particular is especially fine and, rarely, retains an original decorative scheme, including galleried timber bookcases, by Arthur Clyne, a local architect. The Hall was built in a small, narrow lane to the rear of the Town House (see separate listing), to take advantage of the newly built Sheriff Courts within the Town House. It was built to replace the earlier Hall, built in 1837, designed by John Smith and situated at the corner of Union Street and Back Wynd (see separate listing).

The Advocates' Society has been in existence for around 450 years. For much of that time no solicitor could appear in the Sheriff Court if he was not a member of the Society. Currently, membership is open to solicitors who practise in and around the Aberdeen area.

James Matthews (1819-1898) was a prolific architect, working mainly in Aberdeen, Elgin and Inverness, and who was in partnership with his one-time trainee, A Marshall Mackenzie from 1877-93. Matthews output includes large public and smaller private buildings. He became Lord Provost of Aberdeen in 1883 and was mainly responsible for the City Improvement Act of 1883 which included the building of School hill and Rosemount Viaduct which gave improved access to the city. He is buried in St Nicholas Churchyard (see separate listing).



2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1899-1901). Ranald MacInnes, The Aberdeen Guide, 2000 p55. Information courtesy of local residents. Scottish Dictionary of Architects,

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 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.

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but 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. 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 advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. 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


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Printed: 25/04/2019 14:52