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The Doric Columns

Golden Square 1810

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.

Golden Square and the surrounding streets to the North and East were built on land that belonged to the Incorporated Trade of Hammermen, which is reflected in other street names such as Silver Street, Diamond Street, Diamond Lane and Ruby Lane Thus suggesting an emphasis on the Gold and Silversmiths.

Development commenced in 1810 and was complete by 1821 in the 1st phase of development beyond the Denburn, after the completion of Union Bridge. The Square was intended as 1 of a series of formal squares, but it now remains the only 1 to the north of Union Street. The Square was originally laid out as Residential properties of traditional 2-storey granite Town Houses on each side of the square with a central landscaped area. During Edwardian times, Golden Square became a centre for Business with many of the houses refitted as offices. This trend still prevails, with a mix of Residential and Commercial uses around the Square.

Aberdeen Map 1857

Golden Square is characterised by its form and function. Firstly in its form it is an example of a 19th century planned square with a circular tree lined green or garden, similar in style to Bon Accord Square to the South of Union Street, but unique in its plan. A square of then modest Town houses, facing in to a Central area, set back from the main route of Union Street, whilst linked to the North, South, East and West. It appears as an enclosed space, different from its immediate surroundings, but similar in scale and style to the buildings along the West End of Union Street and on North Silver Street, Crimmon Place and Skene Terrace, which were built during the 1st half of the 19th century. Secondly by its function, not by a circular garden but which since the 1960s has been dominated by the use of this square as a car park. The original tree and grass landscaped area in the Centre of the square was removed and the area given over to parking, which dramatically marred the quiet appearance, character and original concept of the Square. The cars became serious obstacles to the pedestrian routes through and across the square, connecting Gilcomston to Union Street. The original character of Golden Square is still evident in certain aspects of the buildings in that they retain the original ornamental Railings and entrance Steps with light-wells down to the Basement levels and a uniformity in Window detail. All buildings fronting on to Golden Square are category B listed including the 5th Duke of Gordon statue now pre-sited from the Castlegate to the centre of the square. The Music Hall backs on to Golden Square and is category A listed. All but 3 properties along North Silver Street are also B listed.

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Last modified: 01/09/2013