Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 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. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


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

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. 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 legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

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 1997 Act. 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 subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 21/05/2024 13:35