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Aberdeen, 32-48 Bridge Street, Victoria Buildings

Office(S) (19th Century), Shop(S) (19th Century)

Site Name Aberdeen, 32-48 Bridge Street, Victoria Buildings

Classification Office(S) (19th Century), Shop(S) (19th Century)

Canmore ID 316651

Site Number NJ90NW 2685

NGR NJ 9398 0594

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/316651

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

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

Site Management (11 September 2000)

Built on sloping site. Monumental, classical, 4-storey, 15-bay granite ashlar U-plan commercial building in single block with symmetrical principal elevation to E (Bridge Street). 5 storeys to central 3 bays. 2-storey and attic wings to rear (Crown Street). Shops to ground at E with some banded rusticated pillars (modernised and altered frontages, 2006). Blind balustrade divides ground and 1st floors. Band courses. Balustraded parapet to E and S divided by palmette motifs.

Known originally as Victoria Buildings, this monumental building dominates the streetscape in Bridge Street. The scale of the building and its mixture of Classical and Egyptian motifs is unusual in Aberdeen city centre. Its scale and style is more reminiscent of a city chambers or other municipal building. There is a wealth of decorative detail using both Egyptian and Greek motifs.

Originally conceived as a commercial building, with shops on the ground floor and offices above, it largely continues in this function today. Its proximity to the Railway Station and crucial dock area is significant. Constructed at a time of prosperity for Aberdeen, it is indicative of the commercial strength of the city and was clearly designed to impress.

As part of a wider City Improvement Scheme the Town Council proposed in 1878 that a set of steps between Bridge Street and Crown Street would be a useful addition to the area and would provide a link between Bridge Street and Crown Street. These granite steps lie to the immediate South of Victoria Buildings. Subsequent to the building of the steps, plans for this monumental and grand building were drawn up and given to the Town Council in 1880.

The building was conceived as one which would fill the entire block. The original plans show an extra storey and more roof decoration than were incorporated in the final design. Alexander Ellis and Robert Wilson were Aberdeen architects who were in practice together from 1869-1906. They worked extensively in and around Aberdeen and their output included, in the main, houses, churches and other large office buildings. Ellis & Wilson, the architects moved into an office at number 34 Victoria Buildings in 1882. (Historic Environment Scotland List Entry)

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