John Smith, 1836-7 with later alterations, A Marshal Mackenzie, 1898. 3-storey, 4-bay Classical, former Advocates' Hall with adjoining 3-bay tenement building to W, situated on prominent corner site. Distinctive curved corner with central window opening and flanking bays with paired giant Ionic columns. Altered shops to ground. Grey granite ashlar with channelled rustication to ground. Cornice to ground floor, eaves cornice, blocking course. Consoled and corniced architraves to 1st storey openings; above variety of small square and circular openings.
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: corner bay flanked by single bays with flanking Ionic pilasters. Outer bay to Union Street (S) has similar flanking pilasters. 3-bay pedimented section to Back Wynd (E) with shallow pilasters dividing bays. Simple Classical granite ashlar 3-storey, 3-bay tenement adjoined to W.
Predominantly plate glass timber sash and case windows to upper storeys at Nos 114-120 and 12-pane timber sash and case windows to tenement at No 122. Plate glass to shop fronts.
Statement of Special Interest
This prominent Classical building forms a significant part of the streetscape. It has a distinctive curved corner bay with dominant Ionic pilasters. Designed by renowned local architect John Smith in 1836-7 it is an important part of the developing 19th century city. Built as the Advocates' Hall, prior to their move in 1872 to the current Advocates Hall in Concert Court (see separate listing). From 1912-1981 it was converted to form the Queen's Cinema. It is currently (2006) commercial premises.
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 were designed to reflect this sense of grandeur and confidence as the visual appearance of the street was of the utmost importance.
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: Contracts Aberdeen Journal, Aug 10 1836, see also Nov 301836. Chapman & Riley p 148.