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Aberdeen, Union Terrace Gardens, Gentlemen's Public Toilets

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Record Detail

  • Organisation
    RCAHMS
  • Alternative name(s)
    STATUE TO KING GEORGE VI; UNION STREET; UNION TERRACE
  • Canmore ID
    184358
  • Site type
    PUBLIC CONVENIENCE (19TH CENTURY)
  • Parish
    ABERDEEN
  • Council
    ABERDEENSHIRE
  • NGR
    NJ 93912 06106
  • Latitude, longitude
    57.145802N, 2.102244W
  • Archeological notes
    NJ90NW 188.02 93912 06106 The gentlemen's public toilets at Union Terrace Gardens stand directly beneath the statue to King George VI at NGR NJ 9391 0610. They are not marked on the OS plan NJ9306SE, dated 1967. Information from RCAHMS (DHR), May 2001. During October 2000, RCAHMS conducted a photographic survey of the gentlemen's public toilets at Union Terrace Gardens. The purpose of this survey was to enhance and augment the National Monuments Record Scotland. At the time of the survey the toilets were still open for public use, though they were threatened with closure and redevelopment. Visited by RCAHMS (MKO), October 2000. A very fine Gentlemen's public convenience situated beneath the corner of Union Terrace and Union Street, with access via stairs also leading to Union Terrace Gardens. At the time of the RCAHMS photographic survey, this facility was threatened with closure, and despite still being in use, was in a poor condition. However, its original spendour was still very evident, and many of its fittings and much of its decor were comparable with those at Rotheway Pier's gentlemen's toilets on the Island of Bute. The principal features worthy of note were a curved range of 23 stall urinals made by Doulton of Lambeth (London) and Paisley (Renfrewshire), each with simulated grey marble tops and wings. Many of the Doulton nameplates survived. One of at least three glass-fronted cisterns (mounted on ornate cast-iron brackets) also survived, the others having been replaced by more modern units. The facility was also equipped with two blocks of three cubicles, and a further pair of cubicles in the east corner. Most of these retained coin-operated brass locks, although most were not operational. All the original water closets and cisterns in the cubicles appeared to have been replaced. As well as an attendant's office, there was a door to an annex, but access to this room was not possible at the time of survey. In addition to the fixtures, much of the decor had survived reasonably intact, and was dominated by glazed pale green wall tiles, with bands of decorative tiles beneath a moulded dado, and ornate moulded tiles forming a cornice at the wallhead around the blocks of toilet cubicles. These were augmented by plain cream ceiling tiles, and a mosaic-effect 'Granolite' floor. Illumination was provided predominantly by fluorescent strip lights, assisted by windows facing the park, the upper panes of which comprised original stained glass. In addition, there were two multi-paned rectangular re-inforced glass 'Lenscrete' skylights providing light through the Union Street pavement above. Visited by RCAHMS (MKO), October 2000.
  • Architectural notes
    A very fine Gentlemen's public convenience situated beneath the corner of Union Terrace and Union Street, with access via stairs also leading to Union Terrace Gardens. At the time of survey, this facility was threatened with closure, and despite still being in use, was in a poor condition. However, its original spendour was still very evident, and many of its fittings and much of its decor were comparable with those at Rotheway Pier's gentlemen's toilets on the Island of Bute. The principal features worthy of note were a curved range of 23 stall urinals made by Doulton of Lambeth (London) and Paisley (Renfrewshire), each with simulated grey marble tops and wings. Many of the Doulton nameplates survived. One of at least three glass-fronted cisterns (mounted on ornate cast-iron brackets) also survived, the others having been replaced by more modern units. The facility was also equipped with two blocks of three cubicles, and a further pair of cubicles in the east corner. Most of these retained coin-operated brass locks, although most were not operational. All the original water closets and cisterns in the cubicles appeared to have been replaced. As well as an attendant's office, there was a door to an annex, but access to this room was not possible at the time of survey. In addition to the fixtures, much of the decor had survived reasonably intact, and was dominated by glazed pale green wall tiles, with bands of decorative tiles beneath a moulded dado, and ornate moulded tiles forming a cornice at the wallhead around the blocks of toilet cubicles. These were augmented by plain cream ceiling tiles, and a mosaic-effect 'Granolite' floor. Illumination was provided predominantly by fluorescent strip lights, assisted by windows facing the park, the upper panes of which comprised original stained glass. In addition, there were two multi-paned rectangular re-inforced glass 'Lenscrete' skylights providing light through the Union Street pavement above. Information from RCAHMS (MKO) 2000

