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 94422 6361
394422, 806361


Archibald Simpson, 1839-42. 3-storey, 6 and 2-bay Classical former bank building with impressive Corinthian-columned quadrant corner entrance portico, situated at important corner site in city centre. Lower bay to far left of Castle Street elevation (S) with tall round-arched opening leading to Logie pend. Channelled grey granite ashlar, coursed tooled granite to rear. Base course, deep modillioned cornice to 2nd storey, balustraded parapet. 1st and 2nd storey windows set in recesses with aprons with carved Cornucopia motifs dividing storeys.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: slightly recessed quadrant corner entrance portico comprises 4 double-height Corinthian columns. Entrance steps between columns with low decorative iron gates. Corniced and architraved tall doorpiece with recessed 8-panel 2-leaf timber entrance door. Quadrant corner surmounted by coloured terracotta statue of Ceres by James Giles.

Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows to upper storeys with plate glass with narrow top lights to ground. Wallhead stacks to W.

INTERIOR: excellent, opulent decorative scheme to ground floor. Fluted Corinthian-pilastered former banking hall with patterned tesserae floor and gilded plaster Parthenon frieze. Coffered ceiling. Decorative plaster cornicing. Panelled timber doors. Timber panelled screen with glass and timber panels above. Upper floors converted to office use.

Statement of Special Interest

This is a strategic building by Archibald Simpson, one of Aberdeen's most celebrated architects, situated at the heart of the city on the axial corner between Castle Street and King Street and at the beginning of the major thoroughfare of Union Street. With elevations to two major streets, the impressive linking Corinthian-columned portico creates a landmark building which embodies the aspirations of the North of Scotland Bank. 19th century Aberdeen is characterised by quality Classical architecture of which Simpson was an assured exponent. The former bank is arguably the finest work in the city centre. The ground floor has a lavish interior scheme which including a Parthenon frieze and tessserae floors.

The building was the winning design in a competition, and it was built for the Head Office of the North of Scotland Bank. The foundation stone was laid in 1840.

The sculpture of Ceres, the Goddess of Plenty, was designed by local sculptor James Giles (1801-70) and shows the Goddess accompanied by a Cornucopia and a British Lion. The figure was modelled by Nelson Routledge Lucas and Company.

Archibald Simpson (1790-1847), along with John Smith, was one of the major architects involved in designing the expanding nineteenth century city of Aberdeen. A native of Aberdeen, he practised predominately with the North East of Scotland. He designed many of the important works in the city including St Andrews Cathedral, The Music Hall and 29 King Street (see separate listings).

Union Street and King Street were developed after 1794, when a town council meeting asked the engineer Charles Abercrombie to find a way to connect the original steep, haphazard network of Medieval streets of Aberdeen to the surrounding countryside. His plan was for two streets, one of which would run from Castlegate to the Denburn (Union Street) and the other which would run from the Castlegate to the North of the town (King Street). Planned as major thoroughfares in an increasingly wealthy and self-assured city, the streets were bold and confident projects some of which required major engineering to complete. The buildings which aligned them had to reflect a sense of grandeur and confidence as the visual appearance of the street was of the utmost importance.

Part of B Group with 5 Castle Street, Nos 1-56 (inclusive nos) King Street and St Andrews Episcopal Cathedral.

Currently restaurant with offices above (2006).

References from previous list description: Contracts Aberdeen Journal June 4th 1839. N S A v12 p104. Chapman & Riley p148. W Douglas Simpson in Country Life Aug 19th 1965.



1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1866-8). W A Brogden, Aberdeen, An Illustrated Architectural Guide, 1998 p74. Rananld MacInnes, The Aberdeen Guide, 2000 p147. Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeen's Sculpure Trail leaflet. Canmore Database, available at Dictionary of Scottish 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.

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Printed: 30/03/2023 02:50