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Aberdeen, Broad Street, Provost Skene's House And Archway

House (16th Century), Sundial(S) (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Aberdeen, Broad Street, Provost Skene's House And Archway

Classification House (16th Century), Sundial(S) (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Cumberland House; Victoria Lodging House; 45 Guestrow

Canmore ID 20175

Site Number NJ90NW 52

NGR NJ 94198 06385

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2018.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Aberdeen, City Of
  • Parish Aberdeen
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District City Of Aberdeen
  • Former County Aberdeenshire

Archaeology Notes

NJ90NW 52 94198 06385.

(NJ 9419 0638) Provost Skene's House (NAT)

OS 25" map, (1955).

During repair work to central heating pies, part of the stone floor of the old kitchen was uplifted within the 17th-century part of this house. No archaeological deposits were found, but a stone incised with the letters 'THHR' was discovered. It had been part of the floor and after being recorded, was replaced.

Sponsor: City of Aberdeen District Council.

A Cameron 1991.

Architecture Notes

This site has only been partially upgraded for SCRAN. For full information, please consult the Architecture Catalogues for Aberdeen.

January 1998

Originating in the 16th century (built 1545) as a plain, three-storeyed block with a forestair, this building was twice extended in length before being acquired in 1669 by George Skene, to whom its present form is principally due. Painted gallery of 1626; plasterwork of 1676; restored 1951-3. The bedroom and panelling in the Georgian drawing room are noteworthy. Was also a Victorian working house.

(Additional newspaper references cited by AAS).

J G Dunbar 1966; E Meldrum 1961; NMRS, MS/712/83.


Aberdeen, Broad Street, Provost Skene's House.

Built c.1545.

Street originally Guest Row.

Provost Skene's House also known as Cumberland House.

1688 (Coat of Arms over Door dated 1688). The west wing of this house is older. Area 1580. Good painted panelling, staircase and plaster ceiling.


Archway originally located in Union Terrace Gardens.


Aberdeen Public Library, Reference Department:

Plans of plaster ceilings at no.45 Guestrow, measured and drawn by J. Scott Lawson. - 2 sheets

Slides of Cumberland House, Guestrow; Victoria Lodging House, Guestrow; Ancient gateway, Guestrow; Court in Guestrow.

Non-Guardianship Sites Plan Collection, DC28896- DC28926, 1929 & 1933.

Aberdeen Public Library

"Munro's Old Landmarks" - description

"Aberdeen in bygone Days" - slides - reference Dept.


"Memorials of the family of Skene" 1887 Spalding Club - print


Publication Account (1997)

This outstanding piece of domestic architecture is one of the few remaining early buildings in the town figure 20. The earliest section is a three-storey wing perhaps dating from the mid sixteenth century. The interior has a painted gallery of 1626, which contains an important cycle of religious paintings; and some other seventeenth-century additions remain intact, for example a fine ceiling in one of the bedrooms. The house was owned by Sir George Skene, provost of Aberdeen in 1676-1685; used by the Duke of Cumberland in February 1746 on route north to crush the Jacobites; and was restored in the twentieth century.

Information from ‘Historic Aberdeen: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1997).

Watching Brief (1 November 2011 - 15 December 2011)

Service trenches around Provost Skene's House were monitored in November and December 2011 in preparation for the demolition of St Nicholas House. No archaeological deposits were recorded.

Information from Oasis (camerona1-125586) 24 July 2012

NJ 94198 06385 A watching brief was undertaken 1 November – 15 December 2011 during the excavation of a number of service trenches. No significant archaeological finds or features were recorded.

Archive: RCAHMS

Funder: Aberdeen City Council

Alison Cameron (Cameron Archaeology) 2012 (DES)

Watching Brief (26 August 2012 - 28 September 2012)

NJ 94198 06385 A watching brief during the excavation of post pits, and an evaluation on an area of open ground adjacent to St Nicholas House were undertaken, 26 August – 28 September 2012, in advance of possible development work. An area of undisturbed garden soil, overlying natural subsoil, may indicate the location of potentially undisturbed deposits in the open area between Provost Skene's House and St Nicholas House. In other areas 19th-century tenement wall foundations and a 20th-century concrete duct were recorded.

Archive: RCAHMS

Funder: Aberdeen City Council

Alison Cameron, Cameron Archaeology, 2013

(Source: DES)


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