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.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NJ 94455 6278
394455, 806278


Late 18th century. 3-storey, long, narrow, gabled rectangular-plan former public rooms (see Notes) with 3-lighted bowed S elevation overlooking Harbour, now with long, low projecting addition to ground floor. Situated on restricted site in small courtyard entered by narrow pend on Castle Street. Grey granite ashlar. Eaves cornice. 6-panel timber entrance door to NW with Doric columned and pedimented doorpiece. S bowed elevation with flat-roofed top storey with simple iron railings forming viewing platform. 20th century single storey extension to S.

Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows to S. Some openings boarded. Coped wallhead stack to E. In poor repair (2006).

Statement of Special Interest

Dating from the late 18th century, 54 Castle Street is a significant part of the cityscape. The simple bowed South elevation with its viewing platform overlooking the Harbour is an unusual device in Aberdeen. The building is entered via a narrow pend from Castle Street. The former list description of 1997 describes the interior as comprising 3 large rooms, vertically stacked and reached from a wide stone stair with original railings. Also consisting of elaborate plasterwork and simple chimneypieces of Adamitic character throughout. It is likely that the interior remains as previously described.

A bow ended building in this location is depicted on the Alexander Milne map of 1789 although this seems to be part of an L-plan structure. It is possible that 54 Castle Street was originally built as an L-plan late 18th century town house and converted in the early 19th century to provide public reading and entertainment rooms for the city.

Castle Street (or Castlegate) is considered by many to be the heart of Aberdeen city centre. It has been the site of the main market place since the 12th century. It contains a 17th century Mercat Cross (a Scheduled Ancient Monument). The central rectangular area has, through the centuries, been bounded by a succession of different buildings, predominately private houses and commercial premises. The Tolbooth was built here in the 17th century. The earlier buildings were replaced from the 19th century onwards using the existing footprint, and therefore the important large central space which continues to form a focal point for the city was retained.

Reference from previous list description: Iain Gray, Archivist, Aberdeen City Council.



Alexander Milne, A Plan if the City of Aberdeen, 1789, NLS. 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1866-68). Ranald MacInnes, The Aberdeen Guide, 2000 p134. Other information courtesy of owner.

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.

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 You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 26/05/2024 21:48