Listed Building

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


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NJ 94364 6204
394364, 806204


George Johnstone, dated 1593 with later additions to W (see notes); restored and internally linked by Alexander George Robertson Mackenzie, 1954 and now part of the Aberdeen Maritime Museum complex (1996). Pair of rare and early 3-storey townhouses occupying prominent position overlooking harbour on sloping site. Roughly squared and snecked rubble; attic and first floor cill course at No 48; irregular fenestration.

Principal doorway to No 48 with roll-moulded surround in right re-entrant angle of advanced 3-storey and attic gable; armorial plaque above; chamfered quoins; corbelled out and gabled attic level breaking eaves; stone pedimented dormer breaks eaves to left. Coped ashlar curtain wall to central bays encloses small forecourt. Double arched arcade to No 50 with moulded central capital and cast iron gates; recess behind. Full height, piended roof outshot to rear elevation.

Predominantly multi-paned timber sash and case windows. Grey slate; stepped roof. Broad stack to right gable; ridge stacks elsewhere; coped ashlar skews and skewputs. Cast iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: Restoration in 1954 followed original mutli-level floor plan. Wide flat-arched fireplaces with chamfered surrounds remain in four rooms, two presently (2006) obscured by museum display. Exposed beam ceilings to E rooms. Some chamferred door surrounds to secondary spaces and spiral stair outshot to rear - stair no longer in situ. Stone vaulting to former kitchen at ground floor. Some internal window shutters remaining at room to NE rear.

Statement of Special Interest

Number 48 Shiprow, commonly known as Provost Ross's House, was constructed under the direction of master-mason Andrew Jamieson. It is the second oldest dwelling in Aberdeen (1593) and is the only survivor of a clean sweep of the area in the 1950's and 1960's. Previously listed separately but now merged with its neighbour at number 50, the two buildings reflect the highest standards of living among rich merchants and civic leaders in sixteenth century Aberdeen.. Its prominent orientation in Shiprow ' one of the principal thoroughfares of Medieval Aberdeen ' gives a clear idea of the original layout of the street. Each floor of the main block would have comprised two main rooms on each side of a central spiral-stair that was housed in the outshot to the rear. No 50 Shiprow is stepped downslope from Provost Ross's House on a slightly curved alignment, a rare example of terracing from such an early date. According to Geoffrey Stell, writing in Aberdeen Before 1800 - A New History, the building is probably of seventeenth century origin, refaced and remodelled in 1710 as part of a design incorporating ground floor arcaded shops.

Provost John Ross of Arnage became resident at Number 48 in 1702 and may also have occupied part of the adjoining house at No 50. By the mid 20th century, the two houses had deteriorated to dereliction and were threatened with demolition. They were acquired at the eleventh hour by the National Trust for Scotland and restored with support from the Trust's members, the City of Aberdeen and the Associated British Picture Corporation. Re-opened by the Secretary of State for Scotland in 1954, the buildings are presently leased by the Trust to the Aberdeen Maritime Museum of Scotland. Access to the 1996 glass-fronted museum building is achieved via two openings at the W gable of No 50 at ground and first floor levels. The glass 'gap site' building links the Provost Ross House to the former Trinity Congregational Church, which has also been converted as part of the Maritime Museum.



Chapman and Riley, 'The City and Royal Burgh of Aberdeen - Survey and Plan (1949) p.149; W A Brogden, Aberdeen, An Illustrated Architectural Guide (1986) p.21. Ranald MacInnes, The Aberdeen Guide (1992) p.156. Ian Sheppard - Exploring Scotland's Heritage: Aberdeen and North East Scotland - RCAHMS (1996). Aberdeen before 1800 - A New History, E. P Dennison et al Ed (2000); Further information and photographic evidence courtesy of the curator.

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.

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Printed: 17/11/2018 06:53