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
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NJ 94308 6319
394308, 806319


Ellis & Wilson 1892 (Nos 26-30) and R G Wilson, (Nos 32-38) 1897. Department store with principal elevation to Union Street (S) comprising 2 buildings on corner sites with linking corridor at 3rd storey over St Catherine's Wynd. To right (Nos 26-30); Classical, 4-storey and attic 5 bay. To left, (Nos 32-38) Freestyle, 5-storey and attic, 4 bay. Grey granite ashlar; tooled, coursed granite to rear. String courses, cill courses. Flat-roofed canopy above ground to Union Street (S) and Broad Street (E) elevations; that to Broad Street with later (1870s) harled extension above. Some windows with original canopy blinds.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: Union Street elevation: to right, Nos 26-30 with deep dentilled Doric frieze to 2nd storey, blocking course, central pedimented wallhead dormer. Tripartite openings to central bay with stone pilastered mullions. Decorative architraved openings, those to 1st storey corniced. Palmette details to corners. Tesserae fascia above shops to E (St Catherine's Wynd) with Esslemont & Macintosh logo.

To left: nos 32-38, deep cornice above 3rd storey. Pair of Dutch gables, with stacks at apices. Variety of deep-set windows with stone mullions and transoms. Corbelled, canted 4 and 5-light oriel windows rising from 1st storey. Tall 3-storey, round-arched openings at rear.

Predominately plate glass timber sash and case windows to upper storeys. Plate glass to shop fronts. Mansard roofs, grey slates. Coped wallhead and gable stacks.

INTERIOR: (seen 2006). Comprehensively modernised.

Statement of Special Interest

These well-detailed buildings by local architects Ellis & Wilson are a distinctive part of the streetscape of the major thoroughfare of Union Street. The building to the left (Nos 32-38) uses a variety of architectural detailing from diverse architectural styles. This Freestyle which draws on many Northern European architectural details was a popular architectural style for commercial buildings at the end of the 19th century.

Planned in the 19th century 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.

Esslemont and Macintosh were one of Aberdeen's oldest department stores. It was founded in 1873 by Peter Esslemont, a Lord Provost of the city and originally traded at premises on Broad Street.

The building to the right, Nos 26-30 Union Street were originally built as offices for the Aberdeen newspaper, the Daily Free Press. When they amalgamated with the Aberdeen Journal in 1924, Esslemont bought the property. 32-38 Union Street was the home of Sangster and Henderson, drapers and house furnishers. They went out of business in 1926 and Esslemont and MacIntosh moved into this property, selling their property on Broad Street to the Council.

Alexander Ellis and Robert Wilson were Aberdeen architects who were in practice together from 1869-1896 when Ellis died. They worked extensively in and around Aberdeen and their output included, in the main, houses, churches and other large office buildings. Wilson continued to work after Ellis' death.

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.



2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map, (1899-1901). Connie Leith, Alexander Ellis, A Fine Victorian Architect, 1999 p102. W A Brogden, Aberdeen, An Illustrated Architectural Guide, 1998 p93. Ranald MacInnes, The Aberdeen Guide, 2000 p56. Dictionary of Scottish 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. 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.

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