Market Street was
laid out in 1840 by the architect
who designed many of the classical buildings in the expanding 19th century
he was responsible for much of the essential classical character of Aberdeen
City at this time. Aberdeen expanded greatly during the 19th century, especially
in trade reliant on the Harbour, and this street was built to provide easier
access from Union Street to the Harbour. The street cleared a notorious slum
area of the city called Putachieside. It took its name from a covered
indoor market, designed by Archibald Simpson in 1842, but
which subsequently burnt down in 1882. Rebuilt in 1884, the
market was replaced by a British Home Stores extension in 1971.
Archibald Simpson was responsible for much of the essential classical character of Aberdeen
City. Aberdeen expanded greatly during the 19th century, especially in trade
reliant on the Harbour, and this street was built to provide easier access from
It also cleared a
notorious slum area
of the City called
Market Street took its name from a
covered indoor market,
but which subsequently burnt down in
was replaced by a
British Home Stores
Market Street, Exchange Street and Hadden Street
on a grid pattern between
1840 and 1842
to be in line with the
Great North Road
At the head of the street an
was built along with a
near the quay
remain at the
17-21 Market Street,
one of his last commissions dating to
Adelphi Court, Hadden
Street, Trinity Lane and the Shiprow run into Market Street.
Simpsons Covered and Arched Walkways survived the Victorian era till Bobbies
directed traffic on point duty at this junction with Union Street
The Pavilion Restaurant,
44 Market Street, Wines Viands and Liquors of
recherche qualities. George Stephen Lessee c.1885
Built in the heart of the Victorian era, the Douglas Hotel near the
been welcoming visitors since 1853. A listed building makes it a much
loved and well appointed landmark in the City centre.
The Douglas Hotel was built in the Victorian era and has been welcoming guests
for more than 160 years. There have been a great many changes over those years,
including the installation and removal of some of the beautiful Art Deco
features which include the Copper Clad Canopy.
At the Cross
Quay - now South Market Street - a cargo of slates (as today) was often
discharged, and the boy-cook of one clean, smart Welsh schooner, called the
Grampus, was my special friend. His name was "Owen," and I remember a deal with
him in which I, when a small boy, traded a conical lead-pencil sharpener - then
a novelty, which had cost me a penny - in exchange for two ship biscuits. I was
permitted to haul on the warp when the vessel shifted her berth, and the boyish
pleasure of being for the first time on a ship in motion is still remembered.
At the north-west of this dock was a most unsavoury corner, when the Denburn
discharged its sewage polluted waters into the dock. A cross-berth had been formed in
the angle, where, when there was congestion, and unfortunate vessel might have
to lie in a stench well nigh intolerable. That evil was cured many years ago,
and no sewer now discharges into the dock. This site has 9 centuries of Maritime History
Aberdeen Mechanics' Institute
13-15 Market Street
Built for the
Mechanics' Institute, this is a particularly striking building
situated in a busy commercial area which is an important thoroughfare in
Aberdeen. The building is well-detailed with good classical features, especially
1st storey, where the tall windows, the
pedimented central section and
the wide architraves provide a positive contribution to the streetscape of
Market Street. The building was designed by renowned local
who was responsible for laying out Market Street in
1840. It was
one of the last buildings he designed and is therefore one of particular
to Simpson and
The building subsequently operated as a Hotel and is currently in mixed
commercial use (2006).
The Mechanics' Institute
in Aberdeen began in
'to afford to Tradesmen, at a cheap rate, out of their own subscriptions,
opportunities of instruction by means of books, lectures and models in the
various sciences connected with the exercise of their calling.' With donations and fees, it established and built up
which it then donated to the
new Public Library
in Rosemount Viaduct in
when the Institute disbanded.
was commenced in
soon after similar institutions had been established in several of the
manufacturing towns of England and Scotland. At 1st, the plan adopted was to
communicate instructions to Mechanics by means of courses of lectures at a cheap
Natural Philosophy, Chemistry,
etc. and the attendance on these Lectures was for a time numerous; but after a
year or 2 it fell off so considerably that it was found necessary, in
discontinue the Lectures,
and if the projectors of the Institution had not wisely vested a considerable
part of the subscriptions originally obtained in the purchase of books, by which
means (with the help of numerous donations obtained,)
a valuable library was formed,
otherwise the Institution's legacy would have been extinguished.
