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Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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  • Category: A
  • Date Added: 12/01/1967
  • Last Date Amended: 27/02/1997


  • Local Authority: Aberdeen
  • Planning Authority: Aberdeen
  • Burgh: Aberdeen

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNJ 93560 6922
  • Coordinates393560, 806922


Fenton Murray and Wood (Leeds), 1808. Subsequent 19th century additions probably by inhouse engineers for John Maberly and Richards and Co. Works effectively completed by large additions of 1904-14 by Wilsons and Walker. Large group of textile manufacturing and storage buildings, granite and brick-clad, of iron-framed or reinforced concrete construction, with setted streets between them. Slate or flat concrete roofs.

Office and porters' lodge at entrance from Maberley Street, dated 1902, single storey and attic granite with bowed front. Modern box dormers.

Range of 4 and 5-storey spinning mills in centre of site: Old Mill, 7 bays 1808, South Mill, 8 bays, circa 1820, New Mill 14 bays circa 1850-60. Regular iron tie-plates. 3-bay S gable with small square ogee roofed bellcote over arched attic window. Long E elevation with arched stair bays. Square base of chimney stack at NE angle W elevation less uniform due to the narrow plan of Old Mill, which has 3 giant order pilasters to yard. New stair and toilet accommodation added 1922-3 in brick-built towers with corner ball finials between each mill.

INTERIOR: iron-framed brick arches on 4 rows of cast iron columns, cruciform in Old Mill, cylindrical elsewhere. In new mill single row of columns to 1 side and triple row to the other side of beam engine house. Roofs rebuilt 1922-3.Detached engine house to E with flat roof and arched windows (tandem compound engine replaced in 1935).

1- and 2-storey boiler house, dressing, beaming, winding and warping department beyond, to Hutcheon Street.

New North and South Mills by Wilsons and Walker, 1913-14: large brick-clad spinning mill, 4-storey symmetrical 15-bays to either side of central engine house which rises further storey having terracottawreath details. Parapets raised at each end bay. Balustraded stair and lift tower at S end. Simpler stair projects at N gable. Flat roof.

INTERIOR: fireproof brick arches on single rows of iron columns. Millwrightwork by Douglas Fraser, Arbroath. Single-storey mill divided into 3 sections for batching, breaking and preparing the flax and jute: 12 N-lit bays with steel roof trusses.

Tall and wide brick stack rises from square base, having bell-cast cornice and concrete plug: either chimney, hose drying tower, water tank or dust extractor, or possibly combination of these.

Concrete tower, cylindrical, circa 1950-60, with viewing tower, possibly also for hose-pipe manufacture. Former hose pipe weaving department, later Blending department, circa 1920, 2-storey brick with 3-bay N-lit roof. Serrated corniced elevation to Hutcheon Street. Interior not seen.

Triple gabled granite-built flax warehouse to S, later 19th century. External spiral stair to steel deck access obtained via 3 steel doors. No windows. Stacks to rear of each gable, to dry out flax, hoists to front.

Hackling Department, L-plan 3-storeys with pilaster and corniced elevations to Maberley Street and office entrance. Venetian window at 2nd. Remainder of building as far as the 2 bay gable on Ann Street has a blind ground floor, small first and arched 2nd floor windows. Interior fireproof, timber roofs. Some concrete floors inserted in the oldest part, built circa 1860. Dressed flax store added to N in 1910 some sections of roof trusses remodelled in steel. South Weaving shed rebuilt circa 1980 behind simple granite elevation to Ann Street.

3-storey and basement weaving, cropping and weft winding department: 1912 Wilsons and Walker 3 by 26-bay long elevations to Ann Street and internal glazed brick courtyard. Brick clad, arched windows, Hennebique Ferro-concrete framed factory. Single-storey link to:

Sewing Mill: by R G Wilson, 1904, 5-storey, 3-by 12 bays, oculi to gables. Brick-arched floors on iron columns. Steel roof trusses to pitched slate roof. 1- and 2-storey calender house, circa 1870, adjoins to N.

North Weaving Factory fills corner of Ann and Hutcheon Streets. Granite built street elevations angled 5-bay E-lit roof lights, slate roofs reclad in sheet metal. Interior not seen. May incorporate parts of Maberly's 1824 power loom factory. Beam engine house altered 1908 by Wilsons and Walker.

Brick built chimney stack, set at angle to Hutcheon Street, taper from a square corniced plinth. Top cornice missing. Connected to boilerhouse via long flue.

Statement of Special Interest

The oldest iron-framed mill in Scotland and the fourth oldest known to survive in the world (after others of 1796, 1804 and 1805, all inter- related). The adjoining South Mill may be the third iron framed building in Scotland. Built for Scott Brown and Co (of Angus), 1808, bankrupt 1811 and sold to Sir John Maberly MP, entrepreneur, speculator

and introducer of jute to the UK. Maberley rapidly developed Broadford Works, adopting the first gas lighting of an industrial complex in Scotland, by Boulton and Watt in 1814-15, and Scotland's second power loom linen weaving factory in Scotland in 1824. Maberly was himself bankrupt and in 1834 the works passed to Richards and Co, who had a bleachworks at Rubislaw and branches at Montrose, produced canvas tarpaulins and as a particular specialism, fire hoses. Latterly man- made fibres for carpet yarn etc has replaced flax. Employment peaked at 3,000, once the largest single employer in Aberdeen. "The entire arrangement of the plant leaves nothing to be desired by even themost critical inspector Messrs Richards and Co have a Worldwide reputation for the excellence of their manufactures and the straight forwardness of their commercial dealings" (Scotland of Today p 71).

"The Bastille" flax warehouse of 1911-13 on the South Side of Maberly Street is listed separately category B.

The chimney on Hutcheon Street was previously listed on 12 January 1967 at category B as item 495.



Information by courtesy of Richards plc, including bound volume of plans dated 1818, and research by Andrew Cluer. Dean of Guild researched by John Soutar. M Watson "Matthew Murray and Broadford Works, Aberdeen: Evidence for Earliest Iron-Framed Flax Mills" in TEXTILE HISTORY 23(2), pp 225-242 (1992).

K A Falconer "Fireproof Mills - the Widening Perspectives" in INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY REVIEW XIV 1, AUTUMN 1993, pp11-26.


Birmingham Reference Library Boulton and Watt Collection pf.81.

E Gauldie pp 112-125 in J Butt and K Ponting eds, SCOTTISH TEXTILE HISTORY (AUP 1987).


A J Warden THE LINEN TRADE ANCIENT AND MODERN (1864) pp 540-1, 711.

About Designations

Listed Buildings

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the, Annex 2, pp74-76.

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