Related material information

SCANNED IMAGES

  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    General view from NW, looking across Union Terrace towards the stairs leading to the toilets, and to Union Terrace Garderns
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    View of Union Street pavement above the toilets, showing the two 'Lenscrete' panels of reinforced concrete and glass, allowing light from above to illuminate the toilets below
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. Detail of the entrance sign and ironwork situated above the main door to the toilets
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. Detail of one of two 'Lenscrete' panels of reinforced concrete and glass, allowing light from the Union Street pavement above to illuminate the toilets
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. Detail of typical green wall tiles, including dado and band of ornate tiling
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. Detail of typical coin-operated brass lock on cubicle door
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. Detail of typical Doulton (of Lambeth, London, and Paisley) nameplate, several of which survive on the stall urinals
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. Detail of the only surviving glass-sided cistern above the urinals
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. Detail of three of the 23 stall urinals, showing the white-glazed fireclay stalls with simulated grey marble winged hoods. These examples retain their Doulton (of Lambeth, London, and Paisley) nameplates
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. View of the two blocks of three cubicles, a further pair of cubicles being located beyond (out of picture). All the original water closets and cisterns appear to have been removed, but most cubicles retain the green tilework.
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. View one of two blocks of three cubicles. All the original water closets and cisterns appear to have been removed, but most cubicles retain the green tilework. Also visible (right) is a surviving stained-glass window.
  • 656456 (5/10/2000)
    Aberdeen, Union Terrace Gentlemen's Public Toilets, view showing 23 stall urinals
  • 656455 (5/10/2000)
    Aberdeen, Union Terrace Gentlemen's Public Toilets, view showing 23 stall urinals
  • 656454 (5/10/2000)
    Aberdeen, Union Terrace Gentlemen's Public Toilets, interior view showing row of 23 stall urinals

PHOTOGRAPHS

  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. Detail of typical green wall tiles, including dado and band of ornate tiling
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. View of the two blocks of three cubicles, a further pair of cubicles being located beyond (out of picture). All the original water closets and cisterns appear to have been removed, but most cubicles retain the green tilework.
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. View one of two blocks of three cubicles. All the original water closets and cisterns appear to have been removed, but most cubicles retain the green tilework. Also visible (right) is a surviving stained-glass window.
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. General view showing range of 23 stall urinals
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    View from N (in Union Terrace Gardens), showing exterior of the toilets building
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    General view from NW, looking across Union Terrace towards the stairs leading to the toilets, and to Union Terrace Garderns
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. Detail of the entrance sign and ironwork situated above the main door to the toilets
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    View of Union Street pavement above the toilets, showing the two 'Lenscrete' panels of reinforced concrete and glass, allowing light from above to illuminate the toilets below
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. Detail of one of two 'Lenscrete' panels of reinforced concrete and glass, allowing light from the Union Street pavement above to illuminate the toilets
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. Detail of typical green wall tiles, including dado and band of ornate tiling
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. Detail of typical coin-operated brass lock on cubicle door
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. Detail of typical Doulton (of Lambeth, London, and Paisley) nameplate, several of which survive on the stall urinals
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. Detail of the only surviving glass-sided cistern above the urinals
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. Detail of three of the 23 stall urinals, showing the white-glazed fireclay stalls with simulated grey marble winged hoods. These examples retain their Doulton (of Lambeth, London, and Paisley) nameplates
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. View of the two blocks of three cubicles, a further pair of cubicles being located beyond (out of picture). All the original water closets and cisterns appear to have been removed, but most cubicles retain the green tilework.
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. View one of two blocks of three cubicles. All the original water closets and cisterns appear to have been removed, but most cubicles retain the green tilework. Also visible (right) is a surviving stained-glass window.
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. General view showing range of 23 stall urinals
  • 184358 (5/10/2000)
    Interior. General view showing range of 23 stall urinals (right), and some of the cubicles (left)

DIGITAL IMAGES

  • 184358 (29/11/2012)
    Approach
  • 1293148 (9/5/2012)
    View of window in ladies' toilets.
  • 1293147 (9/5/2012)
    Detail of tiling in ladies' toilets.
  • 1293146 (9/5/2012)
    View of cubicle in ladies' toilets.
  • 1293145 (9/5/2012)
    Interior view of ladies' toilets.
  • 1293144 (9/5/2012)
    Detail of stained glass signage above ladies' toilets at south end of Union Terrace Gardens.

1st edition 6-inch maps

TitleDateOther parishes/counties
 Ordnance Survey six-inch to the mile, Aberdeenshire, Sheet LXXV1865-7

1st edition 25-inch maps

TitleDateOther parishes/counties
 Ordnance Survey 25 inch to the mile Aberdeen, Sheet 075.111867
 Ordnance Survey 25 inch to the mile Kincardine, Sheet 004A.021865