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.

THE ESPLANADE, BEACH BALLROOMLB20314

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
B
Date Added
12/01/1967
Local Authority
Aberdeen
Planning Authority
Aberdeen
Burgh
Aberdeen
NGR
NJ 95271 7152
Coordinates
395271, 807152

Description

Thomas Roberts and Hume, Bathgate, 1926; Star Ballroom probably by George Keith City Architect, 1961-3; renovated 1970s. Unusual Art Deco large, single storey and raised basement, octagonal ballroom with set-back pantiled (vernacular) pyramidal roof crowned by arcaded lantern, and 3 projecting flat-roofed single storey wings with main entrance to S, bowed bay at SE and Northern Lights Suite below later Star Ballroom at E. Prominently sited on Esplanade overlooking Aberdeen Bay. Brick and stone construction with buff faience cladding; harled with raised margins to lesser elevations. Deep contrasting granite base course, mutuled eaves cornice and stepped blocking course raised into block pediment over Ionic columned doorpieces; stylised Ionic capitalled dividing pilasters and architraved keystoned windows.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: symmetrical 9-bay S (entrance) wing with 'THE BEACH' on pediment over centre doorpiece and steps up to deep-set 2-leaf multi-paned door with decorative fanlight. 5-bay SE wing angled to right with 3 large wide-centre tripartite windows to bowed centre bays flanked by single set-back windows. 8-bay E (Northern Lights) wing with slightly set-back pedimented doorpiece to right and distinctive stepped roofline of later full-width glass and timber Star Ballroom above.

INTERIOR: good decorative scheme in place retaining much original detail including plain cornicing, original 2-leaf swing doors both glazed and panelled, panelled dadoes, cast iron radiators and cast iron coat racks and hooks in cloakrooms. Variety of distinctive Art Deco style dog-leg staircases. Ballroom has sprung timber floor (altered) and domed ceiling (now enclosed) with ribs springing from giant order paired fluted Ionic pilasters supporting mutuled entablature; ground floor promenade below gallery with decorative plasterwork frieze giving way to plain railing punctuated by bellflower and paterae detail. Stage to NW and crush hall entrance to S.

Multi-pane glazing patterns throughout. Many original metal-framed tophopper opening windows remain to sides and rear, principal elevations have replacement timber-framed windows. Red pantiles. Cast iron downpipes with decorative rainwater hoppers.

Statement of Special Interest

The Beach Ballroom is an unusual design and a rare survival. It was built as part of the 'Beach Improvement Scheme', at a cost of £50,000, to the winning design in a competition held by Aberdeen Town Council. The official opening on 3 May 1929 took the form of a masked ball and carnival with costumes ranging from Louis XIV's Court to Sioux Indians and shepherdesses. During World War II the building was commandeered by the Military, and re-opened at 23 December 1946. The ballroom floor, which floats on 1400 steel springs, was originally made of maple and was re-layed after the war. Opened in June 1963, the Star Ballroom, with its distinctive roof form and use of timber and glass, was almost certainly designed by City Architect George M Keith. Square columns in the Northern Lights Suite were moved toward the outer wall in order to provide support for the new ballroom. During the 1970s a £150,000 renovation was undertaken; the work took two years to complete and included lowering the ballroom ceiling. A fire in 1993 caused damage to the stage which was originally semicircular, but was altered to its current rectangular form possibly during the 1970s. The dance floor shape has also changed from a central octagon it now extends to the stage.

When it first opened, the building was managed jointly by the town council and John Henry Isles from 1 June 1929 for three years, after which is reverted solely to the town council.

List description updated as part of the Theatres Thematic Study 2010.

References

Bibliography

The Builder CXXXI (1926), pp160, 170-1 (plans, illus). Aberdeen City Archives Various Plans (Acc 099, 116) and Reports (Acc 116). Bruce Peter Scotland's Splendid Theatres (1999), p189. http://www.theatrestrust.org.uk/resources/theatres/show/2364-beachpavilion- aberdeen [accessed 27.04.09]. Information courtesy of Aberdeen City Council.

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. 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 www.historicenvironment.scot/advice-and-support. You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at designations@hes.scot.

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Printed: 26/05/2019 21:58