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Crown Street

The Hammermen of the Incorporated Trades, representing the jewellery fraternity, laid out Crown Street, Diamond Street, Silver Street and Golden Square within the 1st stage of development West of the Denburn.

The plan for Crown Street was to create an important street, which is now the main thoroughfare through the area, to connect with Union Street but without the huge expense of bridging Windmill Brae (the ancient route into Aberdeen prior to the construction of Union Street). In order to do this, the street was kinked at the north end and now has an intriguing twist as it leaves Union Street giving unexpected views of the fine buildings that line it.

Although not originally deemed a satisfactory solution it did allow for construction of the impressive General Post Office building. This building has now been converted into flats including a contemporary building adjacent to it on the former gap site between Crown Street and Dee Street. No.s 10-16 Crown Street at the corner with Langstane Place is a wonderful example of a later Aberdonian tenement building. It features four main large storeys and another 3 above the parapet. The architect George Coutts utilised turn-of-the-century ‘free’ style to express himself with a range of influences, chiefly Northern Renaissance with stone dormer windows and shaped gables to define the rooftop accommodation. The design was inclusive of the pub on the ground floor featuring Art Nouveau glass, and sought to differentiate between the ‘ordinary’ tenement and high-class ‘flatted town houses’ in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen Map 1857

As we follow Crown Street south there is the Prudential office designed in 1910 by Paul Waterhouse and turning onto Crown Terrace viewing down Windmill Lane it becomes apparent the difficult landforms and topography the City builders had to deal with at the time. The area north east of Crown Street is typified by significant ecclesiastical buildings, including the Baptist Church of 1870 by James Souttar, St John’s Episcopalian Church by Thomas Mackenzie in 1849 and the former Trinity United Free Church of 1891 by A Marshall Mackenzie. A short distance away at 85 Crown Street is the impressive Masonic Temple designed by Harbourne Maclennan of Jenkins & Marr in 1909-10.   The rest of Crown Street is predominately simply detailed granite style built between 1820s-1840s. Dee Street is a quiet enclave with a typically Aberdonian mix of uses from suburban-looking cottages to warehouses and gives a good impression of what the original streets of Aberdeen’s new town were like. 

Some 11 other Lodges, 7 Royal Arch Chapters, and a number of other Orders in Freemasonry occupy the Masonic Temple at 85 Crown Street in Aberdeen, a building devoted entirely to Freemasonry.

The building, which has 3 Lodge rooms, has richly ornamented interior spaces, including such features as the inlaid marble floor featuring the signs of the zodiac.  A fine Sundial embellishes the South Gable.

1887 - Milnes' Library Chess Club, 1, Crown Street; Tues., Thur., Sat., 6 p.m. Members 20. Subn. 10s 6d. Pres. Rev. R. Semple. Sec. A.I. McConnochie, 1, East Craibstone Street.

Turkish Baths - 28b Crown Street - Very little is known about this establishment apart from its opening date (29th June 1877) (which made it the 1st to open in Aberdeen), its proprietor, Dr Johnstone and a sketchy outline of its facilities.  When the baths were opened they were stated to be 'experimental' in the sense that they were installed in a temporary wooden building which had previously been a photographic studio. (G W Wilson was at No.25)  It was intended to replace this later with more substantial premises.  Initially, the baths comprised a waiting room, Dr Johnstone's consulting room for those who wanted medical advice, a changing room, and a variety of baths and showers to meet bathers requirements. These included, apart from the Turkish Baths,  'a hot plunge, spray bath, wave bath, sitz bath, medicated bath, vapour bath, cold plunge, rain bath, douche bath, fountain spray, or any of the others that an epicurean hydropathist may choose to indulge in.' the baths were open from 7.00 till 9.00, 10.00 till 2.00, and 5.00 till 9.00, and it may be that the baths were open for women bathers at the noontime session Or the Boilers needed time to re-heat. It is not known whether the planned permanent building was ever erected.

Union Street end of Crown Street at the top of Windmill Brae with the main Post Office Building.  The Star & Garter Pub is just off the image to the right.

The view of Crown Street changed when a block of 3 houses were demolished to make way for the construction of the new General Post Office opened in April 1907. A shop opposite was Alexander Maver who was a tailor specialising in military uniforms. c.1897

Aberdeen - New Post Office
W T Oldrieve, completed 1907 3-storey Scots Renaissance, ashlar, asymmetrical frontage to Dee Street.  11 Crown Street  The Post office was designed by. Cumming Wyness and opened by the Postmaster General Sydney Buxton in 1907. It shows the Scottish Baronial influence common to several buildings of the period. As an economy measure Sunday deliveries stopped from January 1909.

Shop at corner of Dee Place on the age of Vitreous Enamel Signs - Sunlight Soap, Rowntree's and Fry's Chocolate built on the former Dee Village

George Washington Wilson an aspiring artist ventured into portrait photography in 1852 setting a Portrait Studio with John Hay in 25 Crown Street in Aberdeen.

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Last modified: 01/09/2013