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.


Group Category Details
Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NJ 94247 6277
394247, 806277


Probably Archibald Simpson, 1811 (see Notes). 3-storey and attic, 6-bay Classical tenement building with shops (altered) to ground. Cornice above ground floor, band course, deep cornice above 2nd storey. Raised, moulded architraves; cornices to 1st storey windows. Attic storey comprises deep parapet with paired attic windows to left and right with stepped and coped wallhead stacks above. Plaque at centre of attic engraved 'UNION CHAMBERS'.

Predominantly plate glass timber sash and case windows. Plate glass to shops. Gable stacks.

INTERIOR: not comprehensively seen during resurvey (2006) but believed to be extensively altered.

Statement of Special Interest

Situated towards the East end of Union Street, this is an early example of a classical building possibly and the first in the city by the renowned Aberdeen architect Archibald Simpson. It forms an essential component of the planned streetscape of Union Street. The probably later attic windows within the wallhead stacks to the street elevation are unusual. The simple Classical style is typical of granite buildings of this period before sophisticated cutting techniques for this hard stone were developed. Planned as the major thoroughfare in an increasingly wealthy and confident city, Union Street was a bold and confident project which required major engineering to complete. The buildings which aligned the street had to reflect this sense of grandeur and confidence as the visual appearance of the street was of the utmost importance.

There is some disagreement about the date and architect of this building. Brogden suggests that this is a 1895 building by James Henderson, built as a replacement for an original Archibald Simpson structure. Cuthbert indicates that Simpson built this building in 1811 for a John Morison of Auchentoul and that this was Simpson's first commission in Aberdeen. Simpson was working in London at this time in the office of David Laing. Morison had asked Laing for a design for a house, but when he looked at the plans, Morison had preferred a design by the young Simpson. The attic storey is thought to be a later addition. The building appears on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map of 1866-8 as the Bon Accord Music Hall.

Archibald Simpson (1790-1847), along with John Smith, was one of the major architects involved in designing the expanding 19th century city of Aberdeen. A native of Aberdeen, he practised predominately with the North East of Scotland. He designed many of the important buildings in the city including St Andrews Cathedral, The Music Hall and 29 King Street (see separate listings).

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.

Category changed from B to C(S), 2007.



John Wood, Plan of the Cities of Aberdeen 1828, NLS. 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map, (1866-68). John Smith and David Stevenson, Aberdeen in the Nineteenth Century 1988 pf45. Cuthbert Graham, Archibald Simpson, Architect of Aberdeen, 1790-1847, 1990, pf12. W A Brogden, Aberdeen, An Illustrated Guide 1998 p93.

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.

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Printed: 04/03/2024 01:57