The library, however, which consists of
on practical and scientific subjects, (being the best selected, and the richest,
perhaps, of the collections possessed by similar institutions in Scotland,)
proved a rallying point, and a few subscribers, who were sensible of the
advantages to be derived from having ready access to the best writers on the
subjects in which they were interested, continued to supply the funds necessary
for keeping it up. In this dormant state, the institution continued till
1835, when an attempt was made to remodel it after the pattern of
School of Arts in Edinburgh, by the establishment of classes at low rates in
various branches of Science and Literature. These have been since continued, and
with a considerable degree of success. In order to give regularity to the
studies of the members, these classes were arranged into a curriculum extending
over three sessions, and they embraced instructions in English grammar and
composition, French, Geography, Mechanical and Architectural drawing, sketching,
Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Mensuration, Logarithms, Mechanical
Philosophy, and Chemistry. The most striking feature, however, of the new
arrangements is the
"Mutual Instruction Class." As its name imports, the members
instruct each other, and this is done by one reading a short essay or lecture on
a subject previously intimated to the class, and approved of by it; after he has
finished, a conversation takes place on the subject of the essay, in which the
opinions advanced are impugned and defended, and additional information
communicated. There is little method and no restriction as to the subjects
chosen, except that controversial theology and politics are peremptorily
excluded. This class has met with considerable encouragement, the number of
members being during the winter season from
100 to 120; and individuals not
members of the institution are admissible to it, the fees being 3s. annually
from them, while those already belonging to the Institution pay a fee of 2s. The
fees of the other classes are 5s. for each class, except the drawing, which is
7s.; and the price for the use of the Library is 4s., the payment of which
Constitutes a Member of the Institution; while attendance on the classes is
entirely optional, and open to persons not using the Library if they incline it.
The number of members of the institution was about
Educational work of the
Aberdeen Mechanics' Institute
is transferred to the
Robert Gordon's College
Mechanics' Institution Public Library.
Open from 12 Noon to 3pm Afternoon, and from 6 to 9pm Evening.
On Saturday, from 11am to 3pm only.
General Library Annual Subscription, 2s 6d.
Select Library— Open at the same hours. Annual Subscription, 10s 6d.
The Public Libraries Acts were adopted in April 1884, and a
reading room opened in the autumn of 1885, well provided with newspapers,
magazines, and books of reference. A Lending Library of about 19,000
volumes was opened in March 1886 in the hall formerly known as the
Mechanics' Hall, Market Street. Since then the new Public Library in
Rosemount Viaduct, erected at a cost of £10,000, was opened on 5 July
1892 by Mr Andrew Carnegie, who had contributed £1000 of the sum. The
number of its volumes includes the library of the old Mechanics' Institution,
originally founded in 1824. There is also the Anderson Library at
Woodside, the gift of the late Sir John Anderson, a native of
Union Club House, 18
- 22 Market Street (Corner of Hadden Street)
(1862-1938) was born in the Parish of Methlick, Aberdeenshire and
started his working life as a stone-cutter in one of the many local granite
yards. An accident curtailed this form of employment, and in 1877
he joined the staff of the Aberdeen Free Press and gained a reputation
for specialising in articles on Local History. This in-depth knowledge of
the local area was probably 1 of the main reasons why he was appointed City
Librarian for Aberdeen in 1899, despite not having had a particularly
academic background. This position he held for almost the next 40 years, and was
credited with numerous innovative developments in his field, particularly in the
acquisition of many of the publications added to the Library's Local
Aberdeen Street Names, Their History, Meaning, and Personal Associations
Many of this author's works are relatively scarce. Many books have been
published on the History of Aberdeen, but this is the only one to have
concentrated on the origin of the names of many of the streets that still
survive in the city today. Mention is made of the destruction of many of the
older parts of Aberdeen, particularly in the 19th century, both for slum
clearance and for street widening, but it is still remarkable how many of the
older streets are still in existence. It is interesting to follow how the Author
reached his conclusions on the origins of some of the street names, and he was
ideally suited to explore the research opportunities offered by his position as
Librarian. This book is available in its original form, complete with all of the
52A Market Street
Late 19th century. 4-storey and attic 3 x 3-bay corner tenement building
with distinctive polygonal timber attic Belvedere to corner bay and near intact
openings to Public House to ground. Grey granite ashlar. Base course, cill
courses, string courses, eaves cornice. Ionic pilasters separate decorative
key-stoned segmental-arched openings to ground, some with cast-iron railings.
Large central pedimented wallhead dormers to South and East with coped stacks
above. Deep granite canopy over opening to ground at corner. Some
canted bay windows to South Elevation (Guild Street),
those to 2nd storey with decorative parapets. Predominantly plate glass timber
sash and case windows, some replacement to upper storeys, plate glass to ground.
Grey slates. Tall, ridged wallhead stack to West.
