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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Group Category Details
Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NJ 94004 6105
394004, 806105


John and William Smith, 1844-6. 2-storey, 5-bay, turreted and castellated Tudor-gothic former Trinity Hall, now forming part of shopping centre (2006). Grey granite ashlar. String courses, cornice. Hoodmoulds. Pointed segmental arched window openings with simple tracery. Stepped, crenellated parapet punctuated by slender hexagonal ogee-domed turrets with similar clasping turrets to corners. Wide Tudor-arched opening to far right leading to shopping centre.

INTERIOR: not seen at time of resurvey (2006). Comprehensively altered to create former department store. Believed to contain timber hammerbeam ceiling. May contain fragments of the entrance gateway to the original 1632 Trinity Hall (see Notes).

Statement of Special Interest

The first building in Union Street not to be built in the classical style, this is a distinctive and prominent building which contributes significantly to the streetscape. Designed by the celebrated architects John and William Smith, it is situated at the South East corner of Union Bridge and is a particularly striking termination to the South side on Union Street. There are subsequent surrounding modern 20th century additions, but the building still retains a distinctive and unusual quality. It was built for the Seven Incorporated Trades, a body formed in the 16th century to protect the rights and privileges of traders and was a replacement for an earlier building on a different site, which was subsequently demolished. The entrance door of the old Hall was transferred to the new, and parts of this may still remain in the interior. By the 1840s, the Seven Incorporated Trades had become a charitable and social organisation.

John Smith (1781-1852), was a native of Aberdeen, who established himself in architectural practice in the city in 1804 and whose father William, was also an architect and building in Aberdeen. John became the Master of Work in 1824 and designed many of Aberdeen's public buildings, showing an expertise in working with granite. With Archibald Simpson, (1790-1847), he was one of the major architects involved in designing the expanding nineteenth century city of Aberdeen. This building earned him the title 'Tudor Johnnie'. William (1817-1891) was his son, who became a partner in his father's practice in 1845. Trinity Hall was his first commission. The Tutor Gothic design was reputed to have impressed Prince Albert sufficiently that he appointed William Smith as architect for Balmoral Castle.

Union Street was 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 and the other which would run from the Castlegate to the North of the town. The former became Union Street. This was a particularly difficult project to complete as the street had to cut through St Katherine's Hill at the East end and be built on a series of arches culminating with a large bridge at the Denburn. The street was to be lined with classical buildings, but the initial idea of having a long, uniform classical design that each new house would have to conform to was abandoned, as it was realised that different purchasers would require some control over the design Some variety was therefore conceded.

Part of B Group with Nos 5-53, 67-89, 95-139, 143-153 (odd nos) Union Street, Nos 26-42, 46-62, 78-106, 114-144 (even nos) Union Street and St Nicholas Churchyard.

References from previous List Description: Aberdeen Journal June 10th 1846. A.S.P.D. Chapman and Riley, p148. C and D Arch v.V p78.

Currently undergoing refurbishment (2006).



1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map, 1866-8. Diane Morgan, Lost Aberdeen, 2004, p186. W A Brogden, Aberdeen, An Illustrated Architectural Guide, 1998 p97. Peter Watson, The Burgesses of Guild of the City of Aberdeen, 2002 from 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. 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: 15/10/2019 09:31