Posted by: christinelaennec | April 11, 2011

Marischal College revamp

One of the most distinctive landmarks in Aberdeen is Marischal College.  It was built just over a hundred years ago, and remains one of the largest granite buildings in the world.  Until the mid-1990s, it was where the Medical School was largely based.  It has lain empty since then, and is now being revamped in order to house the offices of Aberdeen City Council.  For quite a few months it looked as if it had been bombed, with no windows, few inside walls, and no roof.  Then we didn’t see it because it was under wraps.  And now it is beginning to emerge from its chrysalis.  I thought you might be interested to see:

Marischal College, Aberdeen. 1st of February 2011.

Marischal College, Aberdeen. 1st February 2011. The tower on the right is actually a church and not part of Marischal itself - so it hasnt had a good scrub...

Marischal College, Aberdeen. 8 March 2011.

Marischal College, Aberdeen, 25 March 2011.

The front of Marischal College, Aberdeen, 25 March 2011.

While I have some doubts about the timing of this great expenditure by the Council, when we are facing so many cuts to important services, it is really nice to see Marischal looking so sparkling, cared-for and fresh.



  1. the granite is beautiful when it’s all clean. thanks for sharing the photos.

  2. I love to see historical buildings restored to their former glory.

  3. I like it when a city council look after it’s buildings,I know it takes loads of money but Amsterdam does little to keep it’s city nice and clean 😦

  4. What a lovely building. I’m glad that it is going to be used again. It would be sad if it had stayed empty.

  5. Oooh, lovely! I am so glad Marischal is being restored. I’ve graduated (twice) in this building, and gathered for the Torcher procession in the quad.

  6. That second photo took my breath away – it’s so dramatic!

  7. What a glorious building! And what a difference a clean makes. It will be lovely to visit when it’s open. I’m loving your photos Christine, thanks.

  8. I like imagining a bunch of workmen with rubber gloves and scrubby pads soaping up the building and rinsing it down. I know that isn’t how a building is cleaned, but it gave me a chuckle to think of it that way. The issue of where to spend money is so perplexing. The U.S. is also at a point where these sorts of decisions are being made.

  9. Buildings always look so lovely when they have had a bath, shame they left the church untouched, as it really shows how dirty our cities are. They survived hundreds of years without going black and along came the motor car and see what happened!!
    Are you back yet? xx

  10. Dear All,

    Thanks as always for your comments – I love reading them. I’m glad you liked seeing Marischal emerge from its chrysalis. It is difficult to decide where money is best spent, but I’m glad that this building is being cared for, and that it will be used once again.

    Linda, when I was studying Gaelic here I too was banging on the gates to be released to march in the Torcher parade!

    Knitsister, yes car pollution does take its toll but I think that buildings were a lot grimier in the past because of coal fires as well. And yes I am back!

  11. Look closer and it becomes clear that the cleaning of the frontage of Marischal has not gone entirely according to plan. Up close, the stones appear blotchy, scuffed, discoloured (yellow) and even burnt in places. The poor standard of the work done is a scandal.

  12. I live in tiny Darrington WA 80 miles NE of Seattle nestled in the North Cascade Mtns. Being an Oregonian you may have heard of our fair town.
    I loe Aberdeen Scotland!!! One of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen. Marischal is absolutley beautiful.

    • Hi Paula! Lovely to have you stop by, as it were. I’ve never been to Darrington, but I bet it’s beautiful. I have been to Concrete, about 5 years ago; and also when I was very small my family lived in Ellensburg, Washington before we moved to Portland. I remember that my mother used to go up to Cle Elum to gather wildflowers in the spring with a friend of hers. It was very snowy in the winter! I’m so glad you like Aberdeen, and thanks again for your comment.

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