This is a distinctive and well-detailed Tenement building which makes a
significant contribution to the Streetscape. Situated at the junction of
and directly across from the Upper harbour, the
is a striking element of the building and is positioned to look directly out
over the Harbour to the sea. The building is also remarkable for the retention
of its original ground floor openings. Photographic evidence may suggest that
the building was a
new Post Office, at the foot of Market Street, was erected (1873-76)
at a cost of £16,000, and is a simple but effective edifice of Kemnay Granite,
100 feet square and 40 high, in the Renaissance style.
Matheson, 1875. 2-storey and basement, 9 and 8 bay classical
commercial building (former Post Office) on prominent corner site. Grey granite
ashlar. Deep cornice to each storey. Cill course, deep corniced blocking course.
Rounded corners with bowed glazing to South-west and Noerthwest with bracketed
corbelled cornices; that to North-west with timber and glas entrance door.
Giant pilasters framing corner entrance doors and loggia. Principal entrance
to West (Market Street). Slightly advanced central 3 bays with steps leading to
integral triumphal arch style loggia entrance with central pilastered
round-arched opening and flanking rectangular openings with substantial
decorative cast Iron Gates with Scottish Royal Coat of Arms. Predominantly
plate glass timber sash and case windows. Grey slates. Coped ridge stacks.
well-detailed classically built former Post Office by Robert Matheson on
a prominent corner site and with an entrance loggia on the elevation to Market
Street, closed by impressive and substantial cast iron gates. With its rounded
corners and simple classical elevations the building adds significantly to the
streetscape. This building is situated on the Southern corner of the street,
with one elevation to Market Street and the other to the Harbour, which was a
thriving concern in the 19th century and contributed substantially to the wealth
of Aberdeen. The gates are decorated with the Coat of Arms of Scotland with the
Lion Rampant and the Latin motto 'nemo me impune lacessit' (nobody
provokes me with impunity). Built as a Post Office and later converted
to Labour Offices, the building is now in commercial use (2006).
The Unemployment Bureau was the old Post Office built on the site of the
old Fish Market.
The then 'new Post Office', at the foot of
Market Street, was
(1873-76) at a cost of £16,000, and is a simple but effective edifice of
100 feet square and 40 high, in the Renaissance style. Unemployed men
would wait around the street corner and the building in the hope of casual work
to the first available hands. Others would merely sign on and retire to
the pub or home. That bottom East corner of Market Street/the former 10
Shiprow used to house the then
1850 Corn Exchange Chess Club, News-room, 7
Hadden Street; every evening. Members 30. Subn. 5s.
Sec. A I McConnochie, 1, East Craibstone Street.
Aerial view of Market Street showing the curve of the
Shiprow. Provost Ross' House and the Roof of the intended Regal Cinema
with waste ground opposite following demolition of the East end of the Shiprow.
Exchange Street, Stirling Street, Trinity Lane and the old Alhambra Building
with Marischal Street and Virginia Street in the distance.
Putachieside was the name of a street which began at the foot of
and went south in the line of Market Street, curving to the west. All that
remains of it now is the part under Union Street and a part under Market Street.
It serves to connect Carnegie's Brae with the Green. When Union Street was
planned the first idea was to have the whole length from Castle Street where it
began, to Summer Street where it ended, in one uniform slope. Considerations of
expense led first to planning it with two slopes meeting at Putachie, and,
secondly, to leaving the west end nearly level and making the rest in two
slopes. If the original design had been carried out the bridge over Putachieside
would have been far loftier than it is, and the retaining walls on both sides of
the street between Putachie and the Denburn would have been higher and more
costly. As it is, Putachie Bridge cost £3634. There are arched cellars under
Union Street at both ends of Putachie Bridge, and there are others under
Nicholas Street. Market Street was not formed till 1842, and there was a direct
route from the Shore under Putachie Bridge, but the upper end at
was too steep for heavy-laden carts.
H.M.S. "CLYDE," 13 Guns, 1081 Tons.
Drill Ship for Royal Naval Reserve, moored in West Dock (Upper Dock)
Commander The Hon. Henry W. Chetwynd
Surgeon Walter Laurence
Paymaster.., John Donald.
Permanently berthed in Aberdeen Harbour was HMS Clyde
a Naval Training Ship. HMS Clyde was a man o' war with 14 guns and 1081
tons. The ship was for a long time moored in the Upper Dock where it
served as a training ship. Connected to the quay by a floating gangway,
the ship was open to visitors on Sunday mornings. After being shifted to
Victoria Dock it was towed away to be scrapped.